Minnesota takes 27 schools off low-performing lists [UPDATED]Published 11:43am Wednesday, October 2, 2013 Updated 11:44am Wednesday, October 2, 2013
ROSEVILLE — More than two dozen Minnesota schools, including Viking Elementary in Pelican Rapids, are no longer considered failing, according to new state rankings released Tuesday.
The 27 schools lost the failing label by boosting student achievement and reducing achievement gaps between white and minority students.
“Today’s release is about hard work taking place every single day in our schools to ensure the success of each child,” Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said in a news release.
The latest school data will allow 17 schools to come off the state “Priority” list and 10 schools to leave the “Focus” list, officials with the Minnesota Department of Education said.
Under Minnesota’s new school ranking system, Priority schools are lagging in overall student achievement. Focus schools are failing to close the achievement gap. Viking Elementary in the Pelican Rapids School District was considered a focus school before being taken off the list.
Officials at Viking Elementary have taken advantage of the new system, which has included working closely with the Center for Excellence to meet student needs, according to principal Sheila Flatau.
“I think it’s just a great testament to the hard work from the teachers the last few years,” Flatau said. “We are not satisfied with where we’re at, but we are pleased to know we are on the right road.”
The ranking system, now in its second year, is the product of Minnesota’s waiver from No Child Left Behind, the benchmark federal education law that many educators disliked because it forced states to label schools as actual failures, the Star Tribune reported.
The “Multiple Measurement Ratings,” or MMR, have more layers than the old system, which only assessed how well students performed on math, reading and science tests.
Under the new system, schools are judged on how well they are addressing the achievement gap, graduation rates, academic growth and proficiency.
Cassellius noted that some schools saw lower MMR scores this year because they are influenced by how well students perform on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments. This year, the state rolled out tough new standards for reading, and MCA scores in that subject dropped statewide.
The department did not add any schools to either low-performing list Tuesday. Those Priority and Focus designations will come next year. Schools with those designations must come up with school improvement plans.