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2014 Minnesota Promising Practices Award Program

AFSA High School – Vadnais Heights
Farm and Community Service Day*
Twice a year students and staff at the Academy for Science and Agriculture (AFSA) High School travel to community farms, parks, camps and businesses to assist with manual labor projects.
Contacts – Alexis Katzer: or Marlee Mollet:
Principles: 5 and 10
Topics: Community Members; Service to Community/Service Learning; Relationship Building
Arcadia Charter School – Northfield
Project Sidekick
A student created and led in-house mentoring program with meaningful matches between high school and middle school students, leading after-school activities for the pairs. The Northfield Public Schools, Connected Kids Program, provided support for project.
Contact – Lisa Malecha:
Principles: 4 and 9
Topics: Bulllying/Peer Cruelty Prevention; Mentoring; Relationship Building
Avalon School – St. Paul
Feminism Club*
A student led club empowering members to identify and combat systems of oppression within their school and larger community through social action and engaged citizenship. Club members are in grades 9-12.
Contact – Gretchen Sage-Martinson:
Principles: 4 and 5
Topics: Engaging/Interactive Curriculum; Social Issues/Diversity/Tolerance; Student Autonomy Empowerment
The Blake Lower School – Wayzata
Family Service Event
Lower School students, grades preK-5, work with Upper School students, agency leaders and teachers to organize and run a Family Service Event on Campus. Ten stations are set up with hands on service projects focusing on the issues of hunger, homelessness, health, the elderly, education and animals.
Contact – Nan Peterson:
Principles: 4 and 5
Topics: Community Members; Leadership Groups; Service to Community/Service Learning
Community of Peace Academy – St. Paul
Home Visits
Community of Peace Academy teachers visit the homes of their students each year to meet with parents and to set academic, physical and character goals.
Progress toward goals is revisited at fall and spring conferences. The practice establishes or re-establishes and affirms a positive relationship with parents and families immediately upon the start of the school year. Home Visits allow teachers to connect with families and develop a deeper understanding of and empathy for each child.
Contact – Cara Quinn:
Principles: 4
Topics: Orientations/Welcoming; Parents & Grandparents
Cowern Elementary School – North St. Paul
Promoting Peace Across the Grade Levels
Each student is in a cross grade level peace group that meets on a monthly basis focusing on a specific topic and engaging in activities that promotes peace building and positive relationships.
Contact – Cindy Piersdorf or Mary Glagavs
Principles: 1 and 4
Topics: Bulllying/Peer Cruelty Prevention; Service to Community/Service Learning; Relationship Building
Ellis Middle School – Austin
Backpack Program
Students in the Job Skills class and National Junior Honor Society serve their community and develop leadership skills by collaborating weekly to pack and distribute backpacks filled with supplemental nourishment for students at Ellis. The practice is a collaboration between the school and the Salvation Army.
Contact – Jennifer Gosha:
Principles: 5 and 9
Topics: Mentoring; Service to Community/Service Learning; Staff Development/Student Leadership
Hilltop Primary School – Minnetrista
R.O.C.K. Stars – Responsible, Outstanding, Caring, Knowledgeable Students and Staff
R.O.C.K.S. (Responsible, Outstanding, Caring, Knowledgeable Students and Staff) is the school theme for a whole school approach to character development.  The theme is carried out through monthly assemblies, classroom teaching and student reflection time. Students, staff and parents have a common language to use and better understanding about what is good character.
Contact – Nancy Benz:
Principles: 1 and 4
Topics: Assemblies; Class Meeting/Cooperative Learning; Teaching/Learning of Core Values
Kasson-Mantorville Elementary School – Kasson
KoMet PRIDE is a positive school-wide behavior program that strives to create a safe, welcoming and respectful school climate where students learn responsible behaviors and develop strong character. It centers around ideas that will help students be successful at school and in life (Practice respect and responsibility; Remain safe; Include others; Display a positive attitude; Engage in learning).
Contact – Karen Besch:
Principles: 1 and 4
Topics: Behavior Management/Positive Discipline; Bullying/Peer Cruelty Prevention; Relationship Building
Lakes International Language Academy – Forest Lake
Photo Display of Adult Helpers
