Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius visited school to congratulate students

“This day was a long time coming,” Superintendent John Cselovszki told students and staff gathered in the high school gym on Friday, Dec. 6 as they anxiously awaited the arrival of Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Commissioner Brenda Cassellius.

The school scored in the 97th percentile in MMR (Multiple Measurement Ratings), ranking them 18th among several thousand districts in the state and prompting a visit from Cassellius to share congratulations.

Cassellius told students the MDE, Governor Dayton and the legislature are proud of the efforts of District 84 and send their congratulations. She called the schools “Reward status” awesome.

“Teachers are really incredible. None of us would be anywhere without a teacher,” Cassellius said. “In Asia they call them ‘Nation Builders’ because they really do create the next generation of leaders in our communities.”

She went on to thank parents for supporting the schools and the community for supporting quality education.

"Test scores are not everything. Art, music, going outside to play and athletics are important too. We need to put an even bigger value on the whole child,” Cassellius added. “Educating the whole children enables them to become the mayors of our communities and serve our country and all of the other wonderful things children grow up to become.”

Cselovszki thanked teachers, staff and students for the hard work and dedication their have shown to achieve this status.

“We’ve come a long way in five years. I really appreciate all of your hard work,” he said. “Just because we are a Reward school today doesn’t mean that our work is finished. Now we have the work of maintaining our status.” 

Mayor Jim Broich, who was on hand to give a few remarks, said that being the 18th top school in Minnesota out of the nearly 2,000 districts in the state gives Sleepy Eye bragging rights.

“It shows the dedication of our teachers, staff and students,” he said. “Quality education is the doorway to the future and you are standing in the doorway right now. Keep up the good work in your school and your community.” 

Five years ago the district was identified by MDE as a school district that needed improvement. In other words, the districts needed to create a plan of improvement to increase test scores, reduce the achievement gap and increase performance. To do so the district realigned their curriculum in math, reading, language arts and science and basically started over.

Multiple Measures Rating looks at three areas of a district. The first area is proficiency or how students perform on MCA state tests. The second area that is measured is growth from one academic year to the next and the last piece of the puzzle is achievement gap reduction.

Sleepy Eye Elementary School scored 97.61 percent in the MMR rating system out of a score of 100.