The ongoing partnership between Forest Lake Area Schools (FLAS) and Lakes International Language Academy (LILA) has netted the two educational organizations a 2012 Local Government Innovation Award.
For the second time in three years, the school district and charter school have jointly won an award recognizing their successful efforts in collaboration.
Up to 18 Local Government Innovation awards are given annually to Minnesota cities, counties and school districts for innovative approaches to delivering service.
The awards are given by the Public & Nonprofit Leadership Center of the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs in conjunction with InCommons, the Association of Minnesota Counties, the League of Minnesota Cities and the Minnesota School Boards Association.
The 2012 awards were presented at the annual award ceremony and reception on Jan. 16 at Cowles Auditorium, located at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs on the campus of the University of Minnesota.
“The Local Government Innovation Awards highlight great initiatives at the local level to make public services better and more effective,” said P. Jay Kiedrowski, a senior fellow with PNLC. “These efforts go beyond simply raising taxes and cutting spending. They represent real reform.”
The collaboration between Forest Lake Area School and LILA was recognized nationally in 2010 by the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools for “unique and dedicated commitment to working together for the betterment of students.” They were among 26 programs selected to make a presentation at the Best Cooperative Practices Between Charter and Traditional Public Schools Conference in Columbus, Ohio.
This is the fifth year that Local Government Innovation Awards have been presented, and six school districts were among the 18 winners this year. In addition to FLAS and LILA, other school districts that won LGI awards included Staples-Motley, Irondale, St. Paul EMS Academy and Robbinsdale Area Schools.
“We take a lot of pride in our positive relationship with Forest Lake Area Schools,” said LILA Director Cam Hedlund. “Over the past eight years, we’ve joined forces in so many ways to expand world language opportunities and bring tremendous benefits to students. I can’t imagine being able to serve our students the way we’ve been able to without working so closely with Forest Lake Area Schools. It’s been a winning strategy for all of us – a win for LILA, a win for the Forest Lake district and especially a win for all the students in both districts.”
Forest Lake Area Schools Superintendent Linda Madsen echoed Hedlund’s sentiment, while stressing the fact that both organizations are able to bring some qualities to the table to make the partnership greater than the sum of its parts.
“I’m not sure we would have a language immersion program in our district if not for the much-needed push from LILA, followed by their strong willingness to help us,” said Dr. Madsen. “As a medium-to-large traditional school district, we have some efficiencies of scale that LILA does not have, so we’re often able to provide some financial resources and staff time to our joint projects. At the same time, LILA brings a great deal of expertise in the teaching of world languages and specifically language immersion – the kind of expertise that only comes from having that level of specialization. It’s just a great partnership, and we’re really happy to be receiving this award.”
More information about the LGI Awards can be found at http://challenges.incommons.org/lgia.