LILA Wows The World!

LILA receives a Best Practices award for character development.

Few public schools can claim as many accomplishments as Lakes International Language Academy can. From earning multiple consecutive Minnesota Department of Education Finance Awards to receiving one of the largest federal grants ever awarded under the Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP), which enabled us to introduce Mandarin Chinese, LILA has continued to impress educators, thought-leaders, government officials, community leaders, parents, and students.

Honors And Special Invitations

LILA has received consistent local and national press coverage—as far away as the Wall Street Journal. Many of our staff members have been selected to present papers at international conferences and they have been invited by prestigious organizations to travel to places such as China to study instructional best practices and exchange knowledge.


Awards & Recognition

  • 2020 - 2015 Consecutive National School of Character Promising Practices Awards
  • 2019, 2018, 2015, 2012 Award of Excellence in School Board Governance and Award of Excellence in School Financial Management and Oversight from the Volunteers of America – Minnesota2019 - 2005 Consecutive Education Finance Awards from the Minnesota Department of Education
  • 2018 International Baccalaureate Authorization Middle Years and Diploma Programme
  • 2018 Minnesota Department of Education North Star Award for LILA Lower School’s overall math progress, 5th-grade reading progress, and consistent 5th-grade attendance
  • 2019 - 2010 Consecutive Promising Practices Awards from the Synergy & Leadership Exchange
  • 2018 “Ethics in Education” Outstanding Educator Award to Cecilia Delbene, from the WEM Foundation
  • 2020 - 2014 Consecutive Forest Lake Times Readers’ Choice Winner in 6 categories: Best Pubic School, Best Preschool, Best Principal, Best Summer Camp, Best Tutoring Program, and Best Teacher
  • 2018 - 2012 Awarded Guest Teacher Trainee through the Institute of International Education, the Confucius Institute, & the Hanban (China’s educational wing)
  • 2014 Named Confucius Classroom by the Confucius Institute
  • 2012 Local Government Innovation Award, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
  • 2012 National Promising Practices Award, Character Education Partnership of Washington, D.C.
  • 2011 Finalist for the National School of Character Award, Character Education Partnership of Washington, D.C.
  • 2010 National School of Character “Profiles in Character” award winner, Character Education Partnership of Washington, D.C.; only 18 schools across the U.S. were selected, based on an evaluation of each school’s strengths in areas such as social-emotional learning or meeting individual student needs within the CEP’s Eleven Principles of Effective Character Education
  • 2007 Primary Years International Baccalaureate Authorization


  • 2018 Minnesota Department of Education School Safety Grant
  • 2018 SFM Insurance Winter Slips & Falls Safety Grant
  • 2018 Washington County Public Health Mental Health Initiatives Grant
  • 2018 Washington County Public Health SHIP Grant
  • 2018 – 2014 PreferredOne Staff Wellness Grant
  • 2017 Washington County Public Health SHIP Grant
  • 2016 Washington County Public Health SHIP Grant
  • 2016 Target “Music for All” Grant
  • 2017 Target “Music for Well Being” Grant
  • 2016 CenturyLink Teachers & Technology Grant “LILA Rocks” Grant
  • 2015 St. Croix Valley Foundation Music Grant for Drums
  • 2015 Proto Labs Foundation Good Idea Grant for 3D Printer
  • 2013 Allina School Health Connections Grant
  • 2008 Minnesota Facilities Improvement Grant
  • 2008 U.S. Department of Education - Foreign Language Assistance Program Grant

Minnesota Report Card

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The Minnesota Report Card provides easy access to district and school information, test results, revenue and expenditure data, demographic information, and other critical data in a centralized location. Choose from several reports to learn more about the state of education in a local district, a specific school, or the state as a whole. For LILA students, the results tend to follow a typical bell curve, with more than 20 percent typically exceeding testing requirements each year—even though the test is administered entirely in English and the students have learned almost entirely in Spanish prior to testing. This site divides LILA into two schools: Lakes International Language Academy and Lakes International Headwaters. Visit this link:


Self-Evaluation Measurements

Satisfaction/Retention Averages Over A Five-Year Period

  • Parent satisfaction: over 95%
  • Student retention: over 94%
  • Faculty retention: over 91%

Caring Learning Environment Survey Scores

Every year, as part of our self-assessments for continued success, we measure parent satisfaction and reflections of the school as a caring learning environment. We also monitor student and faculty retention. We’re especially pleased with our achievements here.

Key: The lower the number, the better. (All of our averages have been below 2!)

1 = Strongly agree           2 = Agree

Click image to enlarge.