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Accountability report shows growth trends, need to continue efforts

Results from the new Minnesota schools accountability system show growth in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191, especially in places where the district has had success personalizing learning for students and growing stronger relationships within the school community. Those are central elements of Vision One91, the district’s work to redesign schools to meet the needs of today’s learners.

The new accountability system – called North Star by the state Department of Education — takes a broader measurement of school effectiveness that reflects achievement on state standardized tests, as well as individual student growth on those tests, attendance rates and graduation rates.

Areas of Growth

New literacy curriculum, teaching model help elementary reading results

Year-to-Year growth for grade cohorts in reading.

Student cohorts – the groups of students as they move through the grades – showed growth from one year to the next on state tests. In 2017, 43.7 percent of third graders scored “proficient” on the reading test. As fourth graders in 2018, 44.6 percent of that group scored “proficient.”

Improvement for the 5th grade cohort was even more pronounced, going from 47.1 percent proficient the previous year to 55 percent proficient in 2018.

Third grade scores were up compared to last year, too, meaning more students are reading at grade level by third grade, which is a major indicator of future academic success.

“Using the new teaching model and curriculum, teachers are personalizing each student’s learning more,” said Dr. Jenna Mitchler, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment for District 191. “It’s thanks to the efforts of the literacy steering committee and the work of our teachers to reach each and every student that we see positive results and can expect more growth in the future.”

Improvement in Middle School Reading and Math

At the middle school level, scores in reading and math went up among both 6th graders and 8th graders.

Recent changes at the middle schools have focused on providing more individualized attention and building stronger relationships between staff and students to ensure all students succeed. These include daily enrichment or interventions for all students, a daily advisory period for all students, expansion of AVID college prep to all three schools, and one-to-one Chromebooks that allow students to access high-quality resources, as well as collaboration and communication tools.

Improvement in High School Reading and Math

Scores on the state reading and math tests went up among 10th and 11th graders, respectively. District leaders pointed to the emphasis on using data to address individual student needs, as well as the Pathways model that has been engaging students and helped them become more focused on preparing to succeed in the future.

Building Strong Relationships

Mitchler highlighted District 191’s efforts to build stronger relationships between staff and students as a key reason for areas of growth, and specifically noted the work to become a culturally proficient schools system (CPSS). That district-wide work, now in its third year as part of Vision One91, focuses on understanding students’ strengths and building on them to ensure students are ready to succeed in their futures.

“Our focus is on addressing the needs of each student so that they can be ready to succeed at their next step, whether that’s kindergarten or middle school or going on to college and a career,” Mitchler said. “That means providing excellent resources, opportunities, curriculum and instruction. But that’s not enough without strong, trusting relationships between staff and students so they know they are welcome and valued in our schools.”

To learn more about CPSS in District 191, go to

Areas for Improvement & Next Steps

Some District 191 schools were identified for support based on missing targets for one or more measures in the North Star system. This means the state will provide some support with the schools’ plans for improvement.

The followings schools were prioritized for support by the state, listed with the measure for which they were identified.

  • Neill Elementary, Achievement for a Specific Group (Special Education)
  • Hidden Valley, Achievement in Math & Reading
  • Sky Oaks, Achievement and Progress in Math & Reading
  • Sioux Trail, Achievement for a Specific Group (Special Education)
  • Vista View, Achievement in Math
  • William Byrne, Achievement in Math & Reading
  • Burnsville High School, 4-year Graduation Rates for ELL, Hispanic & Special Education student groups
  • BAHS, 4-year Graduation Rates for All Students

District 191 was also identified for support based on achievement levels as measured by the MCA tests. However, student growth in both math and reading were high enough that the district was not identified for support on that measure.

District 191 will continue its work around building strong relationships and personalizing learning for students, which has shown positive results. New and expanded efforts this year include:

  • Providing staff with better access to student data so instruction meets student needs using a new tool called Viewpoint
  • Expanding efforts to provide targeted individual interventions to students
  • Curriculum review including math beginning this school year and science in 2019-20

Detailed results are available on the Minnesota Department of Education website at

Posted: Thursday, August 30, 2018 - 13:24