12/13/2012 9:34:00 AM Humphrey Institute announces FLAS
& LILA as innovation award winners
A partnership between Forest Lake Area Schools (FLAS) and Lakes International Language Academy (LILA) has netted the two organizations a 2012 Local Government Innovation Award. It marks the second time in the past three years that the school district and charter school have jointly won an award recognizing their successful efforts in collaboration. Up to 18 Local Government Innovation (LGI) Awards are given annually to Minnesota cities, counties, school districts and other local governmental entities that display particularly innovative tactics, strategies and approaches to delivering services to their communities.
The awards are given by the Public & Nonprofit Leadership Center (PNLC) of the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, in conjunction with its partnering organizations: InCommons, the Association of Minnesota Counties, the League of Minnesota Cities and the Minnesota School Boards Association. The 2012 awards will be presented at the annual LGI Award Ceremony and Reception, which will be held on Jan. 16, 2013, from 3 – 5:30 p.m. 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.” Forest Lake Area School and LILA have a long history of collaboration that dates back to the beginning of the charter school. That collaboration was the subject of national recognition in 2010 as the two entities were commended by the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools for their unique and dedicated commitment to working together for the betterment of students. They were among 26 cooperative 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 in the area and bring tremendous benefits to the students of this area. 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 had a language immersion program in our district if not for the much-needed push from LILA followed by their strong willingness to help us provide this great option for students in our own buildings,” 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 is able to provide 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.
Lakes International Language Academy is a public International Baccalaureate World School serving grades K to 6 that offers both Spanish and Mandarin Chinese immersion programs. Like all other public schools, Lakes International Language Academy does not charge tuition and accepts students regardless of race, religion, income, academic, or athletic considerations. Anyone seeking more information about Lakes International and school tours can visit the school’s website at www.lakesinternational.org. Forest Lake Area Schools is a public school district that has served the city of Forest Lake and surrounding communities for more than 100 years. More information about the district can be found at www.flaschools.org.