Braham ranks in top third of schools in state

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) released the new school rankings for 2012.

Braham Area Secondary School received 60.1 percent for its Multiple Measurement Rating (MMR), up from 35.02 percent in 2011.

“We did very well,” High School Principal Justin Sawyer said during the School Board meeting Sept. 17. “If you take every school in the state—elementary, high school and middle school—and put them together, we were ranked 750 out of 2,251, so that puts us in the top third.”

Implemented throughout Minnesota this year, the new MMR accountability system was made possible through the state’s No Child Left Behind waiver.

The goal of the new measurement system is to improve the disparity in academic performance between students of color and in poverty and their white counterparts, often called the “achievement gap,” according the a MDE press release.

The new accountability structure takes into account school performance in four categories; BAHS’s rating of 60.1 reflects a score from 0 to 100 based on student proficiency on standardized tests, the amount of individual progress students made on tests, progress in closing the achievement gap and graduation rate.

Out of 25 points possible in each category, BAHS received 24.96 for its graduation rate, 14.15 for its achievement gap reduction, 14.55 for student growth and 6.44 for proficiency, for a total of 60.1 points.

“That’s a great accomplishment for our students and for our staff,” Sawyer said. “It really shows the hard work over the last couple years has been paying off.”

Final year of School Improvement Grant begins

The 2012-2013 school year is the third and final year Braham Area High School will receive funding from the School Improvement Grant (SIG).

The emphasis this year will be on parent engagement and sustainability of SIG programs at the high school, explained Office of Turnaround School Officer Mike Thompson.

Several events will be held throughout the year to assist parents and students with post-secondary education planning, financial assistance for college and college readiness.

Administration and staff will work on sustaining SIG programs after the grant ends in 2013. Programs such as the professional Learning Communities (PLCs) for teachers will continue after the grant ends.

Bomber PRIDE program under review

Elementary School Principal Jeff Eklund presented the school board with a kindergarten through sixth grade behavior expectation form.

Bomber PRIDE will stand for:
Positive Attitude

K-6 staff are in the process of reviewing the table, which has behavior expectations for the five characteristics in classrooms, bathrooms, playground, hallways, cafeteria, bus and school gatherings.

For instance, under “positive attitude” and “classrooms,” the chart states, “Keep trying when things are difficult to understand.” Under “integrity” and “playground,” it says, “Play fair and have good sportsmanship.” And under “discipline” and “bus,” the chart states, “Stay seated, use appropriate voice level and language.”

Bomber PRIDE should be implemented by the end of September or beginning of October, Eklund said, with the possibility of expanding it to include seventh through 12th graders as well. Their plan is to present it in each class, going over small sections of it at a time.

“I think it’s going to be really good for our kids to see what it means to be a Bomber and show Bomber pride,” Eklund said.

High School Assistant Principal Judy Adams said she’s working with Student Council to develop a Bomber PRIDE program, which could feature different monthly activities for each letter.

One possibility, she said, might be giving a reward—such as a $5 Subway gift card—to a student seen wearing his or her seat belt in the parking lot as part of a “positive attitude” activity.

Student Council members are in the planning stages now and hope to start the program in October.

New school board member sworn in

Dan Klemz (left) is sworn in as a new school board member, filling the vacant seat of Tammy Ceaglske, who resigned in May.
Dan Klemz (left) is sworn in as a new school board member, filling the vacant seat of Tammy Ceaglske, who resigned in May. Photo by Elizabeth Sias

Dan Klemz, who previously served two terms ending in December 2011, was sworn in as a new school board member during the Sept. 17 meeting.

Klemz will fill the vacant seat of former board member Tammy Ceaglske, who resigned in May because she and her family moved out of state.

Community Halloween Party returns

The Community Halloween Party is back for its 20th year after several years of not being held, Community Education Director Cheryl Arnold said.

The 20th Annual Community Halloween Party will be held at Braham Area Elementary School on Wednesday, Oct. 31, from 5 to 7 p.m.

The district invites the community to come out for a night of carnival games, trick-or-treating, door prizes and more.

To volunteer, call the Community Ed office at 320-396-5219 for more information.

In other action, the board:

• Authorized the district to levy the maximum allowable for the proposed property tax levy for 2012 payable 2013. The district’s levy must be certified by the school board and submitted to the county auditor by Sept. 30. The final levy amount will be set during the school district’s Truth In Taxation meeting, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17.