Commissioner Cassellius to Kick-Off Second Leg of Statewide Tour – March 19, 2012

/ 19 March 2012 / jennifer

For Immediate Release

Contact: Keith Hovis, MDE 651.582.8275 Keith.hovis@state.mn.us

Commissioner will be in Osseo, Duluth and Virginia to hold public meetings on Minnesota’s approved No Child Left Behind waiver and new accountability system

Roseville, MN – The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) today announced that following news of Minnesota’s approved No Child Left Behind waiver, Commissioner Brenda Cassellius will kick off a second round of her state wide tour. Commissioner Brenda Cassellius and department staff will visit Osseo on March 21, Duluth on March 22 and Virginia on March 23 to hold public meetings where she will present information about Minnesota’s waiver request and plans for a new accountability system that will more accurately and fairly measure schools progress.

Central to Minnesota’s approved waiver is the move from a widely criticized system that uses a single high-stakes test to measure school performance to a system that uses multiple measurements of accountability. Cassellius says that while measuring proficiency is absolutely essential in any accountability system, other data is needed to get a full picture of how a school is meeting the needs of students.

As outlined in the waiver, Minnesota’s accountability plans will now look at individual student growth, achievement gap reduction and graduation rates in addition to proficiency rates to generate a Multiple Measurements Rating (MMR) for every school in the state. The MMR rating measures performance in four key areas: proficiency in reading and math, student growth from year-to-year, higher levels of growth in groups of students that are farther behind, and progress in improving high school graduation rates. Schools that struggle to meet some or all of the goals will be given support to change the way they operate.

The new accountability system will allow the state to acknowledge schools that are most deserving of recognition, as well as focus attention on the schools in need of additional support. Schools will be identified as Priority, Focus and Reward Schools. The state’s lowest-performing schools will be identified as Priority Schools and will work directly with MDE to implement turnaround strategies that aim to dramatically improve the school’s performance. Focus Schools are identified as the schools making the largest contribution to the state’s achievement gap. Those schools will work with their district and with the support of MDE to provide targeted assistance to low-performing subgroups. The state’s highest performing schools will be identified as Reward Schools and will be singled out for recognition and studied to identify best practices.

Commissioner Cassellius previously held meetings in Rochester, St. Cloud, Mankato and Marshall.

Public Meeting Times:

Osseo – Osseo High School, Wednesday March 21, 7:00 pm

Duluth – Duluth Denfeld High School, Thursday March 22, 3:30 pm

Virginia – Virginia High School, Friday March 23, 3:30 pm

To read more about Minnesota’s NCLB waiver visit: http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/Welcome/AdvBCT/NCLBWaiver/index.html