Delano High School ACT scores 10th best in state

DELANO, MN – The results are in, and Delano High School’s ACT scores ranked 10th in the state, beating the state and national averages.

DHS Principal Steve Heil shared the results with the school board Monday evening.

“From last year’s graduating class, our ACT average was 23.5, up from a 22.7 (in 2016),” Heil told the board. “To move almost a whole point, that’s a big deal. That’s a whole two points above the state average at 21.5. That’s 2.5 points above the national average.”

The two-point margin in 2017 was the largest lead for Delano in at least the past five years, and Heil called the accomplishment a big deal.

“There’s only 17 states that test all of their students, 100 percent. Minnesota is one of them,” Heil said, noting that Minnesota is first among states that test all students. “We know our school district ranks No. 10 in the state. When you put all that together, our students are going to do very well once they graduate high school and move on. That’s what that indicates.”

The ACT encompasses four subjects: English, mathematics, reading and science. Delano students scored highest in math, with an average score of 24.4 compared to 21.5 for the state.

In science, Delano students scored a 23.9 average, well above the state’s 21.6 mark. The district’s reading and English scores of 23.2 and 22, respectively, also exceeded the state’s scores of 21.8 and 20.4.

The ACT also measures college readiness, defining it as the number of students who score high enough in a given subject to indicate a 50-percent likelihood of earning at least a B in a corresponding college course, or a 75-percent chance of earning a C.

Overall, 43 percent of Delano students met the benchmark in all four ACT test areas, compared to 31 percent statewide and 27 percent nationally.

In individual categories, 80 percent of Delano students met the mark in English composition compared to 63 percent statewide, 71 percent of Delano students qualified in algebra compared to 48 percent statewide, 61 percent of local students qualified in social science compared to 50 percent statewide, and 59 percent of Delano students met the biology mark compared to 42 percent statewide.

Heil believes those numbers are a testament to the education students receive throughout their years at Delano Public Schools, not just in high school.

“That means that pre-K through 12th grade, we do an awesome job with our kids here in the district,” Heil said. “ . . . All these skills are taught preschool to 12th grade and we just build on them every year. The programming we offer, the curriculum we offer, all the extras we offer . . . we know that all combines to create really well rounded students and it’s going to show up places like the ACT scores.”

“We should be really proud,” Heil continued. “These are awesome scores and we’ll keep working with our students.”

Odds and ends

In other business, the board:

• approved the maximum proposed levy, which is set by the state. Not all categories of the current levy document are correct, and levying the maximum allows for updates to be made before the final levy certification during the Truth In Taxation meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 18, in the DHS media center.

• repealed Policy 411 regarding Voluntary Employees Benefit Association, which was specific to the voluntary high-deductible plan through the Minnesota Service Cooperatives and Blue Cross Blue Shield and does not apply to the plans offered through Public Employees Insurance Program. A new policy will be drafted in the future.

• approved a memorandum of understanding with Hennepin County related to foster care transportation. “If there’s a student in our district placed out of our district for foster care, we have the opportunity to engage with the county regarding transportation,” Superintendent Matt Schoen said.

• approved personnel matters, including lane increases for the following teachers who earned their master’s degree: Delano Elementary School kindergarten teacher Stacy Hegland, Delano Middle School social studies teacher Marjorie Miller, DES physical education teacher Derek Picha, and DES second-grade teacher Nathaniel Uselding.

• accepted more than $2,011 in donations from two entities.

• closed the meeting to discuss labor negotiations strategy.

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