Staff and students at Edward Neill Elementary School in Burnsville were rewarded in early October with the announcement that the school was named a “Reward School” by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) for the second consecutive year.
Based on state test results, student growth from year to year, and success in narrowing the achievement gap between white and minority students, the designation places Neill in the top 15 percent of schools statewide that serve a significant population of low-income students. A total of 131 schools in Minnesota qualified for this recognition. According to the MDE, Reward Schools should serve as models for other schools in the state.
Principal Elizabeth Vaught praised the efforts of school staff to meet the needs of each student.
"We take time to sit down and have productive conversations about individual student data and how we can support learning," she said.
Vaught added that the school emphasizes caring for the whole child, including academic, emotional and social needs.
"We believe that academic achievement cannot occur unless a student feels welcome and cared for throughout the school,” she said. “At Neill, we place importance on emotional health and positive school culture as a pathway to academic success."
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.