Nov. 13, 2006

Delano Elementary receives Excellence in Education award

By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

Delano Elementary School received an Excellence in Education award Thursday afternoon from United States Senator Mark Dayton.

Dayton has presented such awards to 57 other schools across the state to recognize and highlight exceptional educational achievements.

In addition to the impressive academic achievement of the students at Delano Elementary, the school is being recognized for its efforts to provide challenging programs for its students as well as to highlight the successful partnership between teachers and the Partners in Education Organization (PIE).

“I felt that our public schools do so much terrific day-in, day-out teaching of students that doesn’t get recognized,” Dayton said after his presentation. “The parents who are involved in the school district, of course, are big contributors, but a lot of other people aren’t aware of it. I wanted to give due credit to the dedication it takes to create excellent schools and sustain them.”

Dayton, who is retiring from the United States Senate, said that he had two more presentations scheduled for Friday.

“If I were continuing in office, I’d continue the program, but maybe one of the other senators will carry it forward,” he said.

As for his future plans upon retiring, Dayton said he does not have any right now, but is looking forward to moving back to Minnesota full-time.

“I’m going to take good advice from my former boss, vice president (Walter) Mondale, who said ‘finish up the term, and kind of disengage before you make any more commitments.’”

“I’m definitely coming back to Minnesota, and will find something constructive to do,” he said.

Dayton created the Award for Excellence in Education to publicly recognize the thousands of individual success stories that occur in Minnesota schools each day.

Public and private schools, school districts, and academic programs throughout the state are eligible to be honored for going above and beyond expectations for educating students, improving scholastic performance, and enriching young lives.

“I’m very impressed with the school, with the excellence in education, with the involvement of parents which is so critical, and the dedication of staff, and your great group of students, too,” Dayton added after the presentation.

Dayton presented Elementary School Principal Darren Schuler and Superintendent Dr. John Sweet an official copy of a congratulatory statement from the Congressional Record, along with an American flag that has flown above the US Capitol in Washington, DC.

The Award for Excellence in Education is noncompetitive; all schools that have been nominated and that exceed community expectations for providing quality education will receive the award. Nominations were made during the school year, by any individual or group.

Parents, students, teachers, school administrators, and school board members were are all encouraged to submit nominations. Awards will be given continuously throughout this year.

Prior to the presentation in the elementary school gym, Dayton and several of his staff members were given a short tour of Delano Elementary School by Schuler.

Members of the Delano American Legion presented the colors, fourth graders Sasha Johnson and Kailyn Warne read patriotic poems they had written, and Sweet gave remarks about Veterans Day.

“This is an historic day at Delano Elementary,” Schuler said. “I’ve done some checking with staff, and we’ve never had a United States senator at our school before.”

About Senator Dayton

Dayton, who recently returned from trips to Iraq and China, was elected as Minnesota’s 33rd Senator in 2001.

He attended Long Lake Elementary School in Hennepin County and then Blake School in Minneapolis, where he graduated, cum laude, in 1965. He graduated from Yale University, majoring in psychology.

Dayton eventually became interested in the government, joining Mondale’s staff in 1975, and working on the Carter-Mondale presidential campaign in 1976.

He has served as the Commissioner of an expanded Minnesota Department of Energy and Economic Development under Rudy Perpich, was elected state auditor in the early 1990s, and ran for governor in the late 1990s, but lost in the primary to Skip Humphrey.

While in the Senate, Dayton served on four committees including agriculture, nutrition, and forestry; armed services; governmental affairs; and rules. He is also a member of the House-Senate Joint Committee on Printing, which he chaired in 2003.

Amy Klobuchar, who was elected in Tuesday’s election, will take over Dayton’s seat in January.

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