District honors four Southwest elementary schools

Four Southwest-area K-5 schools have been declared "Empowered Schools," recognizing broad-based student achievement.

The schools are:

– Kenwood, 2013 Penn Ave. S.

– Lyndale, 312 W. 34th St.

– Armatage, 2501 W. 56th St.

– Kenny, 5720 Emerson Ave. S.

A fifth honored program, Parkview Montessori, will be housed next year at Bryn Mawr Community School, 252 Upton Ave. S. after leaving leased space in Golden Valley.

The empowered designation springs from a mix of state, federal and local measures. Students must have met overall federal/state "No Child Left Behind" targets for math and reading test scores. Also, all student subgroups (based on ethnicity, poverty level, English-Language ability and Special Education) must have performed better.

Schools were also required to rate high on the district’s "Quality Performance Indicators. Unlike ‘No Child," QPS tracks how much individual students learn in a year. It also surveys school safety, staff-student respect, suspension rates, plus gifted and talented program quality.

Finally, the schools’ students must have had a 95 percent or better attendance rate.

This is the first year for the "Empowered Schools" designation. It is part of new Supt. Thandiwe Peebles’ efforts to highlight Minneapolis public schools that educate kids no matter their race, ethnicity or family income.