MINNEAPOLIS (Oct. 1, 2014) — The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) released its Multiple Measurement Ratings (MMRs) designating Title I schools. Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) has three reward schools, three celebration eligible schools, two continuous improvement schools, 22 focus schools and 10 priority schools.
While some schools made progress, the school district is not satisfied with the current rate of growth and continues to focus on accelerating the academic improvement of schools designated as focus and priority.
The information that was released today by MDE does not come as a surprise to MPS. “When Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment data was released months ago, we began to anticipate the MMR results announced today – and, as part of our academic acceleration efforts, made adjustments to staffing and support structures to better respond to the needs of our schools and students,” said Dr. Bernadeia Johnson, superintendent of schools.
The schools designated as focus and priority needed more intensive support and a narrower focus on implementing specific turnaround strategies for students performing one to three years behind. “MPS has worked and will continue working collaboratively with MDE to support priority and focus schools,” said Johnson. Increasing partnership efforts with MDE and Minnesota’s statewide system of support is an aim of MPS’ Title I Adequate Yearly Progress grant, which was developed in conjunction with MDE’s input and feedback in the summer of 2014.
The school district’s new strategic plan, Acceleration 2020, puts schools at the center of acceleration efforts. Newer academic efforts, such as using real-time data to intervene and respond more quickly to students’ needs and targeted efforts to raise the achievement of certain student groups, are strategies that have already shown progress in Minneapolis schools.
In July, Johnson adjusted her central office structure to provide more direct support to schools. Under the new structure, associate superintendents are assigned fewer schools so they can have more time to provide one-on-one support to principals and school instructional leadership teams. One of these associate superintendents focuses solely on supporting high priority schools and leading a central office team dedicated to working directly with principals and teachers on turnaround strategies.
“We needed associate superintendents and central office staff members spending more time coaching and assisting principals rather than attending meetings at the central office,” Dr. Johnson said. “This change is supporting our principals to build their instructional leadership capacity and improve student achievement.”
The school district will use a similar model for accelerating improvement in the 22 focus schools. Moving forward, approximately 50 percent of central office instructional staff time will go toward directly supporting principals and teachers.
Johnson commends schools being recognized for their designations and growth, including Anthony, Edison, Henry, Kenny, Northrop, Ramsey and Waite Park. “Congratulations to the leaders, teachers and support staff who have successfully achieved better outcomes for students,” she said.
MPS also recognizes schools that made notable growth, including Hiawatha, Lake Nokomis – Keewaydin, Loring, Marcy, Pillsbury, Seward, Broadway, Washburn, Wellstone and Plymouth Youth Center Arts and Technology High.
Minnesota’s MMR is a relatively new accountability reporting system under the Minnesota Elementary and Secondary Education Act Waiver, also known as the No Child Left Behind Waiver. It consists of four equally weighted measures to determine school performance:
• Proficiency (similar to old Adequate Yearly Progress [AYP])
• Growth (state formula)
• Achievement gap reduction (growth of ‘disadvantaged’ groups compared to ‘non-disadvantaged’ groups)
• Graduation rates (new four-year on-time rates)
All schools with enough students to generate an MMR receive a score, however; only Title I schools receive a designation.