The Big Job:As a Catholic school in today’s times, we know that it is not enough to be a “good school”.  We must be an “excellent school”!  This is what our staff and families continuously strive for our school to be.  We recognize that we must rise to the challenges of continuous changes in education and to prepare our students for a future that we cannot yet fully imagine or comprehend.  Because of this, it is imperative that we establish the highest standards in our educational program, while providing our students with the tools and knowledge to succeed.

A Caring Collaborative Staff:  The teachers at SHAS participate in professional learning communities (PLCs) on a regular basis, collaborating on the development of; curriculum, student enrichment, school improvements, individual student needs, and personal professional growth.  These classroom teachers, along with a nuturing support staff of; foster grandmothers, assistant preschool teacher,  paraprofessionals, aides, secretary, and maintenance technician, create a winning team for our students and their families.

Accredited:  Sacred Heart Area School is an accredited academic institution through the Minnesota Nonpublic Accrediting Association (MNSAA).   As members of MNSAA we are held to continuous school improvement.   Member schools are reviewed annually, as they are to be held to high standards in academics, qualified personnel, organization, and the maintaining of a safe environment.  Schools are reaccreditted in a 7 year cycle, which on the 6th year requires the completion of an extensive self-study to be completed.   On the 7th year they are required to create a school improvement plan, to be maintained throughout the next cycle, and host an on-site visitation team which performs an evaluation of the complete school.

Academic Standards:  In the spring of 2012, the SHAS Total Board of Education adopted the Minnesota State Academic Standards for language, math, science and social studies, which were implemented at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year.  We found the need to make this change from our former diocesan standards, as we saw the comparison of substance the math and science state standards had to offer.  With this change, starting in the spring of 2012, our 3-5 grade students have taken the MCA tests for reading and math, replacing the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS).  Their results showed that the majority of our students exceeded the standards for reading (language arts), while many of them struggled with mathematics.  Therefore, our main curriculum development focus has been the study of our math curriculum, which more than likely will be modified or supplemented to some degree to meet and/or exceed the demands of the newly adopted standards.

Measuring the Progress of Each Individual Student:  Starting in the 2012-2013 school year, students at Sacred Heart Area School have been taking the NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association online MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) test.  MAP assessments are designed to find where each student is at academically using a RIT score, and give data to teachers to help guide instruction to meet the needs of each individual student.  The MAP test is an adaptive assessment, which means the testing system adjusts the question to the appropriate level of each individual student based on previous responses.  The key factor to this test is that it is given 3 times a year (fall, winter, and spring), measuring the progress they make.  Therefore, instead of comparing students to each other, the MAP test compares individual accomplishments.