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Sunday, December 4th, 2016
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R-P marches forward

By Kirsten Zoellner

Mon, Mar 5th, 2012
Posted in All Education

Superintendent Ehler testified before the House Finance Committee, along with board member Angela Colbenson and local businessman Brad Hoiness, February 8 and before the Senate Education Committee, along with Colbenson and board member Greg Smith, February 15. The hope of the presentations was to draw further awareness of and detail the district’s need for a new pre-K through grade 12 facility. The district is hoping for $20 million in funding from the state in order to proceed with a referendum on the new school.

ATS&R, the architect firm selected to assist the school with plans for the facility, met with all school staff members February 16 to gather suggestions and recommendations for the plans.

While the facility of the future is still in question, the district is wasting no time keeping up the paces academically. The school board has approved a thorough, five-year strategic plan for the district. Encompassing 10 goals, under the aim of high student achievement, a safe and welcoming environment, and efficient and effective operations, the plan includes 36 key initiatives as well as specific goal measurement tools.

One state-wide change may certainly be helping those goals, not only for R-P, but other local districts as well. The state of Minnesota’s application for a waiver from the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Standards was approved. According to a document from the Minnesota Department of Education, “Under the federal NCLB Act, many Minnesota schools have been mislabeled as failures – even schools that perform at high levels.” R-P has been at the top of testing performance levels consistently yet has seen repercussions because of the NCLB standards.

Through the waiver, a new accountability system will allow for more accurate measurements of district achievements, as well as allowing the department of education to partner with schools that truly need assistance. Schools will be broken into three designations using four measures of performance including meeting Annual Yearly Progress, growth in each student’s scores, growth in subgroups, and improved graduation rates. The school designations include Reward Schools, which will measure in the top 15 percent, Priority Schools, which will measure in the bottom five percent, and Focus Schools, the 10 percent of schools with the greatest contribution to state gaps.

The district is already gearing up for the annual testing. R-P Middle School will begin MCA Testing March 6, with the elementary to follow March 8.

The next regularly scheduled school board meeting is Monday, March 19, at 5:30pm, in the high school biology room. Please note the time change. The public is encouraged to attend.

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