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Data released by the Minnesota Department of Education on April 23 showed that Osseo Area Schools is making progress in several areas used to measure improvement in high school graduation rates. Over the past seven years, our schools have made progress in closing graduation rate gaps among all racial/ethnic groups. Here is a summary of the preliminary findings.

Celebrations:

  • District four-year graduation rates increased very slightly from 84% in 2017 to 85% in 2018.
  • For each racial group, the district four-year and seven-year graduation rates are at or above statewide averages.
  • Four-year graduation rates for English Learners, students receiving free/reduced price meals, homeless students, male students and female students are at or above statewide averages.
  • Four-year dropout rates have been at or below state rates since 2012.

Areas for concern:

  • Students receiving special education services have lower four-year graduation rates than their peers statewide.
  • English Learners have lower seven-year graduation rates than their peers statewide.
  • District seven-year graduation rates decreased very slightly from 92% in 2017 to 91% in 2018.
  • The district’s seven-year dropout rate is slightly above the state’s, as it has typically been since 2012.

The district will continue to work to improve outcomes for every student group. Students receiving special education and English language services will receive particularly focused attention. 2019-2020 improvement plans will include school-level action to improve specific graduation rate outcomes at each high school.

Learn more about state and local graduation data. 

jennifer phillips and second-gradersWith 2018 Paralympic champion Andrew Kurka in their corner, students in Jennifer Phillips’ second grade class at Fair Oaks Elementary are learning what it means to persevere and achieve their goals.

For the second consecutive year, Phillips’ scholars are the only students in Minnesota to benefit from a partnership with Classroom Champions. Now in its 10th year, Classroom Champions connects world-class mentors with students in the United States and Canada to help children reach their goals. More than 25,000 students have benefited from the program in the past decade.

Kurka, who hails from Anchorage, Alaska, was a six-time Alaskan state wrestling champion before suffering a spinal cord injury at age 13. After two years of recovery, he began para-alpine skiing and debuted on the U.S. national team in 2010. Kurka competed at the Paralympic Winter Games in 2014 and 2018; in PyeongChang, South Korea last year, he won the gold medal in the men’s Downhill and the silver medal in the men’s Super-G.andrew kurka and students

“Andrew has so much positive energy that my students feed off from his monthly videos,” Phillips said. “He has impacted our classroom in a positive way and has taught my students many valuable life lessons. Andrew is the definition of perseverance and I often hear my students refer to him and his journey.”

Since their first meeting last fall, Kurka has worked with Phillips’ students to set goals, engage in learning about diversity, and help create a greater sense of community in the classroom. He checks in with the second-graders via monthly videos, a shared Google Drive, and by participating in two live video chats throughout the year where students update him on their progress in the classroom, ask questions and learn about his travels.

“We have recently been learning about what it means to have perseverance, how to take feedback and learn from it, and how to be a leader in and out of the classroom,” Phillips said. “The Olympic mentors [Kurka this year and Paralympic swimmer Sophia Herzog last year] have taught my students to dream big. With hard work and perseverance, anything is possible.”

Kurka, who is also a five-time world champion and one of the sport’s biggest stars, has been an important part of the students’ journey this year, Phillips noted.

“The skills students are gaining are life skills that they will take with them as they grow and move on,” she added. “Classroom Champions is setting the foundation and giving my students the tools to be successful members of our society.”