Battle Lake School Strategic Plan Update

 

The Battle Lake School has much to be proud of as a district.  The efforts of our students and staff have produced several awards over the past couple of years.  Among these are the Star of Innovation Award in 2009 and 2010 given to districts implementing ground-breaking curricular programs.  We were the only K-12 district in Minnesota to be recognized with the School Spotlight Award from the Minnesota Academic Excellence Foundation in 2008 and one of only two K-12 districts to receive this distinction in 2009.  This past December, we also received news that we had been listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of ďAmericaís Best High Schools.Ē  In addition, we received a very generous grant from the Confucius Institute which allowed us to hire a teacher for Mandarin Chinese and continue to develop the Glendalough Academy focusing instruction on critical thinking, scientific reasoning, environmental education and stewardship.   

 

In our surrounding geographic area, we were one of only three schools that made AYP.  We worked very hard to attain this goal.  We knew ahead of time that our eighth grade students had barely met the math threshold from the previous year.  This was one of the primary reasons that we implemented Study Island in math; however, we also added a separate instructional component to the Study Island strategy.  Following the intervention, we were very pleased to find that 90% of our eighth grade students had medium to high growth in math last year compared to 75% state average.   This year, we expanded Study Island to both seventh and eighth grades and added reading. 

 

We increased our ACT Composite average score from a 20.1 to a 22.04.  Out of approximately twenty five juniors who took the ACT, we also had three students with ACT Composite scores of 32 or higher. 

 

Recognizing a need to improve our science MCA-II in 10th grade, we did increase our number of proficient students nearly 100%.  Our goal is to consistently rank in the top 20% of area schools.

 

2009 MCA-II Reading scores saw every tested grade above the state average.  Our 2009 MCA-II Math scores were above the state average in all grades except 8th and 11th where they were just below the state average.  Our 9th grade writing test was passed by 97% of our students, with three receiving the highest possible score. 

 

As a general rule of thumb, our test scores have been above the state average and fairly consistent.  Our general pattern tends to show consistency in grades routinely well above the state average and results trending upwards in classes where we havenít been as strong.

 

After several years of watching our daily attendance rate fall, we made a change in policy.  Although it was not well-received publicly at first, the policy enabled us to be fair and consistent in addressing attendance concerns.  In the span of only a couple of years, we have seen a decline in the number of school absences from 4114 in 2004-2005 to 3146 last year. 

 

 

One of the most important aspects of the strategic plan, vision, and changes that we are making is that we are making these commitments long term.  The vision for the school has given us direction, but it is also has fluidity to it enabling us to change and adapt as circumstances and the needs of our students dictate.  We have taken a thoughtful approach to change.  Large scale changes are planned over the course of a preceding school year as we assess our needs and the scope of the work necessary to ensure that the change holds a strong probability of being successful.  Although these changes require time, effort, and thought, we all benefit by being active participants in a dynamic educational model.