Wayzata East Middle School Earns U.S. Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon Distinction
James Eberhardt’s sixth-grade science class inside Wayzata East Middle School in Plymouth was covering big subjects on Thursday afternoon like planetary rotations that make it possible for the upcoming autumnal equinox.
“How much light is getting on each part, the northern and the southern?” Eberhardt asked the students as he held a globe and rotated around a light source in the middle of his darkened classroom.
“The staff just have a true, genuine care for each of the kids here,” said Bennett, who started on July 1 after seven years as an assistant principal at Eden Prairie High School.
“You see it in the additional things they’re willing to do for kids, the additional time they’re willing to put in,” she said. “It is truly a team effort and I’m lucky to feel that as a principal, but our students are most lucky to feel that each and every day when they come in.”
It’s that community effort she cites that helped East earn a U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon distinction, one of nine schools in Minnesota to achieve that this year. Bennett credits the work of former principal Paul Paetzel and the faculty for earning the school’s second designation as one of the highest-performing in the country. Paetzel was named principal of Edina High School earlier this year.
“We put the student experience first, and we believe that the academic outcomes we want for each of our students will come if they feel that this is their school,” said Bennett. “This is a place that each of them truly belong and we’re going to have that reflective in all that we do.”
Plans for a community-wide celebration are still underway.