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State releases grades for area schools

Rachel Udstuen
Rachel Udstuen
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SPRING GROVE — Spring Grove Public Schools received its annual report card this week, and it was cause for celebration.

Its grade seven through 12 secondary school was named a Reward school, a label given to the state's top-performing 15 percent of schools that accept federal poverty aid or Title I funding. Schools that earn this title have shown exceptional student outcomes.

"We're pretty thrilled to hear that designation," Spring Grove Superintendent Rachel Udstuen said. "It's the result of a tremendous amount of hard work by our students and teachers."

Udstuen said Spring Grove has made math a focus the last couple of years. The school carved out a 20-minute slot each day for teachers to work with students in small groups. Spring Grove teachers also agreed to tie their incentive pay, called Q comp, to math test scores. Each student was also assigned an intervention coach while kids were on a math program, Udstuen said.

The designations, released Wednesday, are part of the state's school accountability system, which the state created after receiving a waiver to the federal education law No Child Left Behind.

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The ratings are based on the results of the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment in math and reading. The annual tests focus on four areas: proficiency, growth, achievement gap reduction and graduation rate.

Altogether, the Minnesota Department of Education found 155 high-poverty schools that weren't doing enough to close the achievement gap between white and minority students or were showing academic performance problems overall.

Here's how other area schools did

Austin Public Schools: The Austin school district saw three of its schools make the Celebration-eligible list. Neveln, Southgate and Sumner elementary schools are now able to apply for Celebration recognition. Schools on this list are asked to describe what initiatives led to positive student performance.

Other schools in the area to earn the Celebration-eligible label were Blooming Prairie Elementary School, Chatfield Elementary School, Dover-Eyota Elementary School, Fillmore Central Elementary School, Hayfield Elementary School, Kasson-Mantorville Elementary School, Lewiston-Altura Elementary School, Pine Island Middle School, Rochester Math and Science Academy, Rushford Peterson Elementary School, Wabasha-Kellogg Elementary School, and Jefferson Elementary School in Winona.

Grand Meadow: Grand Meadow Middle School was named a Focus school, designating it as among the lowest-performing 10 percent of poor schools struggling to close the achievement gap. Grand Meadow Elementary was named a Continuous Improvement school, a designation given to the bottom 25 percent of low-income schools.

In Rochester, Riverside and Gage elementary schools were given Focus school ratings.

Other area schools to go on the Continuous Improvement list included Caledonia Elementary School and Rochester elementary schools Franklin and Sunset Terrace. These schools must work with their district to create improvement plans and set aside 20 percent of their Title I funds to support improvement efforts.

Related Topics: EDUCATION
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