Hawthorne Elementary recognized with Minnesota School of Excellence Award

Published 5:49 pm Tuesday, May 16, 2023

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The executive director of the Minnesota Elementary School Principals Association (MESPA) on Friday presented Principal John Mahal and Hawthorne Elementary School with the Minnesota School of Excellence Award.

The association created the Minnesota School of Excellence program, grounded in national research on high-performing schools, as a premier opportunity in the state for validating greatness in a school community, according to a press release. Utilizing six national standards, this school improvement program examines the entire school community and encourages a holistic approach to creating a plan for future achievement focused on leadership, vision, student learning, culture of adult learning, data and decision making, and community engagement.

The Minnesota School of Excellence program engages staff and community in purposeful conversations about their school, which allows them to identify current strengths and areas needing improvement. In addition to helping a school take measures of its performance, this program reveals ways the staff might improve the school.

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The release stated Hawthorne Elementary embodies learner-centered leadership. Everyone is expected to be a learner at all times. Through this process, Mahal described a major strength, “We operate with integrity to our values and collaborate to stay relevant and best meet the needs of each learner.”

School improvement occurs because of: a strong commitment on the part of all staff members, the enthusiasm of students for learning, a supportive community of parents and school board all working together, and the dedicated leadership of a principal like Mahal.

Hawthorne joins a total of 225 elementary and middle-level schools that have received the Minnesota Elementary School Principals Association School of

Excellence validation since 1986. In 2023 the following schools were awarded:

• Kasson-Mantorville Elementary: Kasson-Mantorville School District

• Oak Hills Elementary: Lakeville School District

• Sebeka Elementary: Sebeka School District

• Hawthorne Elementary: Albert Lea School District