Minnesota is launching a program to help students struggling to meet educational standards after a year of “education disruption” due to COVID. The program is called Collaborative Minnesota Partnerships to Advance Student Success (COMPASS) and will be providing students individualized support in struggle areas.

The press release from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) says the program will “accelerate learning by meeting students’ academic, social-emotional and mental health needs as Minnesota school communities continue to navigate the pandemic.”

Many of Minnesota’s testing standards including the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs), Minnesota Test of Academic Skills (MTAS), ACCESS for ELLs (English language learners) and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs reflected an overall drop in students’ abilities to meet educational standards.

Education Commissioner Dr. Heather Mueller said, “The statewide assessment results confirm what we already knew—that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our students’ learning and they need our help to recover. As we head into a new school year, MDE stands ready to partner with our educators, school leaders and staff as they work to accelerate learning and provide social-emotional and mental health support for our students.”

Assessments found that Minnesota students’ reading proficiency decreased by seven percentage points from 2019 to 2021, math proficiency was down eleven percentage points, and science was down eight percentage points.

The Minnesota Department of Education said certain groups did see lower levels of proficiency than others. These groups included “American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic/Latino, Black, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students, and English learners, students eligible for free or reduced-price meals, and students receiving special education services.”

The areas that the COMPASS program will be focusing on are “professional development on Minnesota’s Multi-tiered System of Supports; data analysis and data literacy training; and targeted support plans in the areas of literacy, math and social-emotional learning.”

Mueller said the state has been working on this program for a while in anticipation of students failing to meet the educational standards. She said, “We did not wait for the data to be available before we began working to create opportunities for students to catch up. Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan’s COVID-19 Recovery Budget laid a foundation for expanded summer programming and other critical academic and social-emotional support to help get students on track. This system of support will build on those efforts into the school year and beyond.”

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Hayley Tschetter is a reporter with The Minnesota Sun | Star News Network. Follow Hayley on Twitter or like her Facebook page. Send news tips to [email protected].
Photo “in the classroom” by Minnesota Department of Education.