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Heart of the Lakes Elementary in Perham identified for support by Minnesota Department of Education

"These statewide assessment results reinforce what we already know — our students, families, school communities and educators need us to continue to meet this moment,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Heather Mueller.

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Heart of the Lakes Elementary of the Perham-Dent Public School District was identified by the Minnesota Department of Education to be in need of support.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus
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Editor's Note: This story has been updated to incorporate a news release from the Perham-Dent Public School District.

PERHAM — Today the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) announced it is expanding COMPASS (Collaborative Minnesota Partnerships to Advance Student Success), the state's support system for schools, to meet the demand for enhanced teaching and learning resources for students and staff.

Heart of the Lakes Elementary of the Perham-Dent Public School District has been identified for a comprehensive level of support by Minnesota's North Star accountability system . Schools identified will receive coordinated support and training from MDE and the Regional Centers of Excellence over the next three years.

The system found that the Hispanic student group at Heart of the Lakes performs similarly to the lowest 5% of Title I schools for two identification cycles. The school was identified in 2018-19 as well. Since that school year, HOTL adopted a new math curriculum aligned with the state standards. The school is currently in the beginning stages of analyzing, piloting and eventually adopting a new reading curriculum to align with state standards and will be implementing that new curriculum once approved.

The reasons for the identified support in Perham are as follows: 36.05% of students in this group were meeting or exceeding standards in math; 25.8% were meeting or exceeding standards in reading; 68.89% attended more than 90% of their enrolled days and there is a 6.04% difference in students maintaining enrollment between the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years compared to the percentage prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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"These statewide assessment results reinforce what we already know — our students, families, school communities and educators need us to continue to meet this moment,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Heather Mueller. “As education colleagues, MDE remains committed to providing support, through COMPASS, to every school in Minnesota as they strive to meet the academic, social-emotional and mental health needs of each and every one of their students.” 

COMPASS will serve 371 public schools — including Heart of the Lakes — along with 15 entire school districts that have been identified for varying levels of support through North Star.

Overall, the district was above the state average in math, reading, and science. The district was well above the state average in science.

“We are proud of the academic achievement of our students in Perham-Dent Public Schools,” Perham-Dent Superintendent Mitch Anderson said. “As a whole, we scored above the state proficiency average in all three test subject areas.”

Perham Public Schools tested at 46.8% proficiency in math, compared to the statewide average of 44.8%.

The district saw a jump above the statewide average of proficiency in reading as well. The school district tested at 56.7% proficient in reading, while the statewide average was 51.1%.

Perham Public Schools was well above the statewide proficiency average in science. The statewide average sat at 41.3%, while Perham Public Schools tested at 56.1%, 14.8% higher than the statewide average.

“Like we do every year after state assessment results are released, we now start to dig deeper into the data to target areas that need improvement, but also celebrate the areas we performed well in,” Anderson said. “Our science scores continue to amaze me every year. This year, our District exceeded the state proficiency average by 14.5%, highlighted by our eighth grade with a 53.7% proficiency compared to the state average of 28.6%.”

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For more information about the North Star system, go to education.mn.gov/MDE/dse/account/ . Statewide assessment and accountability results are available on the Minnesota Report Card and in MDE’s Data Center .

Perham High School

Perham High School made quite the jump in math for 2022. The school tested at 49.5%, up 12.4% from the previous year. Perham High School saw an increase of 1.5% in testing involving reading from the previous year. Perham High School tested at 65% in 2022.

However, the school saw a dip in testing in science in 2022 compared to the previous year. Science dropped from 58.8% in 2021 to 54.9% in 2022, which was still above the statewide average of 43.1%.

Prairie Wind Middle School

The Prairie Wind Middle School (PWMS) was above the statewide average in two of the three areas of testing for the 2021-22 season. PWMS was well above the statewide average proficiency in reading and science. Science hit 57.1% in 2022, which was 15.8% higher than the state average. Eighth grade science students tested 25.2% over the statewide average for eighth grade. Math students saw an increase of 0.7% from 2021, when they tested at 44.4% in 2022. However, that number sits just 0.4% below the statewide average.

Heart of the Lakes Elementary

Heart of the Lakes (HOTL) students tested 7.8% higher than the state average in math, which was the result of a new math curriculum installed three years ago. Overall, the school tested at 52.6%. The statewide average was 44.8%.

Students at HOTL were down 1.3% from the state average in reading for 2022. Students at the HOTL tested at 49.8%, while the statewide average was 51.1%.

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