Irondale High School named top school innovator
School is competing for $25,000 grant; voting begins in January
Irondale High School has been named the top school winner for its Early College program in an awards competition that honors innovation in Minnesota.
In early December, the sixth annual Local Government Innovation Awards announced it had selected Irondale as the finalist among 34 other school entries from across the state. In addition to the school category, there is a city category and a county category.
The awards recognize the creative ways counties, cities and schools are making Minnesota better and doing things differently. More than 100 entries were submitted in total.
Kevin Gerdes, director of the Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center at the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs, presented information to the Mounds View School Board on Dec. 11.
He said the selection board felt that the Early College program at Irondale was better than any other school entry when looking at the program’s ability to be replicated in other locations and its overall impact on society.
Irondale launched the Early College program this past fall. It is the first school in Minnesota to offer a comprehensive early college high school program that allows students in the academic middle the opportunity to earn a free two-year associate degree.
According to Supt. Dan Hoverman, Irondale – in the first year of implementation – has more than doubled the number of high school students participating in college-level, credit-earning courses.
Irondale is competing with St. Paul, which was named the city winner, and Dakota County, the winner of the county category, for a $25,000 grant to continue innovating.
St. Paul’s Emergency Medical Services Academy provides an opportunity for minority, low-income and at-risk youth of St. Paul to be trained as Emergency Medical Technicians. Gerdes said the academy is a very innovative way to increase the diversity of the city’s emergency medical workforce.
The goal of Dakota County’s Jail Re-Entry Assistance Program is to increase the probability of long-term success for identified individuals who are exiting jail by providing community-based, wraparound services tailored to each former offender’s self-directed needs.
A public vote will determine which one of these three finalists will receive the grant.
A community conversation took place from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 18 at the TIES building in Falcon Heights during which everyone who attended had the opportunity to vote. Online and text voting will be Jan. 7-15.
To learn more about the competition and how to vote for Irondale in January, visit challenges.incommons.org/LGIA.
The winner will be announced on Jan. 16, and an awards ceremony will take place that day from 3-5 p.m. at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.