All adult staff member’s photos and roles are displayed on the walls of the school, year round. An important part of feeling supported is to know one another and this practice helps our school community know and welcome one another.
Contact – Shannon Peterson:
Principles: 4
Topics: Orientations/Welcoming; Relationship Building
Loyola Catholic School – Mankato
Fair Trade at Loyola Catholic School
The school educates its students and surrounding community members on the importance of Fair Trade and the social justice issues surrounding it. They make available Fair Trade products and organize events to promote and educate others about Fair Trade.
Contact – Samuel Cotton:
Principles: 1 and 7
Topics: Class Meeting/Cooperative Learning; Social Issues/Diversity/Tolerance; Student Autonomy Empowerment
Maple Grove Senior High – Maple Grove
Action for Reaction
Action for Reaction is a student-led practice that promotes positive mental and chemical health awareness and choices in collaboration with North Memorial Hospital.  They works in conjunction with our other student organizations to help support positive decision-making practices and leadership in their community.
Contact – Sara Vernig:
Principles: 4 and 5
Topics: Community Members; Leadership Groups; Service to Community/Service Learning
Maple Grove Senior High – Maple Grove
Link Crew
Link Crew is a yearlong transition program designed to welcome all sophomores into the school community and ensure students have a positive transition into senior high. Link Crew members develop their leadership and mentoring skills by teaching and modeling leadership concepts and the school core values to the new sophomore students.
Contact – Sara Vernig:
Principles: 2
Topics: Leadership Groups; Mentoring; Orientations/Welcoming
Minnesota Online High School – St. Paul
Student Leadership Advisory Program
Students in the program organize activities that build our online school community and encourage students’ civic and social participation in their home communities. Students share leadership, make a positive contribution to the school, and support one another to make positive contributions in their home communities.
Contact – Darcie McGee:
Principles: 9
Topics: Leadership Groups; Service to School/School Beautification; Staff Development/Student Leadership
North Junior High School – St. Cloud
Stomp Out Bullying At North Junior High*
“Stomp Out Bullying” is a program that empowers students as leaders in their school to build an awareness of bully behavior and how to “stomp it out” by making students and staff aware of what it is and how to deal with bullying. Activities have included a video, announcements, advisory activities, student research and surveys, and an Anti-Bullying Pledge Ribbon in each room.
Contact – Karlyn Doyle:
Principles: 3 and 5
Topics: Bullying/Peer Cruelty Prevention; Staff Development/Student Leadership; Teaching/Learning of Core Values 
Northfield High School – Northfield
Emergency Plan Packets
Service learning course students researched the topic of deportation and developed a project that wouldn’t be intrusive yet would be a legitimate help to families who are under the stress of deportation. They created emergency plan packets, that list helpful local and state resources and how to access them, and fill-in-the-blank style information that could help the family in case of emergency, along with concise cards stating their rights under the constitution.
Contact – Sarah Swan McDonald:
Principles: 4 and 10
Topics: Assessment & Action; Service to Community/Service Learning; Relationship Building
Sibley East Elementary – Gaylord
An extended, late night event that provides 6th grade students the opportunity to create engaging art projects and participate in relationship building activities while providing a service to the school. Projects are sold and proceeds used to purchase new technology for the elementary art program.
Contact – Amanda Feterl:
Principles: 4 and 6
Topics: Engaging/Interactive Curriculum; Service to School/School Beautification; Relationship Building
Waseca Junior & Senior High School – Waseca
Letters of Address in the Circles of Influence*
Poems of address are written to the victim, bully and all the members of the circle of influence and then the poems were used in an eighth grade led assembly for students in grades 7-12 on Martin Luther King’s Birthday.
Contact – Jeanette Swanson:
Principles: 3, 4 and 6
Topics: Bullying/Peer Cruelty Prevention; Engaging/Interactive Curriculum; Relationship Building

*Denotes a Minnesota Promising Practice that has received national recognition by the Character Education Partnership (CEP). Click here for CEP press release.

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