School of Excellence award earned by Paynesville elementary

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 10/28/97.

The Paynesville Area Elementary School received the announcement recently that they have been named one of three 1997-98 MESPA School of Excellence Award recipients.

Schools honored as 1997-98 Schools of Excellence along with Paynesville are Orono Primary School and Southview Elementary School, Waconia.

ďI was really pleased to hear we were honored,Ē Gary Heineman, elementary principal, said. ďI always felt we had a school of excellence, now it is official.Ē

Elmer Koch, Jr., executive director of the Minnesota Elementary School Principalsí Association, said, ďThis award is earned by the entire school communityóthe principal, the school board, the superintendent, the teachers, the staff, volunteers, students, parents, friends and neighbors of the school. The total commitment to excellence demonstrated by these schools is the very center of quality education in this state.Ē

School of Excellence Awards are granted to those schools where the principal, staff, and community have demonstrated the desire to improve the quality of elementary education by completing a process of program assessment, school improvement planning and implementation.

The standards for quality elementary schools that the Paynesville staff self-evaluated themselves upon included: organization, leadership, curriculum, instruction, training and development, school climate and evaluation and assessment.

The purpose of the award is to make the public aware of the ďgood thingsĒ happening in education and to encourage other elementary and middle schools to participate in an improvement program.

ďIt was a year-long process which started in the spring of 1996,Ē Heineman said. ďI first shared the idea with the elementary staff and they all agreed we should try for the award. The process had the staff analyze themselves, showing everybodyís strengths and weaknesses. It also provided us with an opportunity to build an improvement plan.Ē The district completed the application in June of 1997.

The Paynesville Area Elementary School staff and parental involvement committee is planning a week-long celebration which will take place in April. All participants in the project will receive a pin or certificate commemorating their contribution.

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