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Sheridan Hills Becomes 'Priority School' Under New Accountability System

Centennial Elementary and Richfield S.T.E.M. School were also named Focus Schools.

scored in the bottom 5 percent of Title I schools statewide, earning a "Priority School" rating under the new school accountability system that’s an alternative to the old measurements.

The new system, which state officials call Multiple Measurement Ratings (MMR), uses three categories to rank schools: Reward schools are the highest-performing; Priority schools are the lowest performing; and Focus schools had the poorest showing in reducing the achievement gap.

Unforunately Sheridan Hills came up short, with an overall rating of just 10.31 percent rating out of 75. Forty-two schools were ranked at this level. In addition, and were labled Focus schools," according to data released by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Tuesday.

The results of the rankings are likely not a surprise for Richfield Public Schools officials, who have admitted that the district needs to boost student performance and close the achievement. In fact, most, if not all, of the who ran for election in November 2011 used closing the achievement gap .

The New System

Tuesday’s release marks the first time Minnesota has graded schools under a system allowed after that Minnesota would be one of 10 states granted a waiver to the No Child Left Behind system.

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, on the other hand, gives Title I schools a score based on their performance in four categories: proficiency, student growth, their ability to close the achievement gap and, for high schools, graduation rate. Title I is federal funding targeted to help low-income and at-risk students.

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.

Priorities

Oddly enough, Sheridan Hills was named a school of excellence in 2010. The school's principal, Jodi Markworth, Tuesday, explaining the new system. She also attempted to reassure them that the school was doing everything possible to "accelerate" its work.

"We will remain fully engaged in efforts to advance learning for all of our students, while attending to gaps among groups of students," the letter said. "Many of our students work hard to overcome obstacles to learning and we are proud of the progress that they make. Clearly, we need to move them farther and faster."

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Click here to see the full sample letter from Markworth.

Click here to see all Minnesota school ranknings.

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