By Leny Wallen-Friedman

and John W. Schultz, Ph.D.

Guest Columnists

Leny Wallen-Friedman serves as chair of the Edina School Board. John W. Schultz is superintendent of the Edina School District.

As Edina Public School District leaders, we believe that a successful school district is one where all students receive a rich, comprehensive educational experience. One that supports their academic, social/emotional learning, extracurricular and holistic skill development so students can thrive in their next endeavor. We also believe that each and every student who enters our doors deserves to have high expectations placed on them and it is our obligation to ensure the needs of all student populations are met. With just weeks to go in the 2018-19 school year, we want to take a moment to celebrate our successes and talk about the future.

Our district, students, staff and parents have much to be proud of this year:

• Our students achieved an overall average score of 25.8 on the ACT in 2017-18. That placed them well above the state and national averages with 99 percent of our students taking the ACT. Six members of the current senior class scored a perfect 36 on their ACT.

• Seventeen seniors were National Merit Semifinalists and every one of them was named a Finalist. In addition, there were 30 National Merit Commended students and five National Hispanic Scholars.

• Last year, 79 percent of Edina High School students enrolled in one or more of the 26 AP courses offered. As a result, the school administered almost twice as many AP exams as any other Minnesota High School. There were 549 AP scholars, who scored an average of 4.10 out of 5 on their exam.

• Edina High School is ranked No. 1 in Minnesota for sending the most students to elite schools by PolarisList.com.

• Three hundred and eighty-two seniors, more than half our senior class, were just presented with gold cords denoting their status as Edina High School Honor Students, each with a GPA of 3.5 or greater. Of that group, 105 received an additional honor marking their service to fellow students as peer tutors.

• Additionally, there have been many amazing achievements by student teams and individuals in a wide variety of activities and fine arts, including: national robotics honorees, computing awards, performances at Orchestra Hall and the Minneapolis Convention Center, national DECA qualifiers, national debate qualifiers, student artwork on display throughout the community, and athletic teams that are setting records.

• Read more at EdinaSchools.org/Excellence

All of these student and team activities are part of the Edina academic experience that is anchored daily in classrooms by dedicated teachers and staff. Beyond teaching curriculum, they connect with students, encouraging and inspiring them to take on new challenges and pursue their interests. Edina students graduate as well-rounded individuals who are poised for success in career and life. Teachers in every school of the Edina district continue to learn and adapt so they can provide an engaging learning environment for their students. They are the heart of their district and we are very proud of their work.

It has been a great year for our students and staff, yet we know there is work to do. Concern around trends in MCA scores is not taken lightly. Results from the MCAs – and all academic performance indicators – show us where to lean in for deeper study and better answers. They are the baseline for the district’s continuous improvement efforts, which includes examining curriculum, pedagogy and ways to engage all district students.

As a School Board and district leadership, we are committed to continuous improvement and will demonstrate this as we work to complete a new strategic plan for 2019-20 and beyond. Although details are still being developed, expect to see themes around academic excellence and rigor, fostering learning environments that promote exploration of ideas and thinking, whole student support, system-wide effectiveness, and stakeholder collaboration. We look forward to presenting the completed plan soon.

On behalf of the Edina School Board and Edina Public Schools administration, we thank you for your ongoing support and the trust you place in us to define excellence for all Edina Public School students.

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