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How Do Minnetonka Schools Stack Up in the New Rating System?

A look at how Minnetonka schools fared under the new Multiple Measurements Rating system.

, , and scored in the top 15 percent of Title I schools statewide, earning a coveted “Reward School” designation under a new school accountability system that’s an alternative to the old No Child Left Behind measurements.

All schools but one in the that were eliigible for the "Reward School" title received it. is a Title I school but was not given the designation.

The other schools in the district are not Title I schools, which are schools that have higher concentrations of students receiving free and reduced lunch.

"Even though and were the top two rated middle schools in the state, they have no designation because they don't receive Title I," said Janet Swiecichowski, executive director for communications with Minnetonka Public Schools.

All Minnetonka schools avoided the negative designations of “Priority Schools” and “Focus Schools,” according to data the Minnesota Department of Education released Tuesday.

Tuesday’s release marks the first time Minnesota has graded schools under a system allowed after President Barack Obama announced Feb. 9 that Minnesota would be one of 10 states .

In the past, schools had to meet yearly proficiency targets and all categories of students had to meet those targets. If just one subgroup did not make “adequately yearly progress,” the school could be classified as failing.

The new system, which is more complicated, gives schools a score called a “Multiple Measurements Rating (MMR)” based on their performance in four categories: proficiency, student growth, their ability to close the achievement gap and, for high schools, graduation rate.

"I think parents are used to looking at the lists and seeing what percentage of the kids are proficient," Swiecichowski said. "Our biggest concern is that when parents look at that list, we want them to know that the percentage is not just how many kids are proficient. It's a much more complex system now."

The aim is to reward schools with students who start at a disadvantage but achieve faster than average growth—even if they don’t hit the intended target.

The rating system is really focused on making sure all students are clearing the minimum bar, according to Swiecichowski. "In Minnetonka, we're pretty confident that all of our kids are going to get over that minimum bar, so we're really focused on 'Are we getting kids to exceed what they would expect their full potential to be?'"

Although Minnetonka schools boast excellent ratings, one area the district is working on involves new students who enter the district.

"Students are coming in sometimes not only not knowing English, but sometimes coming from countries where they had no formal education system," Swiecichowski said. "Within a very few amount of years at the elementary level, bringing them up to what's expected of them for proficiency is a challenge."

Data released to the School Board recently shows that Minnetonka students are actually acheiving more than a year's growth in a year's time. The district prefers to look to benchmarks like this instead of ratings released by the state, according to Swiecichowski. "The state data that comes out two years after the fact is really 'autopsy data.' It tells us what happened three years ago."

School districts are finding that, while the new system is more complex, it is basically yielding the same results as before. The good news for roughly half the schools in the state is that they are no longer labeled as "failures." However, that was never the case for Minnetonka schools. 

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for an in-depth look at how scores are calculated under the new system.

 

Minnetonka High School MMR Score Focus Rating Prof. Growth Achievement Gap Grad. Focused Prof. 2010 83.06 36.44 80.76 90.71 60.92 99.84 84.87 2011 93.81 44.93 99.88 95.70 79.83 99.83 99.87 2010+2011 88.44
81.37 Minnetonka Middle School East
2010 98.03 97.59 95.83
98.90 99.34 95.83 2011 98.88 98.88 98.77 98.88 97.99 99.78 2010+2011 98.46 98.24 Minnetonka Middle School West
2010 94.23
94.52 93.20 94.96 94.52 94.51
2011 99.33 99.33
99.77 98.43 98.88 99.78 2010+2011 96.63 96.92 Clear Springs
2010 55.72 46.67 50.17
49.50 67.49 49.50 2011 69.90 74.88 99.94 49.81 59.93 49.81 2010+2011 62.81 60.77 Deephaven 2010 94.16 95.53 99.94 91.44 91.10 99.94 2011 95.30 95.38 99.94 95.12 90.82 99.94 2010+2011 94.73 95.45 Excelsior 2010 82.59 80.20 99.94 87.37 60.47 99.94
2011 85.43 88.23 99.94 79.81 76.52 99.94 2010+2011 84.01 84.22 Groveland
2010 75.89 85.12 99.94 57.43 70.30 99.94 2011 82.95 87.41 99.94 74.04 74.87 99.94 2010+2011 79.42 86.26 Minnewashta 2010 51.32 60.98 74.28 31.08 48.61 73.34 2011 74.21 71.46 99.94 79.70 42.97 99.94 2010+2011 62.76 66.22 Scenic Heights
2010 85.99 90.92 99.94 76.11 81.90 99.94 2011 85.21 85.19 99.94 85.24 70.44 99.94 2010+2011 85.60 88.06

All numbers are percentages.The Multiple Measurements Rating (MMR) and Focus Rating numbers reflect the percentage of points each school earned out of the total possible. Average scores are about 50 points.

In all other categories, the number reflects a school’s percentile rank compared to other schools in the same grade range, with 100 percent the best possible rank.

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