Innovation Research Zone

Logo: Minnesota Department of Education Innovation Research Zone District

Bloomington Public Schools is one of four Minnesota school districts approved as an Innovation Research Zone district by the Minnesota Department of Education.

The approval allows BPS to put into practice innovations to address persistent challenges and improve outcomes for all students as we reduce or eliminate disparities in outcomes for low-income students, English learners and students eligible for special education services.

The innovation work focuses on...

  • creating an integrated “E-5” educational system that unites Early Learning Services with the district’s traditional K-5 academics;
  • identifying “beat the odds” teachers and instructional strategies, and using this information to personalize learning more effectively for English learners; and
  • creating alternative pathways to graduation that provide more flexibility for students to earn credits and meet state testing and graduation requirements.

In addition to addressing disparities and improving outcomes for English learners, the innovations will help us prepare students to...

  • enter kindergarten fully prepared;
  • read fluently by third grade; and
  • graduate from high school prepared for college and career.
Innovation Zone Components

Bloomington Career and College Academy (BCCA), a unique, innovative Bloomington Public Schools program giving students the opportunity to explore or begin a career path while in high school. Students learn from college instructors, earning college credit and high school STEM or elective credit. Students will graduate ready to continue their education and training, or begin a career. Open enrollment is available for students who do not live in Bloomington.

Learn more about BCCA

The Career & College Centers at both high schools serve as the hub for career and college resources and Personal Growth Plan activities.

College Resources 

  • ACT and SAT preparation
  • Scholarship information
  • College visits
  • College application assistance
  • Financial aid support
  • Parent and community outreach

Personal Growth Plan Oversight

  • PGP professional development for building staff, students and families
  • Coordination with guidance counselors and advisors to support PGP implementation
  • Development of PGP curriculum and communications
  • Support for students have an active and evolving PGP

Career Pathways

  • Opportunities for career awareness, exploration and experiential learning, including career speaker events
  • District career pathways program planning
  • Mentorship and internship opportunities in the community
  • BPS and community opportunities to increase career readiness

The secondary counseling team participated in a standards review process facilitated by Dr. Marguerite Ohrtman from the University of Minnesota Department of Educational Psychology.  

Dr. Ohrtman will continue to provide assistance as we implement this work.

The Education Foundation of Bloomington helps meet the educational needs of students of Bloomington Public Schools. EFB supports our students and staff through programs like Children's Food for Thought, Student Success Stipends, Innovation Grants and more.

Learn more about EFB

Bloomington Public Schools is developing a Graduate Longitudinal Data System (GLDS), which will match student data from pre-kindergarten through postsecondary education and possibly into the workforce. The primary source of data will be our student database and the Minnesota Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System (SLEDS).

This data system will provide information that will help continuously improve our career and college pathways.

Kennedy and Jefferson Class of 2008 SLEDS

NWEA MAP scores have a developmental scale and high predictive accuracy across several grades. For example, grade 1 reading predicts reading well in grade 3; grade 3 reading predicts 5th grade reading; grade 5 predicts 7th grade reading and grade 7 predicts 9th grade reading.

These scores are not deterministic. Many students who are predicted to score poorly in 3rd grade but who receive appropriate intervention meet the milestone for reading well in grade 3. Beginning in middle school, students and parents may use the pathway graphs to begin exploring post-secondary choices. For example, students who would like to enroll in a 4-year college but score consistently below the green line may wish to discuss reading strategies with English and reading teachers in their schools.

Test scores are not the best predictors of college enrollment and completion. Grade point average (GPA) is a better predictor. In combination, ACT and GPA can provide reliable estimates of post-secondary enrollment and success.

Personal Growth Plans (PGPs) help students and parents track progress and goals through the school years and prepare for postsecondary plans.

Learn more about PGPs

Bloomington Public Schools is one of 15 school districts in the country to be funded for an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) collaboration grant. Partnering with the Search Institute(link) BPS will explore the impact of positive student-teacher relationships and everyday student-teacher interactions on student motivation and perseverance leading to improving student academic outcomes.

The research study builds on an ongoing collaboration with the Search Institute focused on understanding and improving social and emotional factors in student development. This study is investigating how students and teachers in a middle school and high school experience their relationships and how these relationships contribute to student motivation and achievement. A particular focus is on how findings differ for students from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Key activities include the following:

  • Student surveys linked to school academic and disciplinary records
  • Surveys of teachers about their relational practices
  • Focus groups with students
  • Interviews with teachers identified by students as being particularly effective in building relationships

The study took place over the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years with the goal of increasing student achievement while simultaneously attempting to reduce inequities in academic and nonacademic indicators of success. BPS will use the findings from the study to develop new low-cost tools and strategies for instructional improvement.

The Special Education Information System (SEIS) will provide access to special education data in one streamlined system to improve services for our special education students, streamline the paperwork process for staff and provide information on special education planning, programming and decision-making.

The SEIS will bring together the following information for staff members and families: student evaluations and plans, weekly schedule, progress monitoring and reporting, and timelines.

Bloomington Public Schools uses Minnesota’s Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System (SLEDS) to help achieve our mission to prepare students to thrive in our rapidly changing world. We study SLEDS data to see beyond our students’ graduation from high school and learn how they are doing. Through this study, we can improve our programming and support systems to better prepare students for life after high school. SLEDS data is also used to improve our students' Personal Growth Plans.

Learn more about SLEDS