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Woodland school receives National Blue Ribbon award

Students hold up letters spelling Woodland while another student reads a poem during a celebration program Friday afternoon in honor of Woodland Elementary School receiving the National Blue Ribbon School award. (Lowell Anderson / Echo Press) 1 / 2
Alexandria School District Superintendent Julie Critz (left) recognizes Woodland Elementary School Principal Darla Harstad for her contribution in earning the school the National Blue Ribbon School award during a ceremony Friday afternoon. (Lowell Anderson / Echo Press)2 / 2

Woodland Elementary School in Alexandria has been named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. The recognition is based on the school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing the achievement gaps among student subgroups.

Woodland is one of 342 schools in the nation and one of only eight in Minnesota to be recognized with this award in 2017.

“Student academic success takes a team effort,” said Darla Harstad, Woodland principal. “The Blue Ribbon Award is a proud moment for the Woodland staff, who are working tirelessly to grow each student in their learning. It is an incredibly special honor for our students as well, who demonstrate determination and effort in developing their understanding and skills every day. We absolutely love our school and look forward to celebrating this honor along with our Woodland families and the Alexandria community in the months ahead.”

A celebration program was held on Friday, December 8, in the school gymnasium to help commemorate Woodland’s special recognition. In attendance were Woodland current staff and students, former staff, parents and extended family members, school board members and district leaders.

“This award is a tremendous honor for Woodland as well as our school district,” added Superintendent Julie Critz. “This great accomplishment highlights the hard work and dedication of both students and staff to ensure the highest levels of academic achievement.”