When it comes to the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the outcomes of standardized tests led to schools either making the grade or not, and those who did not meet the standard suffered the consequences.
The punitive nature left school districts with little reason to celebrate when they did see successes.
That all changed for Minnesota schools when the U.S. Department of Education granted the state, under the leadership of the Minnesota Department of Education, a waiver to make changes that focused on what was more effective.
As a result the state education department created a new tool known as the multiple measurement rating, and through that schools were assessed based on results from the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments administered each spring to students in Grades 3-11. Based on results, schools were placed in one of various categories from those who were deemed “Reward” schools to those who were considered “Priority” districts.
Those with a reward rating were considered the highest performing schools in the state based on the measurement ratings tool, and those listed in the priority rating were the lowest 5 percent of schools.
In the middle are those schools who have been rated as “Focus” schools, who make up the next lowest 10 percent, and “Continuous Improvement” districts.
Those in the 60-85 percent range were designated as celebration eligible, which is where Reede Gray Elementary School had been rated. It recently received word it had moved from being eligible to a “Celebration” school.
The award recognizes the accomplishments and hard work of Title I schools across the state.
According to Stephanie Flickinger, Reede Gray Elementary principal, the school filled out an application for the award.
As part of the application, the school must identify one program it is using to support the success it experienced.
Flickinger said the professional learning communities were selected, adding it demonstrates the collaboration of the school from one grade to another.
“We are all part of a team,” said Flickinger, adding even though it is Grades 3-4 which are assessed it is the collaborative effort of the entire staff that is helping lead to the success and the rating.
Wayne Junker, who retired from Reede Gray after the 2011-12 school year and is currently a member of the board attended a recent elementary staff meeting to congratulate the staff on the recent award.
“I want to congratulate you. I know you all work hard every day,” said Junker. “This is well deserved.”
Junker, on behalf of the school board presented a certificate of recognition to Flickinger expressing how proud they are of what has been achieved by the staff.