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'U.S. News' report ranks Detroit Lakes' Roosevelt Elementary among top 30% in state

Detroit Lakes' own Roosevelt Elementary has been named one of the best public elementary schools in the state of Minnesota, according to a recently published report in the national news magazine, U.S. News & World Report. The magazine has published its first-ever rankings on public elementary schools across the nation, and ranked Roosevelt Elementary among Minnesota's top 30%.

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Roosevelt Elementary School students were out enjoying the sunny weather over noon recess on Thursday, Nov. 4. The Detroit Lakes school was recently recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top public elementary schools in Minnesota. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)

When U.S. News and World Report recently published its first-ever rankings of public elementary schools, Detroit Lakes' Roosevelt Elementary was among the top 30% in the state of Minnesota.

"We're thrilled," said Roosevelt Principal Trisha Mariotti of her staff's reaction to the news. It comes just a couple of months after Roosevelt was recognized as a 2021 School of Excellence by the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association. Roosevelt was one of only three schools in the state to receive that honor.

  • Related: Roosevelt Elementary recognized as Minnesota School of Excellence The recognition was announced by the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association in a Sept. 1 press release. Roosevelt is one of only three schools in the state to receive the honor.

To commemorate the honor, the school received a badge from U.S. News that they can display both on their website and inside the physical building, she added.

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Detroit Lakes' Roosevelt Elementary School has earned the right to use this badge from U.S. News & World Report, after the school was ranked among the top 30% of all schools in Minnesota by the magazine. (Submitted graphic)

"I would say it’s something that we can be proud of," Mariotti continued, noting that Roosevelt's overall performance is based on "a concerted effort from literally everybody that works here, because it (the report) looks at so many different factors."

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Specifically, the U.S. News & World Report ranking is based on Roosevelt's "performance on state-required tests, graduation, and how well they prepare their students for high school," according to information available on the magazine's website, usnews.com . The report also includes information on the school's student-teacher ratio, diversity of student population, and the performance of other schools in the district, both individually and collectively.

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U.S. News & World Report has released its first-ever rankings of public elementary schools across the United States last week, and Detroit Lakes' Roosevelt Elementary ranked among the top 30% of all elementary schools in Minnesota. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)

According to the report, Roosevelt Elementary ranked No. 237 out of 871 elementary schools in Minnesota, with 69% of students scoring at or above the proficient level for math, and 57% scoring at or above that level for reading.

District-wide, 60% of students tested at or above the proficient level for both reading and math. Among the schools included in the report, Roosevelt's proficiency rates in math and reading ranked No. 250 and 460, respectively.

Mariotti did note, however, that the rankings were based on 2019 statistics — the most recent that the magazine had available when it compiled the report. At that time, Roosevelt was a K-4 school, with fifth graders attending classes at the adjacent Detroit Lakes Middle School due to lack of classroom space. This lack of space was addressed as part of the district-wide renovations completed in a $60 million building project that encompassed all four of Detroit Lakes' K-12 educational facilities.

"Our 5th grade came back to us in 2021, when our additions and renovations were finished," Mariotti said.

"We're thrilled to have them back here," she added, noting that with this change, "our middle school is a true middle school again (i.e., grades 6-8 only)."

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Roosevelt's current K-5 enrollment stands at "right around 600 students," Mariotti said, with a full and part-time staff of 124 to support them.

She added that they plan to include the U.S. News & World Report recognition as part of an official Minnesota School of Excellence celebration that is set to take place in the spring.

To be endorsed as a Minnesota School of Excellence, a school must partake in the Minnesota School of Excellence Program , a school improvement process that focuses on six standards related to leadership, vision, student learning, the culture of adult learning, data and decision-making, and community engagement. Participating schools must conduct self-studies and develop and implement a results-driven school improvement plan.

Their status as a School of Excellence will continue through the 2028-29 school year, Mariotti said, as it lasts for seven years. Both Rossman Elementary School here in Detroit Lakes and Lake Park-Audubon Elementary School in Audubon have achieved this status in previous years.

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