Feb. 5, 2007

Delano High School only high school in state to receive spotlight award

By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

Delano High School was the only high school in the state to be recognized with a school spotlight award for demonstrating academic excellence through significant gains in student achievement.

Presented Tuesday afternoon, the award shines a spotlight on the school’s curriculum, instruction, assessment, and staff development that addresses student needs and works toward success for all.

All Minnesota schools that participate in Minnesota’s statewide assessments are eligible to apply, according to Carole Elfstrum of the Minnesota Academic Excellence Foundation Board, which was founded in 1982.

In 2006, the schools that applied had many outstanding qualifications, and Delano High School was among the 11 schools (the only high school) selected to receive the 2006 MAEF School Spotlight Award.

Elfstrum said Delano High School’s selection was due to:

• school and district’s goals and the expectations for learning that are clear and measurable and results that are compelling;

• demonstrating high level of continuous academic excellence;

• a staff that engages in a shared decision-making model, paired with the site-based management team that has created a culture of collaboration and shared responsibility;

• use of varied data to inform instructional practices and establish stated goals for PDSA (Plan, Do, Study, Act);

• a highly motivated student body with opportunities for student leadership; and

• school improvement planning that includes all stakeholders and has led to actions that address the needs of individual students, as evidenced by the ‘School Within a School Program,’ and the relationship the school has established with Rasmussen College.

“Both Governor Tim Pawlenty and Education Commissioner Alice Seagren have asked me to express their admiration for the fine work being done by your teachers and administrators and for the high achievement and continuous academic growth of the students here at Delano High School,” Elfstrum said.

The MAEF board members are appointed by Minnesota’s governor, and serve as advocates for promoting and recognizing academic excellence in all Minnesota elementary and secondary students, schools, and communities.

In 2005, the MAEF Board established a school spotlight award to recognize schools like Delano High School, she said.

“It is my pleasure to commend the Delano School District, and Superintendent John Sweet, for the fine work Delano High School represents,” she said, before presenting Principal Bruce Locklear with the award.

Delano School Board Member Peter Brasket spoke to the high school students on behalf of the board.

“Thanks for giving us another reason to celebrate Delano’s academic excellence,” Brasket said.

Sweet acknowledged the great staff and support from the community. Locklear added that there are three things that make Delano’s school system stand out, including its staff, its students, and the level of academic success.

“Roughly 96 percent of all classes taken were passed,” he said of the first semester. “Ninety-nine percent of all students in our school pass all classes taken. This is an unbelievable number. This translates into 683 of our 720 students passing all of their classes, and of the 3,044 course possibilities, 3,000 of them were passed.”

Delano Schools also received a national recognition recently as one of 25 schools in the country designated as a Daggett National Model School, as well as having received recognition for two commendations for our financial/fiscal performance.

“‘Educational excellence is our foremost goal’ is our focus statement,” Sweet said. “These awards are evidence that the focus statement is not just a slogan.”

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