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New York Mills High School named a Reward School

New York Mills High School was recognized by the Minnesota Department of Education as a Reward School, meaning it was among the top 15 percent of highest performing Title 1 schools, according to the state's new Multiple Measurement Ratings system.

In data released in May, the high school earned an MMR proficiency rating of 80.4 percent.

Using data from the 2010-11 school year, the MMR results were based off of four different categories - proficiency, growth, progress in closing achievement gaps and graduation rate.

The new system replaces federal No Child Left Behind laws, which Minnesota received a waiver from in February. It is hoped to be a fairer way to measure progress.

"The Reward designation is nice for our entire K-12 staff, but it certainly can't end there," wrote high school Principal and District Testing Coordinator Blaine Novak in an email. "We need to continue our efforts of helping all our students succeed at every grade level. We also need to continue our focus on helping every student in our school system to be prepared for life as a productive citizen in our society."

Other school designations under the MMR system include Focus Schools (those with high achievement gaps and low graduation rates), and Priority Schools (the lowest performing schools).

Though the NY Mills High School's MMR results were well above 50 percent, NY Mills Elementary has room for improvement, as it came in at 38.59 percent.

"The biggest thing for NY Mills is that we used the data to guide our instruction to help us continually improve," Novak stated. "Our efforts have been focused on aligning our curriculum with the standards and being very deliberate about assessing what our students need to know and be able to do."