Sumner state testing scores increasing since calendar switch

Published 5:59 am Monday, October 21, 2013

Sumner Elementary School has come a long way from 2010, when school officials were concerned the school would have to seriously restructure after its students failed to make overall Adequate Yearly Progress on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments for four years in a row.

The school, one of Austin’s most diverse and innovative, underwent a calendar shift to a year-round schedule and successfully increased test scores. Last year, Sumner did so well on the MCAs and the Multiple Measurement Ratings — Minnesota’s replacement for AYP, which was created in 2012 — that it was labeled a Celebration School by the Minnesota Department of Education for its efforts in January.

“We made pretty drastic changes,” Sumner Elementary School Principal Sheila Berger said in January.

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Sumner made the switch to a year-round calendar in 2011, partly as a response to flagging AYP scores and as an effort to bolster student progress in the classroom. The district saw an immediate change in Sumner students: Sumner made AYP and MMR goals across the board in 2012, effectively taking it off the list of concerning schools.

District officials also instituted math and reading intervention courses at elementary schools to help students who struggled, and shifted to a new English curriculum since then.

“We continue to try to improve and meet the needs of our ever-changing student populations,” Superintendent David Krenz said.

Sumner’s progress in 2012 caused the Minnesota Department of Education to identify the school as Celebration School-eligible, a new title under the MMR system that praises schools that make significant improvements in a given year. Sumner also made AYP this year, and was among the higher-scoring schools in the district in MMR ratings.

Sumner is in its third year of its year-round calendar, after which district officials are expected to review the calendar switch.