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Minnesota Administrators’ ESSA-Aligned Guide to Planning for the New School Year

Minnesota Administrators’ ESSA-Aligned Guide to Planning for the New School Year

With one year of ESSA implementation down, Minnesota educators are hard at work planning and making adjustments for the upcoming school year. This past school year offered valuable insights and clarifications regarding the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) North Star system, which relies on five indicators for achievement and accountability. To help with your planning process, we've assembled a curated list of our best resources aligned to those goals outlined by MDE, the North Star system, and Minnesota’s ESSA plan.

Boost Academic Standards (K–12) Mastery and MCA Achievement

Minnesota is placing significant emphasis on both academic achievement (proficiency) and academic progress (growth) to ensure students are developing the skills necessary to be prepared not only for the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs) and the next grade level, but for success beyond the classroom. Utilize the following guides to take a fresh approach to your instructional programs or streamline your current practices.

Formative Assessment Workbook

Frequent, standards-based formative assessments are a critical piece of effective data-driven instruction. Our formative assessment workbook provides a framework for implementing formative assessments throughout the lesson cycle. The planning forms and data-tracking worksheets can be used across multiple subjects and grade levels.

Blended Learning Workbook

Bring the best parts of online learning and traditional instruction together in a blended learning program. Blended learning programs come in many forms and enable scalable personalized learning. Use this workbook to get your district’s or school's blended learning program started.

NGSS Resources for Minnesota Science Educators

Minnesota demonstrates its commitment to science by being a lead state partner (along with 25 other states) for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Minnesota and the rest of the lead state partners have provided leadership to the NGSS standards writing team that developed the NGSS based on A Framework for K–12 Science Education. To support Minnesota science educators in the search for great NGSS information, we’ve compiled a helpful list of resources to explore. 

Address Achievement Gaps and Support English Language Learners and Special Education Students

How much growth are students demonstrating relative to academically similar students? With persistent disparities in achievement between subgroups of Minnesota students, MDE has placed significant emphasis on increasing equity and closing achievement gaps within the state ESSA plan. Long-term goals call for all student subgroups, including English language learners and students receiving special education services, to achieve proficiency in reading and mathematics at a rate of 85% by 2025—marked jumps from 2017 baseline rates of just above 30% for both subgroups and subjects. The following resources provide strategies for meeting the needs of special student populations.

Personalized Learning Workbook

Personalized learning allows educators to meet the varying needs of all learners, improving learning outcomes. This workbook takes the guesswork out of personalized learning by providing a step-by-step plan from development to implementation.

Special Populations Program Planning Worksheet

Use this worksheet to plan programs to address the needs of special populations of students.

ELL Blog Collection

This collection of blog posts addresses topics like back-to-school strategies to support ELLs, ways to prepare ELLs for high-stakes assessments, and more.

Special Education Blog Collection

This collection of blog posts addresses topics like dyslexia, ways to navigate IEP meetings, ADHD, and trends in special education.

Support Graduation Rates

Minnesota’s overall high school graduation rate continues to trend upward, with the class of 2017 posting the highest 4-year rate on record at 85.56%. However, ambitious long-term goals of achieving an overall 4-year graduation rate of 90% by 2020 mean ramping up efforts to help students who fall behind get back on track. Make sure that your school has a credit recovery program in place so that all students can see a path to graduation.

Bridge Programs for 8th Grade Transitions

More students fail 9th grade than any other grade level. A student’s chance of graduating high school on time decreases by 30% for every course that is failed. It is because of these very real statistics that many districts have created bridge programs. A bridge program is designed to help students successfully make the leap from middle to high school.

Credit Recovery Worksheet

Our credit recovery worksheet will show you how to set up a new program or enhance your current credit recovery offering.

Ensure College and Career Readiness

A Georgetown University report projects that, by 2020, 65% of all jobs will require some postsecondary education or training. Minnesota is ensuring students are prepared for post-secondary success—whether in the classroom or the workforce—with a robust career and technical education (CTE) program, including work-based learning (WBL) initiatives. The following resources will help support college and career success.

Minnesota CTE Programs of Study

In keeping with Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requirements that each student be provided with a well-rounded, postsecondary focused education, Minnesota has enacted a new program ensuring that all students have a Personalized Learning Plan by the 9th grade to ease the transition out of high school. Career and technical education (CTE) offerings are an important component of these plans, and the MDE is taking meaningful steps to make sure that schools and districts provide effective programming.

CTE Planning Workbook

During the 2015–16 school year, 92% of Minnesota career and technical education high school students graduated within four years, and 82% met performance goals for mathematics according to the U.S. Department of Education. It's clear that CTE programs improve outcomes for Minnesota students, which is why CTE remains a top MDE priority. Use our CTE workbook to plan a new program or as a guide to augment your current one.

Online Curriculum

Online curriculum can open up a world of college- and career-focused courses to students that their schools may not otherwise be able to offer, including Advanced Placement®, CTE, SAT®, ACT®, and even MCA/MTAS assessment preparation. Our online curriculum guide discusses several different ways that online curriculum can be used, and it even includes a worksheet to guide the process of identifying a provider that meets your needs.

Reduce Chronic Absenteeism

Chronic absenteeism negatively impacts student success in a palpable way. As a result, the MDE is using this metric as one of its school quality indicators required by ESSA. Check out the following resources for more helpful information and suggestions for improvement.

How Chronic Absenteeism Affects Student Achievement

This blog post looks at the impacts of chronic absence, and includes information on initiatives that aim to move the needle on this growing problem.

5 Ways Districts Are Fighting Chronic Absenteeism

In Minnesota, a student who misses 10 percent or more of the time they are enrolled is considered chronically absent. This blog post highlights some ways that educators can fight against chronic absenteeism and support students based on what is working for other schools and districts.

The Consequences of Suspension and What Schools Can Do Instead

When it comes to missing school, suspension is a big offender in hiking up the chronic absenteeism rate. As you consider how to keep students in the classroom, taking a hard look at suspension policies is an important step in the process of overcoming chronic absenteeism.

Looking for online programs to help your school or district improve outcomes for all students? Check out Edmentum's suite of K–12 evidence-based assessments and digital curriculum, and see why over 8,000 districts in the nation partner with us.

This blog post was originally published on May 1, 2018.