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North Star: Minnesota’s New System for Support, Recognition and Reporting

The new North Star accountability system was developed by the Minnesota Department of Education to align and meet requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the state’s World’s Best Workforce law (WBWF), which focuses on supporting districts in meeting locally determined goals.

The foundation of North Star’s process for identification is a stage-based approach to school accountability that uses multiple measures of evaluation, including:

  • Achievement on state reading and math tests
  • Progress over time on state reading and math tests
  • Progress toward English language proficiency for students learning English
  • Four- and seven-year graduation rates
  • Consistent attendance.

The new system reflects Minnesota’s commitment to equity and an accelerated sense of urgency in confronting disparities experienced by students who have been traditionally underserved, including students belonging to racial/ethnic student groups, English learners, students receiving special education services, and students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. Importantly, every public school in the state is accountable under North Star, unlike previous systems that limited accountability efforts to the approximately 50 percent of schools receiving federal Title I funding.

Using the results of the 2018 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, three sites have been identified for either comprehensive or targeted support under the North Star accountability system.

Comprehensive Support

Schools identified for comprehensive support receive ongoing onsite technical assistance from the Regional Centers of Excellence, coordinated with the school’s district. This support is customized based on the school’s context, student population, and specific needs.

Fridley Area Learning Center has been identified for Comprehensive Support for not meeting the state threshold for 4-year graduation rate for all students and for students eligible for free and reduced lunch. Fridley Public Schools’ leadership team has completed a three-year improvement plan with the goal of increasing the three-year average to 67% by 2020.

Fridley Moore Lake Area Learning Center Plan 2019 

Targeted Support

Schools identified for targeted support receive most of their support from their local school district. They also participate in specialized professional development and technical assistance provided by the Regional Centers of Excellence.

Stevenson Elementary has been identified for Targeted Support for not meeting the state threshold for reading achievement on the state reading tests for all students and for student in special education. The improvement team has created a three-year improvement plan with the goal of increasing the three-year average for reading achievement for all students on the MCA to 46.4% by 2020.

Stevenson Elementary Plan 2019

Priority Support and Recognition

Schools identified for priority support have not met the threshold for at least one academic indicator, but met or exceeded all other targets. These schools are not required to complete an improvement plan, but are invited to professional development opportunities provided by the Regional Centers of Excellence.

Hayes Elementary did not meet the state threshold for all students in reading proficiency on the state reading tests. However, the school has been recognized for the success in the math progress of students receiving special education services.

For more information regarding North Star accountability, please visit the MDE School and District Accountability website.


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