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2016 RPS Progress Report (Good News/Bad News)

PlanScape Impact(s): Children & Youth ; Diversity and Inclusion ; Education ; Governance/Public Policy
Public Report on Rochester Public Schools Strategic Plan led by Rochester Public Schools
Last modified: November 17, 2016




Good News/Bad News




PB Story


Little progress has been made on a Rochester Public Schools plan to make students college and career ready by graduation.

The district met one of five goals set last year, according to the World's Best Work Force plan update provided during Tuesday's board meeting.

The plan, mandated by the Legislature, requires school districts to annually assess progress on five metrics: kindergarten readiness, third-grade literacy, closing the achievement gap, graduation rates and ensuring students are "college and career ready," as measured by the ACT.

The district didn't show much progress on its goals to close achievement gaps between white and minority students, graduation rates remain about 80 percent and fewer third-graders were proficient readers than the district had hoped would be.

"It's an opportunity to take a look at all the things we are doing and try to wrap it up and consolidate it into one report," Gibson said. "It is essential that we are doing well to educate all students if we are to continue having a robust workforce."

The focus on the workforce is a state push. The state's population is aging, and lawmakers know the types of jobs that will be needed in the future require more than just a high school diploma. There aren't enough candidates now to fill the good-paying jobs available, Gibson said.

The district is working to create strategies to address its five issues, but Gibson said focusing on five things can be a lot for a district.

"So what we really try to do is narrow it down and focus on what is it that we can do well," she said.

The five goals are adapted to local standards to help ensure by the time students graduate they're ready to join the workforce or head to college.

RPS must submit the plan to the Minnesota Department of Education by Dec. 15. The district is required to report updates annually to the school board. It will be reviewed regularly by the community curriculum and advisory committee and annually by the school board.

GOAL (MET): All students ready for kindergarten

RESULTS: 31 percent of students show that they are kindergarten ready in all of the eight categories established by the district.

REACTION/EXPLANATION: The locally produced assessment given each fall to kindergarten students collects readiness information in eight areas. The biggest area of struggle: letter sounds. Others on the list include uppercase letters, lowercase letters, colors, shapes, number recognition, rote counts and one-to-one correspondence. This year's goal — to have 30 percent of students demonstrate readiness in all categories — was set based on the previous year's results.

WHAT'S NEXT: District leaders say new developments, such as the opening of the district's newest pre-kindergarten site, Mighty Oaks Early Learning School; educating and mentoring students earlier; and having them work with community partners can help get students ready for kindergarten. Gibson also noted many think social skills should be taught at the pre-K level. She added the district is talking about addressing any experiences of trauma, or other early childhood experiences that might impact learning later, earlier so the district can better support those students throughout their education.

GOAL (NOT MET): Third-grade literacy

RESULTS: About 61 percent of third-grade students are proficient in reading.

REACTION/EXPLANATION: The goal was to have 61.2 percent at or above grade level literacy, so the district fell just short of meeting the goal.

WHAT'S NEXT: RPS said there will be more outreach to students who need help reading and a greater use of volunteers to support reading practice. Gibson said the district hopes to use data, such as the MCA and NWEA assessments, throughout the school year so progress is tracked and results don't come as a surprise in the spring. The goal for next year is to have 63 percent at, or above, grade-level literacy.

GOAL (NOT MET): Close all academic achievement gaps

RESULTS: All student groups, except for Asian students, remain at an "intervene" level, which means there is more than a 25 percent gap between scores for white students and students in each subcategory. This is the case for reading and math.

REACTION/EXPLANATION: The goal is to have less than a 10 percent difference in achievement for all of the groups. The district is looking at reading and math scores when talking about the achievement gap for this measure. Subcategories of students include Asian, Black, Hispanic, English language learner and low-income. The district said scores for English learners were concerning because the gap continues to grow. Though, they added, sometimes ELL students score lower, not because they don't know the material, but because there is a language barrier.

WHAT'S NEXT: The district plans to get parents more involved, have students work with mentors and create more opportunities for students to identify with coursework they're doing.

GOAL (NOT MET): Graduate all students from HS

RESULTS: In 2015, 81.7 percent of students graduated from RPS.

REACTION/EXPLANATION: Although the graduation rate was at 81.7 percent, the district said, that increases to 86.3 when you include students that continued on and graduated in five years. At the end of the 2015-16 school year, about 88 percent of students in grades 9-12 were on track to graduate in four years.

WHAT'S NEXT: Gibson said the district wants to act early and begin conversations about graduation in eighth grade or early. She added she hopes to increase mentoring for students and ensure they're connected to at least one person in each school.

GOAL (NOT MET): Have all high school graduates career and college ready

RESULTS: According to ACT 22, the WHAT, 54.3 percent of students are college-ready in math, and 56.5 percent are college-ready in reading.

REACTION/EXPLANATION: The goal was greater than 60 percent of students be on the pathway to an ACT score of 22 or higher. College and career readiness is measured by ACT scores, and a score of 22 or higher is generally considered "college and career ready."

WHAT'S NEXT: Gibson said it's important families know their children have options beyond college. The district will continue to work with local business to identify skills needed in the workforce.






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Project Report of Closing referral disparities (resolution agreement with Office of Civil Rights) : January 05, 2016 : An openBEAM 5+1 proposal to address school disciplinary dispairty

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