Proficiency remains an issue for Minneapolis Public Schools

Updated: August 24, 2016 - 4:39 pm

Minneapolis schools are struggling to meet their goal of raising student performance.

“We have a responsibility to educate our students,” said Eric Moore, executive director of the department of Research, Evaluation, Assessment and Accountability, at the school board meeting on Tuesday.

Moore presented the results of the 2016 MCAs to the board, reporting flat scores and continued achievement gaps.

“I think we’re doing the right thing. We’re looking at the data and having tough conversations,” he said. “Looking at the data is hard.”

Despite pockets of success — most notably, students who are not from low-income families and white students are performing above state averages — the board identified several necessary steps to take in order to provide adequate and equitable education to all students.

“The diversity in this district is overwhelming in a delightful and overwhelming way,” said Carla Bates, a member of the board.

The board discussed providing students with a solid foundation and customize in later grades to meet the needs of each school.

Making sure that all students can read by the third grade is a goal board members are particularly anxious to meet. Superintendent Ed Graff suggested doing so by focusing on the five essential components of reading: phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, reading comprehension and fluency.

“Whatever we’re doing, we’re not satisfied. It’s not working,” Graff said. “I want to make sure we’re looking at everyone.”

Other recommendations include stabilizing staff; developing common proficiency assessments; funding student support staff; early intervention; and developing a curriculum that reflects all students.