Report identifies problems at Minnesota’s lowest performing schoolsThe Minnesota Department of Education recently released independent evaluations of 32 of Minnesota’s persistently lowest performing schools, revealing inconsistent instructional practices, poor leadership and a lack of community and parent involvement.
By: Staff Report, Alexandria Echo Press
Roseville, MN -- The Minnesota Department of Education recently released independent evaluations of 32 of Minnesota’s persistently lowest performing schools, revealing inconsistent instructional practices, poor leadership and a lack of community and parent involvement.
The reports were part of the federal government’s $34 million School Improvement Grant to Minnesota that targets the state’s chronically struggling schools.
“These schools do not have the fundamental educational practices in place for their students to be successful,” said Education Commissioner Alice Seagren. “As commissioner, I am fully committed to working with these communities to develop a strong turnaround plan using the resources of this grant. I strongly encourage each school to apply for this funding, because these students deserve the best education possible.”
The evaluation reports were conducted by Cambridge Consultants and pointed out some common educational deficiencies found in most of the schools:
Lack of differentiated instruction between struggling students and gifted students.
Not using current instructional practices.
Not using data to improve instruction.
Lack of academic goals for students.
Poor or lacking professional development for teachers, professional development not tied to the needs of the schools.
Lack of proper evaluation of teachers.
Poor leadership at the principal, superintendent and school board level.
Lack of parent and community engagement.
Each of the 32 schools can now use their report to create a turnaround plan to apply for funding as part of Minnesota’s $34 million grant. In order to receive funding, the school must design a plan that meets the shortcomings found in their report using one of four turn around strategies proscribed by the U.S. Department of Education.
Turnaround Model: Replace the principal, screen existing school staff, and rehire no more than half the teachers; adopt a new governance structure; and improve the school through curriculum reform, professional development, extending learning time, and other strategies.
Restart Model: Convert a school or close it and re-open it as a charter school or under an education management organization.
School Closure: Close the school and send the students to higher-achieving schools in the district.
Transformation Model: Replace the principal and improve the school through comprehensive curriculum reform, professional development, extending learning time, and other strategies.
Applications are due July1, 2010 with implementation plans in place by the first day of school for the 2010-11 school year.
The schools involved include:
Brooklyn Center Secondary
Braham Area Secondary
Broadway Arts and Technology
Cass Lake-Bena Secondary
Cityview PAM Magnet
East Central Senior Secondary
East High School
Edison Senior High
Four Directions Charter School
Greenbush-Middle River Senior High
High School for Recording Arts
Hmong College Prep Academy High School
Hmong International Academy
Humboldt Senior High
Lucy Laney at Cleveland Park Elementary
Maxfield Magnet Elementary
New Spirit Primary School
New Visions Charter School
North View IB World School
Red Lake Senior High
Rochester Off-Campus Charter High
Transitions Senior High
Urban Academy Charter School
Wellstone International High