Updated: 10/02/2013 7:24 AM
Created: 10/01/2013 12:50 PM KSTP.com
By: Maricella Miranda
Twenty-seven schools in Minnesota have made significant progress and reduced achievement gaps, according to the state's 2013 accountability results released Tuesday.
Of that, 17 schools previously identified as "Priority" and 10 schools previously designated as "Focus" schools will no longer carry those statuses because of their achievement, according to the Minnesota Department of Education. Ten of the schools are now eligible to apply for "Celebration" recognition and three will be honored as "Reward" schools.
The results are part of this year's Multiple Measurement Ratings, which have replaced the No Child Left Behind federal program. MMR takes into account testing proficiency, a school's work to close achievement gaps, a school's growth of proficiency over time and graduation rates when applicable, said Josh Collins, spokesman for MDE.
This year's results also showed that some schools saw a lower rating than the previous year. The ratings correspond with 2013 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments results.
The state's Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said the successes of the schools this year has helped the state further close achievement gaps in half by 2017, according to MDE.
Priority and Focus schools serve racially and ethnically diverse student populations with high levels of poverty, MDE reported. The schools' demographics show that 75 percent receive free or reduced-price lunch, 68 percent of those enrolled are minority students, 26 percent are English language learners and 14 percent receive special education services.
Overall, 78 percent of Priority schools demonstrated improvement this year, and many of those saw more than 20 percent points of improvement on the ratings. Also, 71 percent of Focus schools demonstrated growth on that rating compared to last year.
Reward designations were given to 131 schools, and 225 schools were classified as Celebration eligible. These groups represent the highest performing of the state's 853 Title I schools, MDE reported.
New Priority and Focus schools were not designated this year. Schools are identified on a three-year cycle to allow time for new strategies to be implemented, and for the state to provide concentrated support and resources to those schools, according to MDE.
New Priority and Focus schools will be announced in 2014.
Schools Exiting Priority and Focus Lists: