Plymouth Elementary School Recognized For Closing Achievement Gap
Wayzata’s Sunset Hill Elementary School earned national recognition for narrowing its achievement gap among student groups.
The school serves about 680 students. It’s among one of the most racially and economically diverse schools in the Wayzata School District.
Due to various factors, student groups are under performing academically. However, over the years, that achievement gap has narrowed.
“We take a lot of time looking at maps and looking at data. If students are behind or not quite at the level we want them to be, we’ll work on specific intervention plans to help them,” explained Sunset Hill Elementary Principal Ross Williams.
In 2017, about 22 African-American students at the school did not meet or partially meet the state math standard. However, in 2019, that number reduced to 15.
For students with free and reduced meals in 2017, 44 did not meet or partially met the state reading standard. Last year, that number reduced to 33. Williams said it’s important to close the gap early on to prevent more challenges.
“The longer it takes for us to get students to get on track academically, the gap will only grow as the level of content and experiences that students have in school get more and more challenging,” said Williams.
“It certainly came at a time when we think about our current teaching environment to feel like the work we’re doing is being noticed,” said Williams.
He reminds others that numbers and data don’t show all the great work being done. He said growth over time is more important than proficiency.