Sure, Southwest Minneapolis has its fair share of great schools—there’s a reason property prices in the and schools keep ticking upwards. But did you know, according to the Minnesota Department of Education, we also have one of the absolute best in the state?
In rankings released last week, the department gave an 81.2 percent in its Multiple Measurement Ratings scale, and classified it as a "Reward" school, meaning it's among the top 15 percent of schools that teach significant numbers of low-income students. Those students, typically, are on the loosing end of the achievement gap; at Anthony, they make up over 35 percent of the student body
"There's no great secret at all," Principal Jackie Hanson told Patch. "It's really just old-fashioned hard work."
But press Hanson a little further, and it becomes clear that along with all the hard work she and Anthony's teachers may put in, the school is using several tools that the most successful gap-closing schools also use.
First, data. Hanson said, Anthony's teachers and administrators "pay attention to what works and doesn't work" as reflected in their students' performance. Students are also closely watched, to see how well they're absorbing each lesson.
The students, Hanson said, also benefit from clear expectations. They come to school "knowing what they need to learn in that unit, and how that will be measured," she said.
When a student doesn't pass the bar for a lesson, Hanson said, various support services, like retired teachers volunteering as tutors at the school, swoop in to help out.
"Our core mission," Hanson said, "is to make sure these children are ready for high school when they leave eighth grade."