Barriers to Success

During the 2012-13 school year, the Minnetonka School District authorized a District Task Force to (1) identify the barriers that prevent academic success of students, (2) catalogue and evaluate the prevalence of these barriers, (3) analyze the effectiveness of current strategies to address barriers, and (4) recommend potential changes to current efforts. The final report included a detailed analysis by building/school and relevant demographics, which students were participating in each existing strategy, length of time participating, and the achievement gained—academic or behavioral. The final report identified which barriers are controllable or reasonably addressed within the system. These will be barriers that are created by the system, those for which solutions are potentially District oriented, or those reasonably addressed by the District based upon the benefits they would provide Minnetonka students.

In 2014, the School Board adopted the following goal: Design and implement school-specific strategies that address identified barriers to student academic achievement. Provide progress reporting against these strategies. Over the next several years major improvements were made to close the achievement gap and address the identified issues for students who have been identified with additional barriers to their learning.

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Once the District identified the Barriers to Success, updated processes were put in place to address them. Today, the District monitors student success in a number of ways and makes regular reports to the School Board. Student achievement and gaps within student populations are reported in the Worlds Best Workforce report, annually. In addition, student achievement data, which is disaggregated by a variety of student subgroups, is included in the NWEA and MCA reports annually. In addition, the assessment department provides data for each building in its school data profile. The profile contains multiple data points on all assessments, so principals and school leaders can track trends among student populations within their specific school sites and develop goals with their supervisor each year. Lastly, schools are provided Intervention spreadsheets populated with multiple data points by the assessment department and school interventionists, so they can keep track of students receiving intervention over the course of multiple years.

These ongoing systems were all created as a result of the Barriers to Success work, which helped the District to focus and be more targeted with measuring the items from the initial barriers to success work.