Believe it or not: Good News Part 2

Things must be turning around at Meadow Lake Elementary…from the Robbinsdale wesbsite:

State recognizes best practices at Meadow Lake Elementary

Data-driven teaching led to significant increase in test scores

New Hope, Minnesota—The Minnesota Department of Education is praising Meadow Lake Elementary School in New Hope as an example of how teachers and staff can work together to improve student achievement. An article by the agency in this week’s Edweek newsletter highlights the school.  A focused, year-long collaborative effort at Meadow Lake has resulted in a marked increase in Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) scores for the 2009-2010 academic year.  In addition, Meadow Lake students made adequate yearly progress in every category but one last year, out of a possible 36 categories. The year before the school missed in 12 categories.
Principal Kim Hiel and Assistant Principal Amy O’Hern spearheaded the efforts of Meadow Lake teachers and staff. “Our efforts this past year focused on three areas: collaboration among staff, common assessments, and analyzing data to improve instruction and respond to student needs,” she said. Teachers hold regular Professional Learning Community (PLC) meetings to discuss data and track student learning.  The staff also reached out to parents. An event called “The ABCs of Meadow Lake” provided all families with an introduction to specific terminology teachers’ use, improving communication between the classroom and home. This was particularly important, as attendance boundaries changed between the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years, resulting in a change of schools for many students.
“Our improvement from last year has given the Meadow Lake community even more reason to celebrate the extraordinary staff, students and families who work toward the common goal of success,” added Hiel.

Well, that is certainly good news!  And the principal and staff deserve credit.  Let’s make this a trend!
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10 Responses to “Believe it or not: Good News Part 2”

  1. dcbjerke1961 Says:

    Just wondering, since this was the cross over between the redistricting of schools with the closing of one of the highest performing elementary schools in the district, how much of the improvement is related to the low performing kids that were moved out of the school and the higher performing kids who were moved into the school? This may be NOTHING related to school performance. but simply the function of redistricting…

  2. 281 Exposed Says:

    I’m not sure what the answer is exactly. By the closing of a high performance elementary school, I assume you mean Pilgram Lane. I don’t know how many kids who went to Pilgram Lane now go to Meadow Lake but I can’t imagine it’s too many. Maybe you’re right but I’m not sure where to get data on that. Either way we spend most of the time ripping the district for bad test scores, it’s only fair to report good news at least here and there.

  3. give2attain Says:

    Thinking about the map shifts that occured, I do not believe the student body demographics changed too much. A few ZLE kids may have moved there, however most used intradistrict transfer to stay at ZLE and some went to Forest.

    The PLE kids seemed to land at Sonnesyn, ZLE, private or a charter. A couple I heard of Intradistrict transferred to Neill or Noble.

    I think the Meadow Lake folks just focused on the goal and did a great job.

  4. give2attain Says:

    Checkout pg 32 of the following document to see what I mean. ZLE used to go East of 169 after NHE closed. That section moved to Forest when ZLE’s boundaries shifted South to pick up a portion of the PLE kids.
    Facility Options

    For more info:
    RAS Facilities Study Page

  5. give2attain Says:

    One more link… Here is the Meadow Lake AYP scorecard:

    Meadow Lake Details

  6. dcbjerke1961 Says:

    Thanks this data is helpful, it would be nice to see the AYP scorecard from 2008-2009, looks like comparatively the school increased by only about 60 students instead of the 150 originally projected in the error ridden Wold study. I think it is likely the staff focused on ways to improve the test results for the school but I would still submit based on the demographic change for the school that some percent of the increase is simply attributable to redistricting. To prove that, we would need to look at the result of the stagnant population at each of the schools. Since Meadow Lake lost few kids, no redistricting lost I can see from the study, and added additional Zachary and Forest kids, and thir minority population fell by almost the same percentage as the overall population increased, it appears that all, or almost all of the kids who were moved into the school were white, as minorit population fell from over 75% to under 70% for the school. The same year, the school shows an increase in test performances, and everyone commends the teachers for improving the overall performance, yet to do so, is to argue that the kids who were added to the school were performing at the same level as the kids in the school for 2008-2009, and the probability of that is unlikely. So, my initial point still stands, as the school population increased by 10% more students, who came from schools with higher academic achievement than meadow lake, the baseline numbers used by meadow lake are skewed, unless you either remove the test scores of these students from the 2009-2010 aggregate total, or you add those scores to the 2008-2009 scores for Meadow Lake to develop the correct baseline, that you can compare apples to apples instead of misrepresenting the improvements as teacher and adminstrator performance.

  7. give2attain Says:

    Best advice is to ask Gayle W. and staff at RAS for the data. They have lots of it if you are truly interested in analyzing it. And they are amazingly patient given that they have a lot to do.

    Also, there is historical data available at the MDE site:
    MN Dept ED Meadow Lake

    Though I am a big fan of NCLB/AYP, the reality is we can tell when schools will begin to fail AYP… Unfortunately it is typically related to demographics, not school or district. I am not sure how schools can overcome in ~7 hours, the kid’s normal reality that they have lived with since they were born. And they spend most of their days and weekends submerged in.

    Good luck with your hunt.

  8. give2attain Says:

    “instead of misrepresenting the improvements as teacher and adminstrator performance”

    This statement stuck with me, and the irony hit me earlier today…

    Daily, many “anti-Public school folks” continually misrepresent Teacher and Administrator performance as poor… Because the Teachers and Administrators are unlucky or caring enough to work in an impoverished district…

    Now, you are questioning their good results. Wondering if it is just a demographic shift…

    So does this mean… If scores are good, it is because we have good kids… If scores are bad, it is because we have bad schools ???

    Does not make sense to me… Please help….

  9. concernedcitizen55441 Says:

    @ give2attain

    You just summed up the whole premise of sites like this one. Well done.

  10. give2attain Says:

    Give them a little time, this site has improved greatly and is gaining my respect. I mean they didn’t moderate your comment into the ether… Maybe soon they will be posting some creative ideas by which RAS can improve.

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