COLD SPRING - Two elementary schools in the ROCORI school district have received high marks from the Minnesota Department of Education.

John Clark Elementary in Rockville and Richmond Elementary were recently given reward school status.

Reward schools are the top 15 percent in the state based on the Multiple Measurements Ratings, which focus on growth, achievement gap reduction and graudation rates.

ROCORI Superintendent Scott Staska says having smaller class sizes has helped both schools.

However, Staska says having just one teacher in each of the grade levels has been the largest factor.

The Minnesota Department of Education plans to share practices from reward schools in an effort to replicate the best practices across the state.

Staska says he gives a lot of credit to the teachers and staff at both schools for focusing on the core curriculum values and Minnesota learning standards.