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Academic evolution: Verndale Public School earns level 2 certification in Marzano High Reliability Schools

Graduates walked the halls of Verndale Public School as a part of pregraduation celebration. Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal1 / 5
Mardi Ehrmantraut pointed out some of the finer points of HRS as a student that experienced it first hand. Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal2 / 5
Superintendent Paul Brownlow praised the increased safety efforts introduced via the HRS program. Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal3 / 5
Staff and faculty were ecstatic to learn the news of their school becoming Level two certified. Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal4 / 5
Students reflected on the success and changes of the last few years. Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal5 / 5

Verndale staff and students had much to be proud of this week, the end of the school year was just around the corner, graduation was quickly approaching, and the Verndale Public School officially earned level two certification in Marzano High Reliability Schools.

The HRS program was devised by Marzano Research to change the learning landscape of schools, one level at a time. The program operates on a five level system, complete with indicators that allow teachers to more closely monitor student success.

Staff have been implementing the research findings and principles of HRS into every facet of the Verndale Public School for almost three years. HRS has changed safety protocols, added new positions in the school district, and improved the student-teacher relationship. Superintendent Paul Brownlow praised the program as a great success, especially in the area of safety. Brownlow explained, how the school utilized information from HRS to modify fire drill procedures and student pick-up practices. The district has also hired a full time resource officer.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the recent changes at Verndale Public School stem from the dynamic changes happening in the classroom. The focus has shifted from just receiving a grade to really analyzing if students are retaining the knowledge they gain in class. Mardi Ehrmantraut, a senior, has seen the effects of HRS first hand. She stated that changes within the school has made connecting with teachers much easier. It has become a learning focused school rather than one focused entirely on grade point average.

Big changes have resulted in big success. Students filled the auditorium Friday, the last day of school, to reflect on how the modifications have enhanced learning. They also took this chance to honor the achievements of students and to recognize the leadership effort of their high school seniors.