Rewarding students for positive behavior is the basis for the C.H.I.P.S. – Children Honored In Positive Situations – program at Spring Grove Elementary. The goal is to “catch” students doing good things. “It’s not just the teachers catching the students doing acts of kindness, but the students are catching each other doing acts of kindness,” explained second-grade teacher, Jill Bjerke. “It is really neat to see.” This week’s C.H.I.P.S. recipients pictured with principal Nancy Gulbranson are: Katelyn Kraus, Emerson Ingvalson, Gabe Lancaster, Maia Elton and Tiffany Michels.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->SGH/Deschler
Rewarding students for positive behavior is the basis for the C.H.I.P.S. – Children Honored In Positive Situations – program at Spring Grove Elementary. The goal is to “catch” students doing good things. “It’s not just the teachers catching the students doing acts of kindness, but the students are catching each other doing acts of kindness,” explained second-grade teacher, Jill Bjerke. “It is really neat to see.” This week’s C.H.I.P.S. recipients pictured with principal Nancy Gulbranson are: Katelyn Kraus, Emerson Ingvalson, Gabe Lancaster, Maia Elton and Tiffany Michels.

SGH/Deschler
In January of 2002, an act was brought before the 107th United States Congress titled "No Child Left Behind Act of 2001."

This act was "to close the achievement gap with accountability, flexibility and choice, so that no child is left behind."

The goal of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was to have every student achieve proficiency in reading, math and science by the year 2014.

Each year since NCLB, states have assessed the progress of their schools in reaching this goal. In Minnesota, the measurement used to determine whether schools were on track was the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).

The AYP measurement was generated through the results of the annual Minnesota Comprehensive Achievement (MCA) exams that the students took.

In 2011, Minnesota requested and was approved for a waiver to NCLB. The waiver replaced the goal of universal proficiency by 2014 with the goal of reducing the achievement gap within six years.

"The waiver was an opportunity to gain greater flexibility in the way we measure schools for accountability and the way that schools, districts and MDE work to improve struggling schools," states the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) website.

The waiver put into place a new system of accountability for schools. Replacing AYP is a new system called Multiple Measurements Rating (MMR).

The MMR looks at a school's proficiency, growth, achievement gap reduction and graduation rates. Using this system, schools will be identified for recognition, accountability and support.

In a press release, MDE Commissioner of Education Brenda Cassellius said, "With this new accountability system, we'll be able to better assess how our schools are really doing and put in place structures and resources to support their efforts.

"Rather than relying on a failed system that doled out punitive labels and didn't tell the whole story about schools, today we're recognizing our high-performing schools and making a commitment to stand beside those schools most in need."

Through the new MMR system, Title I schools can fall into one of five categories:

• Reward Schools (the top 15 percent of Title I schools; the highest-performing schools on the four measurements),

• Celebration Eligible Schools (the 25 percent of schools directly behind the Reward School cutoff),

• Continuous Improvement Schools (the bottom 25 percent of Title I schools that have not already been identified as Priority or Focus),

• Focus Schools (the 10 percent of Title I schools with the lowest Focus Rating), and

• Priority Schools (the five percent most persistently low-performing Title I schools based on the MMR).

Spring Grove Public School is excited to announce that its elementary was awarded the Reward School status representing it as one of the highest performing schools in the state.

Its secondary was awarded the Celebration School status. Only 146 schools in the state were eligible for that distinction.

Of those, only 57 schools were selected; Spring Grove Secondary was one of only four secondary schools receiving this honor.

"Our staff has a big role in these awards," commented Spring Grove School superintendent.

"They have been really digging in and examining the data we have on the students and identifying areas of need and further growth. But our students have an even bigger role - it is their hard work that earns these distinctions from MDE."

This school year, Spring Grove Public School implemented a new program, Ready To Learn (RTL) with the secondary students that gives them an opportunity to focus on an area of learning where they have the potential for the greatest growth.

More information about this program will be in next week's Herald.

"With the new MMR system, we are getting better at interpreting the data from the students' test results and responding to their needs as is shown in the data," added Udstuen. "This is an exciting time for education."

Other Reward Schools in the area include: Houston Elementary, Kasson-Mantorville Elementary, Mabel-Canton Secondary, Ridgeway Community School and Southland Elementary.

Spring Grove Secondary was the only Celebration school in the area.