We believe our efforts over the past 28 years to make learning more engaging and stimulating have helped contribute to the District’s status as one of the top school districts in the state. Academically, students in this District excel. Students’ MCA scores are well above state averages, and high school students’ ACT average of 23.3 is higher than the state (21.5) or national (21.0) average. More than 90 percent of students graduate from Stillwater Area High School in four years.
Although it is difficult for us to provide statistics to prove decisively our role in this story of success, we know we have made a difference. In an era when funding has not always kept up with public school needs, we have been able to provide the important “extras” that the District could no longer provide. For instance, the District’s nationally-known, award-winning music programs would perhaps not be as stellar if TPP did not annually feed resources into the programs, allowing for such unfunded needs as instrument refurbishing, sheet music purchase and artists-in-residence to inspire students.
In addition, we know we are making a positive impact within the larger community with Da Vinci Fest, our free event celebrating art and science. Each year, there are stories we hear about how our event has made a difference in the lives of students.
Most recently, a story of success concerns a student who was one of 1,800 students worldwide invited to attend the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. He won first place in the biomedical engineering category. Just a day later, he emailed the executive director of The Partnership Plan to express his appreciation for the platform TPP created with Da Vinci Fest. It had the effect of nudging him to create --and keep working on--the invention that formed his winning science project.
“I am extremely thankful for your help these past few years. You touched my life and so many others.........I want you to know that your organization is one of the greatest things Stillwater has, and I am extremely proud to represent and be a part of it."
At the other end of the spectrum, our Grand Champion in art at Da Vinci Fest produced one of the most amazing sculptures many of our judges had ever seen. We purchased this piece and displayed it all over the St. Croix Valley in a “Where’s Duke” campaign as we promoted our gala. At every location, we encountered area residents who were shocked to learn that the artist was just a high school sophomore. Not only did we give a boost to the self-confidence of a young student, we brought art to the community.
The parents of both students told us that they did not think their sons would have accomplished what they did without the impetus and platform of Da Vinci Fest.