An article titled “Measure Up” in the December issue of the American School Board Journal examined U.S. students’ performance data on international tests. While the article states the United States has made significant progress, comparing fairly well with other countries, we still lag behind the high-performing Asian countries with the exception of two states, Minnesota and Massachusetts. These two states perform as well as high-performing Asian countries even while serving more economically disadvantaged students than many of these countries. The article goes on to say that other states can look to Minnesota and Massachusetts to examine what they are doing right.
So how do Brainerd Public Schools measure up in this high-performing state? Even better! The latest performance data shows our students outperforming the state average by a considerable amount. The 2012 data from the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (from the Minnesota Department of Education’s website) shows that scores for students in Brainerd Public Schools are 9 percent higher in reading, 14 percent higher in math and 26 percent higher in science. These numbers become even more impressive when you consider that the percentage of disadvantaged students in Brainerd Public Schools is 17 percent higher than the state as a whole.
During a recent seminar I attended, the speaker mentioned that the happiest people and the people most liked by their peers are those who are grateful. While we are always striving to improve the quality of education in our district, let’s be grateful for the hard work that is happening in each of our school buildings and be proud of the excellent education Brainerd Public Schools provides our children. The next time you see a district staff member, I hope you will express your appreciation for the work he or she continues to do with our students to produce these impressive results.
Ruth Nelson is a member of Brainerd School District 181 board.