The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

February 27, 2013

Washington improves under new accountability system



Cassellius said the worst part of missing AYP by such a slight margin was knowing that the teachers were doing the right things and weren’t being recognized for growth.

“We knew we were doing the right work, we knew we were headed in the right direction, we knew we were closing the (achievement) gap,” Remmert said.

The new system has the opposite effect, Remmert said. Throughout the school, focus is put “kid by kid, skill by skill,” he said.

“You’re doing all the right things,” Cassellius said.

In a second-grade classroom, reading intervention teacher Connie Long was just sharing some great news with the class: 100 percent of them had hit their reading target for the first time.

“Do you know how you hit your goal?” Long asked the class.

“Because we’re good readers,” a boy said. “Because we’re reading,” a girl said.

Cassellius congratulated the class and asked what subjects they were interested in with kids shouting out art, music and reading.

“Do you kids know you can be anything you want to be when you get big like us adults?” she said.

 Remmert said he appreciates having a commissioner who understands that school is about more than just students passing standardized tests. It’s about “the whole culture, the whole child,” he said.

Cassellius said she is visiting schools such as Washington to gather feedback and learn where resources are needed, and to help “get those resources as close as they can to the kids.”

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