Award of Distinction

Elementary RTI Program
Luverne Public Schools

The purpose of the Elementary RTI Program at Luverne Elementary School is to provide students with reading skills assistance to help them read at expected levels determined by established norms. The fluidity of the program allows us to serve a larger number of students. It also assures us that students only receive interventions that are needed.

The program identifies, through screenings, the bottom 20% of readers in kindergarten through fifth grade. Students identified are placed in “Power Hour” groups. These groups work on appropriate interventions in the areas of phonemic awareness, phonics, reading fluency and/or comprehension skills. Once the groups are established, students meet four times each week for 25 minutes to work on invention skills.

Students in the Power Hour groups are given benchmark assessments each week to track their progress. Once a student meets the benchmark standard for three consecutive weeks, they are moved to a different group or are dismissed from the Power Hour groups. These continuous assessments allow our groups to be flexible and to move students in and out of groups according to their needs.

Through our weekly monitoring, we have found that students have been able to make significant improvements in their reading. The additional support the students receive enable them to perform better in the classroom and on achievement tests. More importantly, the students develop a love of reading that will last a lifetime.

Profile of Excellence – Honorable Mention Award
After School Academy
Westbrook Walnut Grove Schools
submitted by Paul Olson

The purpose of Westbrook Walnut Grove After- School Academy is to build the confidence and skills necessary in each individual student in our building so they can meet or exceed the MCA Math and Reading tests.

We continually try to squeeze more into an eight-hour day because of the ever-looming presence of the MN MCA State Tests. We need to continually improve our best teaching practices and standards and rewrite the curriculum, as test items are continually being moved to a lower grade to be mastered. With that in mind, WWG looked to do more drill and practice after school for students in our Title I and Title III (ELL) programs. We brought both programs together in what we named our After-School Academy. We meet Tuesday and Thursday each week from 3:30-5:30 p.m.

We divided our 1st-6th grade students into 1st-3rd graders and 4th-6th graders. We then ability grouped the students depending on MCA Math and Reading test scores. We have six wonderful staff members who have dedicated themselves to helping student reach higher test scores. Without these 6 individuals our program would not be as far as it is in the first year.

WWG students are benefiting in the fact that they are getting four extra hours of math and reading each week that they may not be getting at home, and in the fact that their After School Academy teacher is also their regular education teacher.

Profile of Excellence – Honorable Mention Award
In Stitches
SW/WC Service Cooperative
Submitted by Teresa Ostlie and Terri Collins

The Heartland Ranch School works in cooperation with the SW/WC Service Cooperative and the Benson Public Schools to provide education for the residents of the Heartland Girls Ranch, a private non-profit group home licensed by the Department of Corrections. The majority of the students that attend the Heartland Ranch School have been court ordered to complete the program before returning to their homes, find foster care or possibly be adopted. One of the classes that is taught in our school is a Work-based Learning class.

The Work-based Learning class helps to meet the needs of the girls that struggle with the skills to fill out a job application, not to mention the skills necessary to find and keep a job. Many of our students are unable to obtain a job in the community due to their previous court violations. It was important, however, to not only have the girls learn the necessary working skills, but also to be able to put those skills into practice. In 2008 we started an Embroidery Business- In Stitches.

Students enjoy being able to earn the opportunity to work after school and earn money. We have seen great improvement with their school attitudes when we tie their behaviors with the ability to work for the In Stitches business. We have also seen an increase on some of their grades and an increased desire to do well. Some of our students have been able to secure jobs when they left the school using their In Stitches experiences as a resume starter. Girls have used staff as references after they leave the Heartland Girls Ranch, and they have found jobs because of the work ethic they gained while working at In Stitches.