Sumner Elementary fourth-graders work on math problem during class Friday morning. The school was recently named a Celebration School.

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Minnesota celebrates Sumner

Published 4:41pm Saturday, January 26, 2013


Sumner Elementary School’s ambition for improvement has drawn some attention from the state.

Sumner Elementary fourth-grade teacher Brad Dahnert helps students during a game of math Jeopardy Friday morning. The school was recently recognized as being a Celebration School.

The school announced Thursday the Minnesota Department of Education has selected it as a Celebration School. This distinction reflects the gains Sumner has made and the efforts directed toward improving outcomes for students.

“It’s awarded based on our growth of children achieving proficient ratings on the statewide tests last year,” said Sheila Berger, Sumner principal.

Among the factors taken into account are the size of the achievement gap between white and non-white students and the students receiving free or reduced lunch, compared to the statewide average.

“It’s very, very complicated,” Berger said.

Minnesota Education Commissioner Dr. Brenda Cassellius congratulated and applauded the dedicated staff and their devotion to ensuring success for all students, noting the focus and commitment it takes to put systems and strategies in place that yield the kind of results Sumner has shown.

The Celebration School merit comes along with Minnesota’s new Multiple Measurement Rating System, designed to replace expiring federal No Child Left Behind Guidelines, which will end in 2014.

Previously, the state would focus on schools that were having issues rather than the ones that were making strides, Berger said.

“We were on the ‘issues’ list,” she said. “We made pretty drastic changes.”

Those changes included everything from a new school calendar to reworked teaching styles and curriculums.

“This was Minnesota’s plan for how to recognize schools that were doing well,” she said. “I’m very proud of my staff and students.”

More than 200 schools were eligible to apply for Celebration status this year, and 100 of those applied. Only 10 received the recognition and award.


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