50 Reasons We're Proud

We are proud – Panther Proud – of many things in Spring Lake Park Schools. And many of the things that make us proud are also what set us apart from other districts. See for yourself and learn why Spring Lake Park Schools is a special place.

1.  Our Strategic Plan for the Future is the road map that we follow in our continuing and measurable focus on success for all students. The strategic plan is developed and approved by the school board and provides overall direction for the district’s work.

2. Our district purpose – “High expectations, high achievement for all. No excuses” – provides our focus to meet the unique and varied needs of each student.

3. Our vision to have every student prepared for college is bold and aspirational. We are collectively committed to taking whatever actions are necessary every day to design engaging learning experiences for each student.4. Adaptive planning is at the foundation of our work. Rather than having a static strategic plan that attempts to identify strategies and objectives into the future, our plan is reviewed quarterly and adjusted when necessary to address emerging issues.

5. The annual District Operational Plan (DOP) is the “how” of the strategic plan and identifies projects that help to move us toward our vision. Our planning process allows us to have a long-term view while continually assessing our work.

A Northpoint teacher helping a young student in classes with a worksheet

6. Innovation and doing things differently is an integral part of our district. We continue to create a systemic culture of innovation among all district staff members through implementing design thinking processes.

7. Our district is working to create powerful learners, not just good students. Powerful learners can connect learning to any situation and know how to find and use knowledge to address issues and solve problems.


Aspirations for average? Not in Spring Lake Park Schools! We are continually looking toward what else is possible and how might we improve and enhance learning for each student.

9. Our focus on personalized learning allows students to have greater choice in how they learn and allows them to take ownership of their learning.

10. Many of our parents describe our district as a family. We are large enough to offer many learning opportunities for each student and small enough to focus on the learning of each student.

11. Our parents and community members are actively engaged in our district and have demonstrated their continued support for the district for many years.

12. Our district created a Career and College Readiness Continuum to deepen efforts to create college readiness and the academic, life and career skills crucial for student success.


We are focused on competency-based learning, which puts learning at the center and ensures that each student learns the academic, career and life skills they need to be successful both now and in the future.

14. Key components in our approach to competency-based learning are to use time flexibly, allow students more time to learn, and provide more than one way or opportunity for students to demonstrate learning.

15. We are developing learner profiles and personal learner maps for each student to allow our teachers to deeply know where each student is at in their learning, where each student is going and what the next step is in the learning for each student.

16. Each student who is not yet at grade level standards is engaged in rigorous core and targeted reading, is given extra time to learn with a highly effective teacher, and formative data allows for real-time adjustments to learning and teaching.

17. Opportunities in Emergency Care (OEC) is an award-winning medical education program within our Health Sciences and Human Services pathway that offers extensive opportunities for high school students interested in the healthcare field.

OEC Students practicing rescues

18. Our goal is for each student to earn 12 college credits by the end of 12th grade through multiple pathways including embedded college courses, Advanced Placement courses, career and technical education programming, and College in the Schools courses.

19. Our Lighthouse School provides an enriched learning environment for highly gifted and insatiable learners ages 6-18. The school’s inquiry-based model of learning allows each student to take charge of their own learning.

Preschool student smiling with a paper crown on

20. Early Childhood Family Education classes help guide parents through their child’s stages of development, build positive parent-child relationships and prepare children to be successful in kindergarten and beyond.

21. The Career and College Pathways are designed to give Spring Lake Park High School students an edge, regardless of the path they choose after high school. The goal is to provide opportunities for students to apply learning in different career fields.

22. Students in Pathways courses gain real-world experience while also preparing for their personal post-high school journey, whether they choose a career and technical program, associate degree, certification, four-year college degree, or employment.


We are working to make STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) a systemic approach to learning. STEM allows students to draw connections across all content areas and teaches students how to think differently and use critical thinking through hands-on activities.

24. Woodcrest Spanish Immersion is a K-4 school and is a model immersion program for other districts beginning their own programs.

25. We offer the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program for grades 6-12 students. AVID helps prepare students to be successful in college and other post-secondary opportunities.

26. Our Online Learning Program at Spring Lake Park High School provides alternative ways to learn for students interested in online education.

27. Our comprehensive assessment program balances assessments FOR learning, which are used when learning is occurring, and assessments OF learning, which are used after learning has happened to assess what each student has learned. Both types of assessments are used to improve student learning.

Dancers cheering


Every student in the district has use of a digital device – mostly iPads – with a goal of improving student engagement and personalizing learning for each student.

29. All preschool-12th grade students participate in learning experiences that foster higher-order thinking, substantive conversations and connections to the world beyond the classroom.

30. We are working to personalize learning for each student with a focus on learning, rather than teaching, and allowing students to flexibly achieve each learning outcome.

31. All K-5 students have a daily reading block of 120 minutes with the first half focused on grade-level learning targets and the second half focused on more personalized learning delivered in groups of five or 10 students.

SLPHS senior teaching assistant smiling at a kindergartener

32. Class sizes in our district are lower than neighboring districts and we use additional teachers and academic specialists in classrooms to personalize learning for each student.

33. Our high school students are highly engaged in the life of their school with about 85 percent of students participating in Panther athletics or activities.

34. Our curriculum is built around Essential Learning Outcomes (ELO) that define what we expect each student to know, understand and be able to do in each curricular area and at each grade level.

35. We place a high priority on professional learning so our teachers and other staff can continuously improve learning for our students.

36. Our district is supported by the community-based Panther Foundation, which has raised and awarded more than $1 million to our district since its creation in 2004.

37. We are transforming our learning spaces from traditional classrooms to flexible spaces that are more conducive to active, hands-on learning.


Our 3D Design model is a process that district staff use to improve and transform what we do and how we do it. The model is based on human-centered design, which means we think about and incorporate insight from users and customers in the design process.

39. Our “Make Your Mark” initiative strives to promote and provide a welcoming environment and customer service experience for parents and the community.

40. The district’s award-winning website has been recognized for its ease of navigation and useful content for both current parents and new families.

41. Every district school is staffed with “continuous improvement and innovation coaches” who partner with our teachers to regularly improve and share best practices.

Northpoint family on the first day of school

42. Our district is in solid financial condition and is one of only a few districts in the state that has not made budget reductions in the past several years.

43. Our district has earned the Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Association of School Business Officials International for more than 12 years in a row.

44. As part of our ongoing commitment to effectively manage our finances, our board has approved bond refunding opportunities that saved residents about $12 million in property taxes.

45. Our district continues to increase its support of families through our grades 6-12 dean model and student/family advocate positions, who bridge the gap between families and schools, and provide a link to community services.

46. Our district has developed a partnership with the National Sports Center (NSC) in Blaine to provide athletics and activities spaces for students and the community.

47. Our district residents have generously invested in our schools and have provided the funds necessary to maintain and update our facilities. All district schools have either been constructed or recently renovated in the past 10 years.


We created “My SLP Idea” to encourage staff to generate ideas and bring them forward for consideration. Our leaders find ways to say yes and encourage innovation. In response to new ideas, we find ways to say, “just do it,” “let’s try it,” or “let’s build it” as part of our culture of innovation.

49. Centerview Elementary, our district’s newest elementary school, opened in fall 2018 and offers many flexible learning spaces that allow teachers to personalize learning for each student.

50. Teachers throughout the district are using technology to connect students with experts and experiences throughout the world..

Westwood STEM teacher Jason Gable helping a student