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NU Public Schools report mixed results in meeting state requirements

NEW ULM — New Ulm Public Schools (NUPS) had mixed results meeting state requirements, according to a report given to the School Board Thursday.

The school board read a report based on Minnesota state statute requirements for the World’s Best Workforce (WBWF) and Achievement and Integration (AI) programs. Using data accumulated from the 2022-23 school year, Director of Learning Services Paul Henn said they met most of their goals, but fell short on two.

The goals not fully met were to ensure all children are ready for school and all third-graders can read at grade level. The first goal was very close, as 86% of children under age five participated in an Early Childhood Screening to ensure they were ready for school. The target they were shooting for was 90%.

The second goal was further off the mark and generated most of the discussion regarding the report. New Ulm Public Schools set a goal for there to be a 10% positive shift across all levels on a reading test given to third-graders. There was only a 2% positive shift.

Board member Jonathan Schiro noted this was well off of the mark. He asked Henn to explain the gap and what it meant for students.

“We’ve had some years when we were hitting that 10% mark,” he said. “When I went through this with Amanda [Groebner] last year I said ‘I think 10 is a really good number based on trends.’ But I also understood it was an aggressive number because we had had so many kids move over the last two years back into the buildings for full-time learning. [As such], we didn’t hit [the target].”

Groebner then voiced her confusion with the number, saying it sounded like only 2.2% of third-graders were proficient in total. Henn addressed the confusion and said it’s not as bad as it looks. As an example, he said a shift of 2.2% could mean 38% improved and 36% declined. A trend not represented by this number is most of the decline was from students going from exceeding to meeting expectations.

Groebner made the motion to approve Henn’s summary of the program results. Schiro provided the second, and the School Board unanimously approved the resolution.

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