Laura MacArthur Elementary, a State Priority School, Sees Significant Gains
The Minnesota Department of Education released Multiple Measurement Ratings (MMR) for schools. MMR measures growth toward raising achievement for all students and closing the achievement gap that exists between various student groups. Most ISD 709 schools saw gains.
Laura MacArthur Elementary School saw the most significant gain. In the spring of 2012, the State designated Laura MacArthur a Priority School because of a large achievement gap and not enough student growth, reflected in an MMR of 3.49. This week, the State released new results, showing Laura MacArthur with an MMR of 64.91.
The State also released Focus Ratings (FR), which measure the achievement gap reduction within each school and the proficiency of student subgroups within each school. Laura MacArthur also saw the most gains in that area, going from 7.03 in 2012 to 96.52 in 2013.
Superintendent Bill Gronseth attributes the growth to strong leadership within the school, active and ongoing support from parents and the community, ongoing training for teachers, regularly scheduled time for teachers to collaborate and work together to study student data and identify interventions, and funding to pay for those interventions, among other strategies.
"I’m proud of the work being done by the staff, parents and community members at Laura MacArthur,” says Gronseth. “With the right combination of human resources, a spirit of commitment and cooperation, a focus on the classroom and access to financial resources, I believe it’s possible for all of Duluth’s schools to reach high levels of student achievement. In doing so, we’ll create a stronger community for us all.”
How MMR is calculated:
· MMR uses results from the 2013 Reading and Math MCA, MTAS and MCA-Modified tests.
· For elementary and middle schools, MMR is a combination of proficiency, individual student growth and achievement gap reduction.
· For high schools it’s those three measurements plus 4-year graduation rates.
· MMR takes into consideration the performance of groups within the student body, including students from low income households, students of color, students receiving special education services and others.
What “achievement gap” means:
· In simple terms “achievement gap” reflects the difference in proficiency between white students and all other ethnic groups; students who receive special education services and those who do not; students who receive free/reduced lunch (students from poverty) and those who do not; and students learning English to those who speak English as their native language.
· Closing the achievement gap between groups of students is a goal at national, state and local levels.
Results for Duluth:
MMR is calculated using results from the recent accountability tests (MCA, MTAS, MCA-Modified). Focus Ratings (FR) measure the achievement gap reduction within each school and the proficiency of student subgroups within each school. The lower the MMR and FR number, the larger the achievement gap.
Local efforts to address the achievement gap:
· At both the school and district level, ISD 709 staff are working toward specific student achievement goals identified through Think Kids community conversation and the 4-Year Continuous Improvement Plan.
· Ongoing review of individual student data, before and after school tutoring, leveraging parent and community support, and working in partnership with groups such as United Way and Americorps are just a few strategies being used to address the achievement gap.
· School and district leaders will continue to review and adjust strategies throughout the school year.
· Poverty and racism can impact the success of young people. While these are complex and challenging issues, they’re worth taking on as a community. In the long run our city will benefit.
· Working collaboratively with citizens and local leaders is key as we leverage resources to ensure the success of all of Duluth’s youth.
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