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by Trinity Gruenberg

trinity@inhnews.com

    The Verndale School was awarded with Marzano Research High Reliability School (HRS) level one certification for Safe and Collaborative Culture on March 12. Verndale was one of two schools in Minnesota to be the first in the state to receive the certification. 

    Phil Warrick of Marzano Research began working with the Verndale School on their level one certification for Safe and Collaborative Culture last January. The school was tasked in showing their proficiency in eight areas:

    The faculty and staff perceive the school environment as safe and orderly. Students, parents, and the community perceive the school environment as safe and orderly. Teachers have formal roles in the decision-making process regarding school initiatives. Teacher teams and collaborative groups regularly interact to address common issues regarding curriculum, assessment, instruction, and the achievement of all students. Teachers and staff have formal ways to provide input regarding the optimal functioning of the school. Students, parents, and the community have formal ways to provide input regarding the optimal functioning of the school. The success of the whole school, as well as individuals within the school, is appropriately acknowledged. The fiscal, operational, and technological resources of the school are managed in a way that directly supports teachers.

    “We had to find ways to show that we are proficient in those areas,” said Principal Arick Follingstad. 

    NJPA funded two schools for this program in Region 5: Verndale and Walker Hackensack Akeley. The Verndale School hired HRS Coach Matt Parker who serves this capacity one day a week.             “Mr. Parker has been a big help with our progress this year,” said Follingstad.

    By using indicators for the systems and processes they established, they were able to track progression and feedback in what they call “artifacts”.

    Warrick spoke with elementary students during lunch, high school students in the hallway and teachers to learn more about how they felt about the school’s progress and to see if the school was meeting the requirements

    Follingstad explained that they check with staff and students to see if they are doing what they are supposed to be doing.

    “It was really good to hear and see some of the things they have in place,” Warrick said in a video to staff. . .

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