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District 191 schools boost their state accountability ratings

NOTE: This information has been updated on Oct. 9 based on new calculations provided by the Minnesota Department of Education. 

Seven of the 15 schools in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 increased their ratings on the state's measurement of school performance called Multiple Measurements Rating (MMR), according to information from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE).  

The MMR score is based on students' scores on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) state tests along with yearly academic growth for students and the reduction in the achievement gap between racial and economic groups of students.

Schools that improved their MMR scores for the 2013-14 school year are: Burnsville High School, Edward Neill Elementary, Gideon Pond Elementary, Harriet Bishop Elementary, Sioux Trail Elementary, Vista View Elementary and William Byrne Elementary.

Three of the schools -- Edward Neill, Gideon Pond and Vista View elementaries -- had the most significant increase in the combination of growth proficiency and closing the gap.

“This progress speaks to the efforts of everyone in our schools who is focused on increasing student success across the district," said Assistant Superintendent Cindy Amoroso. "Our goal is proficiency and growth for all students in Burnsville, Eagan and Savage.”

In addition to the MMR rating, schools also received a rating on their progress in closing the achievement gap between white and minority students. Six schools showed progress on that measure: Burnsville High School, Edward Neill, Gideon Pond, Harriet Bishop, Vista View and William Byrne.

Two schools in District 191 achieved Reward School status. They ranked among the top 15 percent of Minnesota schools that qualify for federal Title I funding, which is based on the number of students who qualify for free or reduced lunches. This is the fourth consecutive year that Gideon Pond Elementary in Burnsville has been designated as a Reward School and the second consecutive year for Edward Neill Elementary, also in Burnsville. Reward Schools should serve as models for others in the state, according to MDE.

Marion W. Savage Elementary in Savage is eligible to apply for Celebration status for the second year in a row. The school is among the top 25 percent of Title I schools in the state.

Despite improving its MMR score and rising from the 48th percentile to the 75th percentile among public schools in Minnesota in terms of its achievement gap in the previous year, Sky Oaks Elementary in Burnsville was named a Focus School because it landed in the lowest 10 percent of Title 1 schools in the state last year. Focus schools are required to set aside 20 percent of Title I funds to support school improvement efforts.

“While we are pleased with overall steady progress in our district, we will continue to provide an even stronger academic program, at every level, for our all our students," said Amoroso. 

Schools work in several ways to boost MMR scores. Most importantly, said Amoroso, every school and educational program in District 191 is required to develop a School Improvement Plan (SIP) each year. Created by teams of teachers and school leaders, these plans lay out specific goals for the school and outline the research-based steps the school will take to improve student achievement.

Some of the other steps District 191 schools have taken to improve student achievement include:

  • Strategic use of data so instruction can target individual needs of students, at all levels.
  • New math curriculum (Math in Focus, commonly called Singapore Math) for kindergarten through 8th grade.
  • Expansion of the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) college readiness program to Metcalf and Eagle Ridge junior high schools. It's already in place at Nicollet Junior High, Burnsville High School and Burnsville Alternative High School.
  • The Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) program in all schools to set consistent expectations about behavior and reinforce good choices made by students, creating an improved learning environment.
  • Other improvements in programming to meet students’ social, emotional, nutritional, behavioral, and language acquisition needs are also being implemented.
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Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - 13:14