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Column: Preparing students for World’s Best Workforce

By Dr. Katie Clarke, District 518

WORTHINGTON — The Worthington School District is among all districts in Minnesota working to equip students for the next generation of the “World’s Best Workforce.” A Minnesota statute passed in 2013 requires all school districts to develop and implement a plan that connects all aspects of the district’s work in one place. Schools will do this by developing a “World’s Best Workforce” plan. The plan intends to focus districts’ works and initiatives to better help students prepare for the workforce.

District 518 has several plans in place, of which some are required by the State of Minnesota, while others are a part of the district’s internal practice. Examples of additional plans include: Title, Read Well By Third Grade, Staff Development and a district improvement plan. The World’s Best Workforce legislation is a comprehensive review of the existing plans to ensure they are all working together and providing the best possible education for all students. A comprehensive implementation of all plans in tandem will equip students with necessary knowledge and skills to be productive World’s Best Workforce contributors upon graduation.

The World’s Best Workforce Plan includes five goals. Each year, the district must establish a goal in each of the five areas and report the results. School District 518’s goals and results are as follows:

Goal #1: The percentage of children who participate in the district preschool program will increase in kindergarten readiness from 75 percent to 85 percent as measured by scoring a 52 or higher on the local Kindergarten Entry Profile tool.

Goal #1 Results: There were 81 percent of (43/53) students who met the score of 52 or higher on the local Kindergarten Entry Profile tool.

Goal #2: By 2020, 60 percent of students in grade 3 at Prairie Elementary enrolled by Oct. 1 will be proficient on the Reading MCA (all accountability tests).  

Goal #2 Results: There were 45.8 percent of third-grade students who met or exceeded the Reading MCA accountability tests.  

Goal #3: The percentage of students in each student group will increase from the current proficiency rate to 60 percent, as measured by the MN Comprehensive Assessments in Math and Reading.

Goal #3 Results for All Students: Reading 48.3 percent; Math 38.4 percent.

Goal #4: The percentage of students at Worthington High School and Alternative Learning Center who are college and career ready will increase from 75 percent to 85 percent, as measured by having career goals in a written format, completing a career assessment, having 90 percent or higher attendance rate and meeting all graduation requirements.

Goal #4 Results: Attendance of 90 percent or better at the high school, 97.8 percent; ALC 74 percent. Met graduation requirements at the high school, 93.3 percent; ALC 44 percent. Completed a career assessment at the high school, 84 percent; ALC 85 percent. Have a written career goal at the high school, 61 percent, ALC 47 percent.

Goal #5: The 2015-2016 graduation rate for Worthington School District (High School and ALC) was 78.9 percent. The rate for all students will increase for the 2016-2017 report to 85 percent, as measured by the Minnesota Department of Education report card. (NOTE: 2017-2018 graduation data is not yet available.)

Goal #5 Results: 2017 Districtwide — four-year rate, 70.6 percent; five-year rate, 84.7 percent.

2017 High School — four-year rate, 85.3 percent; five-year rate, 92.9 percent. 2017 ALC — four-year rate, 35 percent; five-year rate, 60.5 percent.

Progress toward preparing students for the world’s best workforce is evident within all schools. Each school has a school improvement plan, which is focused on one or more of the five goals. The district continues to prioritize Professional Learning Communities, data analysis, planning and implementing appropriate interventions, and integrating technology in the classroom.  

Dr. Katie Clarke is District 518’s Director of Teaching and Learning.

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