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Minnesota Promising Practices Awards Programs

Synergy & Leadership Exchange (Synergy) sponsors state level Promising Practices awards to schools, districts and youth serving organizations in Minnesota for implementing unique and specific practices that promote character development in PreK-12 students. The practice should exemplify one or more of's Eleven Principles of Effective Character Education.
We look for a wide variety of practices that successfully promote character education among youth. These practices cover many different areas and activities including unique service learning projects, academic practices, new anti-bullying practices, character assemblies, innovative buddy programs and many others. We do not recognize entire school-wide character education programs, practices emphasizing extrinsic rewards or the singling out of students for recognition for good behavior, or copyrighted, trademarked, or patented programs. We are looking for unique, specific and successful practices that have been created and implemented by you and may be replicated by others. Applicants are encouraged to read samples of the past promising practice honorees listed below or review nationally recognized promising practices on’s website.
A blue ribbon panel selects practices that qualify for Minnesota Promising Practice Awards and will recognize these practices, along with the Minnesota Schools of Character awardees, at a statewide celebration in May. These award winning practices are posted to the Synergy website for sharing. 
If you have questions, please contact Barb Bergseth at


Please note:
If you wish to be considered for a national Promising Practices award, a separate application and fee is required. The Minnesota application is very similar, but you must apply directly to
  • Clarity of narrative: Provide enough detail in the narrative responses for evaluators to judge the effectiveness of the practice.
  • Uniqueness: Although a given practice may be new to a particular school or local area, it may not be unique statewide. Many wonderful and effective practices (such as mentoring programs, service clubs, or leadership training) are sometimes not selected because they are not unique or there are many such practices submitted for consideration in a given year.
  • Specificity: Synergy is looking for distinct programs or practices that may be replicated, not descriptions of a school’s entire character education focus or initiative.
  • 11 Principles: Practices must be in keeping with’s 11 Principles. For example, for Principle 5, community service projects will not be selected if they do not include the components of service learning (student leadership, connection to curriculum, and reflection). Similarly, even though “caught being good” or other student recognition programs may be effective or well-loved in a given school, Synergy is looking for practices that do not excessively single students out for recognition or give students material or extrinsic rewards in order to best satisfy the spirit and intent of Principle 7.
  • Evidence of Impact: The application should contain sufficient evidence of impact on participants. Some practices may hold promise for the future, but have not yet demonstrated sufficient evidence of impact.
  • Number of awards per applicant: Synergy does not give more than two awards to any one school, district, or organization applicant in a given year. (Applications submitted by individual schools within a district are not considered “district” applications. Therefore, a single district may win numerous awards in a given year if they are submitted by different schools and perhaps also the central office.)
  • You are encouraged to compose your responses to the narrative questions in a word processing program and then cut and paste from your document directly into the application.
  • Character limits do not include spaces. Text that exceeds the character limits will be deleted.
  • If your practice is selected, you will be asked to upload a photo of your practice in action. Please have a .jpg file ready to upload. If you do not have a photo that represents your practice, you can upload a photo of your school. If your photo includes students, be sure to follow your school/district policies for releasing photos since this photo may appear on Synergy’s website.
  • Please note that contact information and overview information entered in this application may appear on Synergy’s website if your practice is selected as a Minnesota Promising Practice.

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