Montrose and Northwinds Earn Reward School Designation

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Monday Oct 10, 16
Montrose School of Innovation Earns the Award Two Years in a Row

The Minnesota Department of Eduction (MDE) has named Montrose Elementary School of Innovation (MESI) and Northwinds (NES) Elementary School 2015-16 Reward Schools for having demonstrated exceptional student outcomes and success in closing achievement gaps. While NES is celebrating for the first time, MESI is celebrating for the second year in a row. 

This recognition is given to the top 15 percent of schools in the state who receive Title I funding and is the highest rating that MDE awards. In addition to MESI receiving the award last year, they were "Celebration Eligible," meaning they were in the top 25 percent (after the 15 percent) in 2012-13 and 2013-14. MDE uses Multiple Measurement Ratings (MMR) to determine improvements. MMR evaluates a school's performance on four key measures:

  • Students meeting or exceeding their scores on state exams (MCAs-Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments)
  • Student growth over time (improvement from grade to grade)
  • Reduction of achievement gaps between white students and students of color, students living in poverty, students receiving special education services, and English learners
  • Increased graduation rates (only for high schools)

Only 103 Title I schools in the state earned this distinction and only six schools were named Reward Schools in Wright County.

Minnesota Commissioner of Education Dr. Brenda Cassellius extended her congratulations to MESI and NES, "Your schools are among the highest performing schools in the state, and this recognition reflects the incredible success of your students and tireless efforts on behalf of your staff. I appreciate the hard work you do every day to ensure the students you serve are successful. Your staff and your students are to be commended."

NES Principal Shawn Gombos says, "This is such a validation for our staff, students and families for the hard and focused work that they have done. The quote, 'Never doubt what a small group of people can do to change the world, because it always has.' has great meaning for us at NES. When students feel good about who they are and how they belong in the NES community, they will achieve. This recognition helps confirm the good work that we all are doing."

MESI Principal Tony Steffes continues, "It is truly an honor to be named a Reward School for the second year in a row.   Earning this recognition certainly helps to validate the hard work of our students and staff.  We believe that our success stems from strong foundational academic programming related to reading and math, intertwined with our innovative learning experiences that support students in exploring their passions, utilizing new technology to collaborate and create, and developing critical-thinking and problem-solving skills."

Both principals say that, moving ahead, they will continue to look for ways to improve learning opportunities for students and help them realize and achieve success in and outside of the classroom.