Lakes International earns top state education award

‘Promising practices’ award

Lakes International Language Academy, a K-6 language immersion charter school and International Baccalaureate World School in Forest Lake, was honored on Thursday, May 17 with a Minnesota Promising Practices in Character Education Award at the State Capitol in St. Paul.

During the ceremony for the eight state-level winners, LILA learned that its Promising Practice with the Minnesota Twins Emerging Markets Department was also selected for a national character award.

LILA received the 2012 Promising Practices Award for outstanding work in character education last week. Pictured left to right front are: LILA Twins Partnership Liaison Tracy Nelson Maurer, Twins Emerging Markets Department member Lydia Rivera, LILA CFO Julie Lundgren and LILA Foundation Chair Melissa Martyr-Wagner. Left to right in back: Sen. Ray Vandeveer, Twins Emerging Markets Director Miguel Ramos, LILA Director Cam Hedlund, Rep. Robert Dettmer, LILA School Board Director Jeff Moore, Ramsey County Sheriff and Citizens for an Ethical Minnesota Steering Committee member Matt Bostrom, and Wanda Summers Wall, director of the Synergy and Leadership Exchange. (Photo submitted)

The Minnesota Department of Education and Synergy and Leadership Exchange, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the development of ethical citizens in Minnesota, recognize schools and districts that excel in exemplifying one or more of the 11 principles of character education as defined by the Character Education Partnership, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. Successful nominees also demonstrate outstanding character education initiatives that yield positive results in student behavior, school climate and academic performance.

LILA’s Promising Practice focused on its partnership with the Emerging Markets Department to Celebrate Diversity, a collaboration to inspire international-mindedness and build cross-cultural communities in Twins Territory.

Through the Minnesota Twins partnership, LILA students engage in activities with the Twins to help build a community that sees strength in diversity. They have participated in Twins Spanish radio broadcasts, written winning essays in the Jackie Robinson Day contest, and hosted the Twins Caravan. In 2011, students sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” in Japanese to welcome the Twins’ Japanese player Tsuyoshi Nishioka.

This is the third year that LILA, a 2011 State School of Character, has earned the state and national Promising Practices Awards. The awards highlight best practices LILA uses to instill the principles of good character in its students, staff, and community.

Sen. Ray Vandeveer and Rep. Bob Dettmer attended the ceremony to congratulate the LILA representatives and Minnesota Twins Emerging Markets staff members.

“Each year, LILA’s staff, students, and families strive to carry out the school’s mission: to promote international-mindedness, multilingualism, and character development to produce well-balanced global citizens,” LILA School Director Cam Hedlund said.

“We value deeply our partnership with the Minnesota Twins, and are honored by these character awards.”

Miguel Ramos of the Twins’ Emerging Markets Department added, “The Twins understand the importance of character education and are committed to developing a community that values every member of Twins Territory.”

LILA is a public K-6 school offering both Spanish and Mandarin Chinese immersion tracks tuition-free to area children. LILA will host a school open house for families of preschoolers on Saturday, June 2 from 10-11:30 a.m. Call 651-464-0771 to reserve a space. For more information visit

 2012 Honorees:

•2012 Minnesota School of Character, Waseca High School, Waseca.

•2012 Minnesota Promising Practice Awards, Avalon School, St. Paul, for Project-Based Learning within an Advisory System; Coon Rapids Middle School, Coon Rapids, for Anti-Bullying Owning Up; Ellis Middle School, Austin, for Books For Babies; Footprints Academy, Woodbury, for Empowering Future Leaders; Isanti Intermediate School and School for All Seasons, Isanti for Ride with Pride; NRHEG Elementary, Ellendale, for Kindness Matters Because I Matter at NRHEG Elementary; Primrose School, Savage, for Caring & Giving, Food Drive; and Taylors Falls Elementary, Taylors Falls, for River Rewards.