Priority, Focus and Reward Schools

Using the results of the Multiple Measurements Rating (MMR) and Focus Rating (FR), Title I schools can fall into five groups.

Reward Schools: These schools are the top 15 percent of Title I schools based on the MMR. They represent the highest-performing schools on the four domains in the MMR. Currently, the reward for these schools mainly comes through public recognition. MDE plans to share practices from these schools with Priority and Focus schools in an effort to replicate best practices across the state. These schools are identified annually.

Celebration Eligible: These are the 25 percent of schools directly below the Reward school cutoff. These schools may apply to be Celebration schools, and MDE selects approximately 10 percent of Title I schools to receive the Celebration school recognition. Celebration Eligible schools are identified annually, and the application process to become a Celebration school occurs annually as well. 

Continuous Improvement: These are the bottom 25 percent of Title I schools that have not already been identified as Priority or Focus. Continuous Improvement schools must work with their districts to create and implement improvement plans as well as set aside 20 percent of Title I funds to support school improvement efforts. MDE audits 10 percent of Continuous Improvement schools to ensure fidelity. These schools are identified annually.

Focus: All Minnesota schools receive a Focus Rating (FR) that measures their contribution to the state’s achievement gap. The 10 percent of Title I schools with the lowest FR are identified as Focus Schools and must work with MDE and the Regional Centers of Excellence to implement interventions aimed at improving the performance of the school’s lowest-performing subgroups. Essentially, Focus schools are designated to attack the achievement gap head on. Focus schools are required to set aside 20 percent of Title I funds to support school improvement efforts. These schools are identified every three years.

Some Focus schools are identified for persistent low graduation rates. These are schools with a six-year graduation rate, averaged over three years, below 60 percent. This separate group of low graduation rate Focus schools will establish goals and develop improvement plans around increasing the percentage of students fulfilling graduation requirements.

Priority: These are the 5 percent most persistently low-performing Title I schools based on the MMR. Just less than half of these schools are identified through their participation in the School Improvement Grant (SIG) program. The remaining schools in this group are the Title I schools with the lowest MMR results. These schools must work with MDE and the Regional Centers of Excellence to implement turnaround plans to make drastic improvements for increased student achievement. Priority schools are required to set aside 20 percent of Title I funds to support turnaround efforts, and these schools are also identified every three years.

Click the Archive button at right to see last year's school lists.

  • 2014-2015 Schools Eligible for Support  - 10/1/14
    The schools on this list are eligible to receive additional assistance and resources through the Regional Centers of Excellence. The Regional Centers work alongside school teams to implement improvement plans focused on increasing student achievement and closing achievement gaps. These schools are eligible for support through the Regional Centers of Excellence for three years, starting in the 2014-2015 school year.
  • 2014-2015 Continuous Improvement School List  - 10/1/14
    The schools on this list work with their districts to create and implement improvement plans to raise student achievement and reduce achievement gaps. The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) audits 10 percent of these schools and provides additional resources and assistance as needed. Continuous Improvement schools are identified on an annual basis.
  • 2014-2015 Celebration Eligible School List  - 10/1/14
    The schools on this list are eligible to apply for the Celebration recognition. The application process takes place in the fall, and schools are selected based on their success in describing the initiatives that have led to positive student outcomes. Celebration Eligible schools are identified annually based on MMR results, and the Celebration school application process also occurs on a yearly basis.
  • 2014-2015 Reward School List  - 10/1/14
    The schools on this list are Minnesota’s highest performing Title I schools. These schools have demonstrated exceptional student outcomes and success in closing achievement gaps. Reward schools are recognized annually. In addition, some Reward schools have shown sustained success and have been recognized multiple years.