Governor Walz Visits Classrooms, Meets with Student Ambassadors at Blue Ribbon Lake Middle School
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz made a special visit to Lake Middle School in Woodbury on Tuesday, Nov. 29 to congratulate the students and teachers for being named a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.
The distinction means Lake Middle School is one of the country’s top-performing schools according to state assessments and national tests and the only middle school to earn the award this year in Minnesota.
Governor Walz was greeted by Lake Middle School orchestra students who performed for him. He then made his way through the building visiting a social studies classroom, a science classroom and an AVID (advancement via individual determination) classroom. During each classroom visit, he thanked the teachers for all their hard work and dedication to student success. Walz also congratulated students on their accomplishments, especially after several difficult years working through the challenges that COVID-19 presented.
“It’s been three incredibly challenging and disruptive years. But, seeing the success of Lake Middle School students gives me hope for the future,” said Governor Walz.
“Principal Molly Roeske and her staff have done such an amazing job overcoming so many obstacles the past few years and keeping the focus on students. It was nice to see their hard work recognized by the governor,” said Assistant Superintendent Kelly Jansen.
The governor ended his visit by hosting a roundtable discussion with Lake Middle School Student Ambassadors where he answered a variety of questions.
One student asked how the state is working to address the teacher and substitute teacher shortage. Governor Walz said, “One of the biggest things we can do is increase pay and make it so teachers can make a living. Oftentimes teachers work two or three jobs to make ends meet which isn’t right.” The governor also said another way to address the shortage is to make the pathway to becoming a teacher easier for those that want to go into the profession.
Another student asked him what it is like being the governor. Walz said it was never the job he expected to have and explained how he started as a teacher in Mankato then went on to be a congressman for a number of years before becoming the governor. He said his career has been rewarding in many different ways and a lot of it comes from his experience as a teacher.
“I’m very proud of our students and staff at Lake Middle School and how they represented not only their school but our district as well. Students were excited and on the lookout to see the Governor and his staff traveling throughout the school,” said SoWashCo Schools Superintendent Julie Nielsen.
Following the time with students, Governor Walz spoke with the media and mentioned how he plans to address school funding during the upcoming legislative session.
“We need to look at how to stabilize education funding instead of treading water. We need to look at what we learned from COVID that will make our education system different and better. This is an opportunity for us to have successful and sustainable schools that better serve our students and families,” said Governor Walz. He said the state needs to make a big shift and take on more responsibility for funding schools instead of schools having the burden of relying on property taxpayers to pass referendums.
He shared his hopes for the students of Lake Middle School saying he wants to see their generation improve politics so that the focus is on tackling issues collaboratively. He also hopes their generation will work to cure diseases and make discoveries that will improve lives and help our planet.