On Tuesday afternoon students from Clarkfield Area Charter School lined up in front of a Cold Stone Creamery trailer to celebrate their success on the state’s new school accountability system, the Multiple Measurement Rating (MMR), released last week by the Minnesota Department of Education.
CACS earned the designation as a ‘Reward School’ for scoring within the top 15 percent of Title I schools in the state. The school scored an overall rating of 90.28 percent. That mark is made even more impressive by the school’s Title I status. Title I schools receive funding based on the number of students on the free and reduced lunch program. Overall, 71.43 percent of CACS students receive free or reduced lunches.
“We were pleasantly surprised, but I can’t say that we didn’t expect to do well,” said CACS Lead Teacher Kathy Koetter. “We take advantage of our small class sizes [with no more than 15 students per class] and our staff, the paraprofessionals and all our volunteers do everything they can to make sure our students are succeeding.”
Other schools in the area receiving ‘Reward’ status included Lake Benton Elementary, Milroy Elementary, and Wabasso Secondary schools.
Meanwhile, neighboring elementary school, Bert Raney Elementary, scored an overall rating of 30.28 percent, had an achievement gap rating of 26.94 percent and was identified as one of the 85 focus schools in the state that showed the largest achievement gap for one, or more, groups of students.
CACS was not given an achievement gap score, because they do not have enough students that fall into minority sub-groups.
MMR is being used to identify progress for all schools across the state. The Minnesota State Department has implemented MMR to replace the AYP accountability system. According to a Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) news release the new ratings are the result of implementation of a new fairer, more accurate accountability system made possible through the state’s No Child Left Behind waiver.
State officials hope the new focus will close Minnesota’s achievement gap – one of the nation’s highest – in half within six years.
In the MMR system schools like CACS are designated ‘Reward Schools’. These ‘Reward Schools’ will be identified every year and will be asked by the state to share any of its best practices. It is not yet known whether there will be financial or other incentives later for schools earning the ‘Reward’ designation.
Of the 128 schools in Minnesota that received ‘Reward’ designation, 17 were charter schools.
“It was all new this year,” said Koetter. “We like the new test, it’s similar to the AYP (the No Child Left Behind standardized test), but they just look at us a little differently. It doesn’t influence our instruction as much as individualized tests do.”
Other MMR designations include ‘Focus Schools’ (the 10 percent of schools showing the largest achievement gaps) and ‘Priority Schools’ (those schools that rank in the bottom five percent of Title I schools in the state). 70 percent of all Minnesota schools do not receive a designation.
Page 2 of 2 -