Three area schools receive state distinction

/ 23 May 2012 / jennifer

Brian Matthews, Bemidji Pioneer, May 23, 2012 –

BEMIDJI – Three Northwood area schools were designated as top performers under the new state accountability system, according to results released Tuesday by the Minnesota Department of Education.

TrekNorth, Schoolcraft Learning Community and Kelliher High School were all identified as a “Reward School,” putting them in the top 15 percent statewide based on a percentage determined by the Multiple Measurements Rating.

The state Department of Education is using the MMR system because it received a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind education law.

The initial ratings are based on the student testing in the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 years. Results from the 2011-2012 school year will be released late this summer.

The new system uses student proficiency achievement, growth, achievement gaps for minority students and students that receive special services, and graduation rates. The system gives a focus rating, which scores students based on their improvement on minority students and students that receive special services.

TrekNorth scored 77.43 percent on its MMR score, School Craft earned 75.89 and Kelliher High School received 77.67 percent.

TrekNorth, School Craft and Kelliher are three of 127 schools in the state to earn the “Reward School” distinction.

Schoolcraft Learning Community Director Scott Anderson said the new system is a nice accomplishment for schools but it does not account for the school’s successes outside of test scores.

“It is a good pat on the back for schools but I always try to tell people that test scores only give a snap shot to what a school district is all about,” Anderson said.

Only Title 1 schools, which are schools that receive federal poverty aid, can receive a classification, which excludes a majority of the schools in the Bemidji School District. J.W. Smith, Central, Lincoln and Solway Elementary Schools are Title 1 schools that did not receive designations.

In addition to the Reward designation, schools could also receive distinction as a Focus School, a designation given to the top 10 percent of Title 1 schools making the biggest contribution to the state’s achievement gap. Eighty-five schools received this designation. A Priority School designation was given to the 5 percent of the most persistently low performing Title 1 schools in the state. Forty-two schools received this designation.