Red Wing schools still performing under new standardsLast October, Red Wing School District administrators were celebrating. They had just received word that the district had met adequate yearly progress for the first time since the 2004-05 school year.
By: Sarah Gorvin, The Republican Eagle
Last October, Red Wing School District administrators were celebrating. They had just received word that the district had met adequate yearly progress for the first time since the 2004-05 school year.
But when Minnesota received a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind — the program that governs AYP — last February, administrators weren’t sure how the district’s scores would stack up under the requirements that would replace NCLB.
“Our biggest concern was … not knowing how the new system would use the data,” Director of Instructional Services Kathy Radmer said. “We knew our students had performed better in 2011.”
So it was a relief when the district’s score card was released Tuesday. It showed Red Wing schools performing in the top 25 percent of all the schools in the state.
“We look good,” Radmer said. “We’re pretty excited.”
Under Minnesota’s new accountability system, all schools will be given a multiple measurement rating. As its name suggests, the program measures schools in four areas: student proficiency, student growth, achievement gap closure and graduation rate.
Under NCLB, schools were only measured on student proficiency.
“With this new accountability system, we’ll be able to better assess how our schools are really doing,” Minnesota Commissioner of Education Brenda Cassellius said in a press release.
“We want to measure multiple things,” Radmer said of the new system. “It’s really difficult to measure student learning on one level.”
Minnesota is one of 11 states that President Barack Obama approved in February to receive waivers from the federal requirements. Since then, 26 more states and the District of Columbia have requested waivers. Minnesota’s waiver is good for two years. The state can request an extension for a third year.
For each school’s initial rating, the state looked at standardized test results from 2010 and 2011. Each assessment area — student proficiency, student growth, achievement gap closure and graduation rate — has a total score of 25 points. Only high schools get graduation rate measurements.
Three of Red Wing’s schools received initial ratings. Students at Sunnyside Elementary School are too young to take the standardized test, so that school received no initial rating. Tower View Alternative Learning Center’s student population is too small to receive a rating.
• Burnside Elementary School scored 108.75 points out of a total of 150, or 72.5 percent
• Twin Bluff Middle School scored 111.61 points out of 150, or 74.41 percent
• Red Wing High School scored 149.60 points out of 200, or 74.8 percent.
“This validates that the things we’re doing are starting toward student success,” Radmer said.
The initial ratings also break out individual scores for each of the four areas. This allows the schools to know what areas need more work, and which ones are progressing well. For example, Burnside’s scores show a huge improvement in student proficiency between 2010 and 2011, going from a score of about 71 percent to nearly 100 percent.
However, student growth at Twin Bluff was actually lower in 2011 than 2010.
“That’s one we will be watching,” Radmer said.
However, Radmer said she is very pleased with the school’s results, adding that it shows that the district’s strategic plan — designed to improve student learning and implemented last school year — is working.
“It was a good affirmation that we’re moving in the right direction. The strategic plan is paying off,” Radmer said.