by Dennis Dalman
School officials, teachers, students and parents are proud about the good news that Sartell has scored well on the latest proficiency rating, exceeding state targets in all subjects and sub-categories.
The findings are from the Minnesota Measurement Ratings accountability system. The ratings use test data from the 2011-2012 academic year.
Pine Meadow Elementary School and Oak Ridge Elementary School in Sartell were both designated as “reward” schools, a distinction given by the MMR system only to the top 15 percent of Title I-funded schools in the state.
The Minnesota Department of Education releases its Multiple Measurement Ratings annually. The MMR replaces the former No Child Left Behind law, from which Minnesota obtained a waiver.
Four areas are rated by the system:
1. Proficiency: Did the school meet its performance targets?
2. Individual Student Growth: Did individual students meet their growth targets? Are they making progress?
3. Closing the Achievement Gap: Did the school make progress closing its overall achievement gap?
4. Graduation Rate: Did the high school increase its graduation rate?
The final ratings for Sartell’s four schools are as follows: Oak Ridge: 86.3;
Pine Meadow: 91.7; Middle School: 97.4; and High School: 63.3 (Any score above 60 is considered very good by the MMR system.)
In the areas of proficiency, all schools scored nearly 25 points each.
Growth points ranged from 10.1 for the high school to 24.2 for the middle school.
Gap reduction points ranged from 3.8 for the high school to 23.9 for the middle school.
The high school was given 25 points for the Graduation Rate ratings.
When all four areas are added up, the final points were as follows: Oak Ridge: 64.7; Pine Meadow: 68.7; Middle School: 73; and High School: 63.3.
“We are very proud of our achievement and how our staff has adjusted and will cointinue to adjust to the dynamics of our internal and state accountability systems,” said Superintendent Joe Hill. “Our aim is consistent with the values of our community – high achievement through outstanding instruction held within a base of rich and broad learning experiences for our students. Our use of data to inform our progress and needed areas of increased focus has been observed throughout our buildings and departments more than ever and is a marker of our commitment to continuous improvement.”
Sartell Director of Learning Service Mike Spanier also lauded the ratings.
“Our staff and community work with the goal of high-quality educational opportunities in all areas,” Spanier said. “In the past, we’ve only been able to access proficiency scores from the data. With this new measurement system, we are able to delve even deeper into multiple aspects of teaching, learning and growing to meet the diverse needs of all students. Each school will work with the data to find areas of strength and opportunity. The data will drive continued improvement in the classroom for learning and growth.”
Minnesota Department of Education Secretary Brenda Cassellius said the MMR is a better measure of educational progress than the previous measurement system required by the No Child Left Behind law. The new one, she said, measures more than one indication of progress and gives teachers a very good idea of which students need extra help. Cassellius also said the MMR points to how important it is for early-childhood education programs to be fully funded and/or expanded so that many of the learning problems faced by older students can be nipped in the bud right when they are beginning their lifetime of learning.