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LP-A High School to get award

Lake Park-Audubon High School will receive PeaceMaker Minnesota’s first annual Commitment to Excellence Award on Sept. 15.

The Award recognizes a PeaceMaker Minnesota Partner School for demonstrating an exemplary commitment to providing a safe learning environment and teaching students positive relational skills. 

“We want to highlight the commitment of our schools, especially that of Lake Park-Audubon High School, in taking on the issue of bullying and teaching kids things like kindness, empathy and how to work out conflicts,” said Dan McNeil, executive director of PeaceMaker Minnesota.

“It is essential for the health of our children and the future of our communities that students learn not only academics, but also the social and emotional skills needed for success in life,” said Kevin Ricke, Lake Park-Audubon High School principal.

PeaceMaker Minnesota helps schools to develop community support for implementing a six point framework for preventing youth violence. 

“It starts with a school implementing, and using with fidelity, a violence prevention program that research shows to be effective,” said McNeil.

“Our schools are then required to use an evaluation tool that allows you to compare results.”

Lake Park-Audubon High School is using the PBIS (Positive Behaviors Interventions and Sup-ports) program on a school-wide basis with all of its 300 plus students in grades 7 through 12.

As a result the school saw a 60 percent drop last year in the number of discipline referrals per 100 students, from 355 to 213.

Lake Park Audubon School undertook multiple efforts to involve students in creating a positive learning environment. 

Students participated in a Youth Frontiers Kindness Retreat, a Rac-hel’s Challenge Assembly and formed a Friends of Rachel club that meets weekly. 

Unity Day, a national day on bullying prevention, was marked with by students wearing orange and a dance for 5th through 8th graders with the theme “Black Out Bullying.” 

“The school’s efforts to help at risk kids and to involve the community stood out when considering it for the award,” said McNeil.

“Helping kids to get on the right path, before problems happen, is what we wan to see.” 

Lake Park-Audubon High School matches at risk students with staff mentors, provides an after school program to help students with academics, and has a Student Assistance Team that meets weekly to discuss student concerns.

The school hosted an evening assembly led by Rachel’s Challenge.  Parents and the community were invited.

Rachel’s Challenge is an organization founded by the father of Rachel Scott, a student killed during the Columbine High School shooting.

The group talks with students and adults about starting a chain reaction of kindness and compassion. 

The school used $3,850 in contributions to PeaceMaker Minnesota to support its efforts. 

“Without the funds from PeaceMaker, we would not have been able to bring in the school-wide assemblies,” said Jamie Nelson, school counselor at Lake Park-Audubon High School.

With the Commitment to Excellence Award, PeaceMaker Minnesota is creating an endowment fund to provide ongoing support for the school’s work.

Long time PeaceMaker donor Ronald C. Wilson provided the lead gift of $3,000 and Midland Information Systems has pledged to contribute $1,000 for every additional $1,000 contributed to the fund – up to $6,000. 

The award is being presented in partnership with the Minnesota Twins Baseball Team which is coordinating an on-the-field presentation of the award before the Sept. 15 game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Minnesota Twins donated 500 tickets so that schools can join in the celebration.  There will be a large group of people from the Lake Park and Audubon area at the game.   

The mission of PeaceMaker Minnesota is to give schools tools to stop violence.

Its vision is for every school to be a safe place where students can learn and develop positive relational skills.

PeaceMaker Minnesota is a federation of 23 K-12 schools located throughout Minnesota.  The organization’s role is to help member schools to develop community support for their work, to achieve results and to celebrate success.

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