MREA member Holdingford School District has been validated as a Minnesota School of Excellence (SOE) by the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association (MESPA). This honor was awarded to Holdingford Elementary School for its commitment to modern teaching and learning.

“This school improvement program examines the entire school community through six national standards, ensuring there is a holistic approach to creating a plan for future achievement and celebrating the unique accomplishments of each School of Excellence,” said Jon Millerhagen, MESPA executive director.

Holdingford Elementary is part of the Holdingford Public School District and serves 581 students in grades PK-6. Holdingford prioritizes offering relevant, updated curricula along with a wide variety of electives. They are committed to fiscal responsibility, supporting students at all grade levels, and maintaining a culture of open communication.

Through the SOE process the principal of Holdingford Elementary, Jim Stang, identified a growth mindset as one of their major strengths. “Our School of Excellence committee felt it imperative to self study, what we do well and where we need to grow as we pursue educational excellence,” said Stang. “Our children are our future and we need to give them all the tools necessary to live a healthy, happy, and productive life!”

Stang also considered Holdingford’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program another key strength highlighted by the SOE process. “Our PBIS program is working beautifully. Our children love school, our family trusts us and appreciate all we do to keep our school a positive, safe place to learn, laugh, and grow.”

Stang praised their staff as highly trained professionals who work tirelessly to support everyone at Holdingford Elementary, “The countless hours put into positive student and family engagements surpass contractual definitions and ensure all children regardless of trauma, learning challenges, or social emotional shortcomings have caring adults supporting them through every aspect of the day.” During the SOE process they also worked with Tracy Reimer, Program Director for Bethel University’s Doctor of Education in K-12 Administration.

Tami Staloch-Schultz, chair of the Minnesota School of Excellence Committee, said, “It takes commitment and teamwork to honestly and thoroughly assess areas of strength and at the same time identify a plan for continual growth. The SOE process asks the entire school community – parents, students, staff, administration, and more – to reflect on and celebrate the collaborative work being done in school communities. Schools that receive validation have had important data-driven conversations about what a high-quality, modern learning experience should be for all students and have plans to make that learning experience a reality for many years to come. Honoring the important work of dedicated staff, eager students, and supportive communities is an essential component of becoming a School of Excellence.”