Tested and proven: Valley Crossing gets high marksValley Crossing was designated a “Reward School” based on the state’s new Multiple Measurement Ratings.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Even though school just started last week, Valley Crossing Community School has already added an accolade to its belt for the year.
Valley Crossing was designated a “Reward School” based on the state’s new Multiple Measurement Ratings.
The Multiple Measurement Rating considers four areas including student growth, proficiency scores (Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment state tests), efforts at closing the achievement gap between white students and minority students, and graduation rates.
There are 25 possible points for each category with a total of 75 points available to elementary schools and 100 for high schools because elementary schools don't have graduation rates.
A “Reward School” is determined as a school that is ranked in the top 15 percent across the state.
Valley Crossing received a score of 94.7 percent.
“This is showing growth in students,” Valley Crossing Principal Julie Hartmann said. “The school has demonstrated strong test scores, it has also demonstrated that there has been an increase in student achievement progress and there is also this narrowing of the achievement gap between minority students.
“It was quite an honor.”
Valley Crossing and Webster Elementary, in St. Paul, are the only two schools in Woodbury’s school districts – District 833, District 834 and District 622 – to earn “Reward School” status, Hartmann said.
“It was very rewarding,” she said. “It’s just a recognition of what the staff has done in ensuring student growth and achievement – it’s kudos to this staff and what they’ve been doing to help kids grow.”
Hartmann said Valley Crossing’s success can be attributed to a number of factors including continuing to track student progress, individualized attention and student interventions.
“We’re watching to make sure students are making progress and providing the appropriate interventions,” she said.
However, Hartmann said she believes Valley Crossing‘s “responsive classroom” model to be the biggest contributing factor.
The responsive classroom concept is a research-backed approach to elementary education that increases academic achievement, decreases problem behaviors, improves social skills, and leads to more high-quality instruction.
“We meet students where they’re at and move them forward,” said Connha Classon, educational coordinator at Valley Crossing. “It keeps children engaged.”
Cindy Fjelsta, another education coordinator at Valley Crossing, said she also attributes student achievement to the classroom environment.
“We work really hard to build community within our classrooms and foster feelings of feeling safe and that gets a nice framework for learning,” she said.
Classon said being named a “Reward School” is a great honor.
“It’s an exciting spot to be in,” she said.
Classon and Fjelsta said they are optimistic in Valley Crossing’s ability to maintain its “Reward School” status – as long as they continue to look at school data and look for areas to improve.
“We’re constantly looking at what we can do to make ourselves better schoolwide,” she said. “Everyone kind of buys into that philosophy.”
Hartmann said the key to continuing Valley Crossing’s student achievement is to constantly evaluate – and she is confident the school can do it.
“We just need to continue that process and look at which areas we can improve,” she said.
“There’s always room for growth, so we’ll just have to identify where it is that we can grow and continue the strengths where they are.”