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. Download the list of 2013-2014 Celebration Selected Schools below.

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. Learn more about the support for Focus schools on the Statewide System of Support page.

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. Learn more about the support for Priority schools on the Statewide System of Support page.