A Minnetonka diploma is a symbol of academic and personal achievement of the highest order.
-Minnetonka School Board Vision
Our graduates are the beneficiaries of years of excellence in teaching, abundant opportunities to excel, thousands of dollars of community investment, and high levels of community pride and support. Graduation rates, ACT scores and collegiate doors of opportunity provide evidence for measuring our highly successful school system, from early childhood through 12th grade.
Over the past 15 years, with focused and intentional improvements to our academic program, Minnetonka students have excelled, leading to all-time high levels of achievement at every grade level. In fact, the Class of 2015 posted the school's highest average ACT score at 26.9, but our current elementary school students are on pace to do even better.
The ACT college entrance exam is an important measure of success because it plays an important role in a student's future. With a higher ACT, students improve their rates of admission to the colleges of their choice and may receive more scholarships and financial aid; it can also open doors to more opportunities. Studies have shown there is a greater economic benefit long-term the higher the ACT, but more importantly, students don't achieve a high ACT score if they haven't been exposed to a rigorous high school curriculum with high expectations for learning. So, as the District's ACT score has risen over the years, it is the result of a more challenging curriculum at Minnetonka High School with more opportunities for all students.
Among the opportunities that increase a student's chance of success are the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs, which allow students to challenge themselves with college-level coursework while still in high school. Research is clear: Students who take AP or IB coursework while in high school are more likely to complete their college degree– even if it is only one course. Among the MHS Class of 2015, 70% were enrolled in at least one AP or IB course during their senior year. Participation in AP and IB courses has grown significantly in recent years, as our elementary and middle schools better prepare students to reach a higher level in high school.
How is the average student doing in Minnetonka?
With exceptional teachers, a research-based curriculum, strong parent and community support, and high expectations for student achievement, average students in Minnetonka excel. By the end of elementary school, the average 5th grader is performing beyond the 11th grade level in reading and math compared to national norms. In middle school, the average student is above the 80th percentile nationally in reading and math. In high school, the average student enrolls in AP or IB courses at some point during their four years, and 84% of all MHS AP exams earn a three or higher. The average student at Minnetonka High School graduated last year with a 26.9 ACT and a 3.3 GPA.
The high level of academic achievement in Minnetonka begins with a strong foundation in reading and math at the elementary level. When students enter our schools in kindergarten, most are on par with their peers nationally. However, during their elementary school years, remarkable growth occurs. Most students gain more than a year's academic growth in a year's time. At the end of 1st grade, the average student is between a 2nd and 3rd grade level in reading and math. With another year-and-a-half growth in 3rd grade, most students reach the 5th grade level in math and reading. A significant academic "growth spurt" occurs in both 4th and 5th grade, when students accelerate three years each school year. So, by the end of elementary school, the average Minnetonka 5th grader is achieving at the 11th grade level in reading and math according to NWEA national norms.
Such a high level of achievement has not always been the norm in Minnetonka. When the Class of 2015 was in 5th grade, the average student was performing at the beginning of 8th grade compared to national norms. Still, the Class of 2015 posted the school's highest average ACT at 26.9. So it is easy to understand why we say, "the best is yet to come."