Footprints Academy receives leadership awardFootprints Academy was honored on May 17 at the Capitol by Gov. Mark Dayton during the annual Minnesota Schools of Character and Promising Practices Awards ceremony
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Footprints Academy has been recognized for growing future leaders.
On May 17 the school was honored at the Capitol by Gov. Mark Dayton during the annual Minnesota Schools of Character and Promising Practices Awards ceremony.
Footprints Academy, one of nine schools to be honored, received an award in the “Empowering Future Leaders” category.
Students and staff both attended the ceremony.
“It’s wonderful that we’re allowed to see that all of the good they’ve done is being recognized and honored,” Footprints Academy principal Darlah Krug said.
“They know the impact that they’re making.”
Synergy and Leadership Exchange is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering collaboration to advance the development of ethical citizens, providing educational resources, and celebrating achievement and best practices in Minnesota schools, businesses and communities.
The award looks for a variety of practices that successfully promote character education among youth.
Minnesota Schools of Character and Promising Practices Awards recognize development and implementation of a practice promoting character in their schools.
The practices must be specific, unique and transferable, and encompass at least one of the partnership’s 11 principles of effective character education.
This year’s nine schools were recognized for unique service learning projects, academic practices, new anti-bullying practices, character assemblies and innovative buddy programs.
When Krug first heard about the Minnesota Schools of Character and Promising Practices Awards, which is now in its fifth year, she said there wasn’t really any question that Footprints Academy would make a great candidate.
“Footprints Academy without a doubt fit every notion of the award,” she said. “It made sense to take the time and let people know what we’re doing here at Footprints.”
In the application for the award, Krug said she referenced many of Footprints Academy’s leadership activities, primarily its community service initiatives.
Some of the community service initiatives that Footprints Academy have been involved with this year include: donating supplies to a school in Niger, writing letters to veterans, inviting veterans to the school for a Veterans Day program, making more than 600 sandwiches for an organization that distributes sandwiches to the homeless, raising money for the Minnesota Veterans Home, donating to the Animal Humane Society and making fleece blankets to be donated to shelters.
Krug said in all of the school’s community service projects, the students took the lead.
“They really make the decisions,” she said. “We are more of a facilitator where we really allow for the final decision to lie in the hands of the students.”
Krug said she wanted the school to move away from just having students go home and asking their parents for donations, she wanted students to have more of a connection to the projects.
For many of the projects, representatives from the organizations came to the school to talk with students.
“We’re really bringing what the meaning of these organizations is into our schools,” she said. “It’s so impactful for them.”
Krug said receiving the Minnesota Schools of Character and Promising Practices Award was a huge honor, but the biggest reward is knowing that students at Footprints Academy are really the leaders of tomorrow.
“We’re teaching them to be respectful and outstanding citizens,” she said. “The sooner we can empower them to be leaders the better.”