In early October, Gideon Pond Elementary School in Burnsville became one of only 20 schools in the state to be named a “Reward School” for the fourth consecutive year.
The designation, given by the state Department of Education, is based on state test results, student growth from year to year, and success in narrowing the achievement gap between white and minority students. It places Gideon Pond in the top 15 percent of schools statewide that serve a significant population of low-income students. According to the MDE, Reward Schools should serve as models for other schools in the state. Only 131 schools in the state achieved the recognition this year.
Principal Kristine Black said that there is a shared commitment among Gideon Pond staff members and students’ families to make sure all students are receiving what they need in their learning. In particular, she pointed to the school’s system of interventions and enrichments that give each student instruction at their level in addition to core instruction.
"Our goal is not only to make a year’s worth of growth for all students, but to accelerate their growth as well,” Black said. “Creating this system has allowed us to make sure we’re using our resources, staff and professional development to maximize student achievement."
Every school and educational program in District 191 develops an annual School Improvement Plan. 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.