Focused Instruction

Raising Achievement
Focused Instruction is one of the Minneapolis Public Schools' key strategies for raising the achievement of all students, closing the achievement gap and preparing students for college and careers. It is a strategy rooted in the belief that all children can succeed in school and that their ability to do so does not depend on race or socioeconomic status.

Put simply, Focused Instruction is about making sure that learning expectations are consistent and high across MPS. It also helps ensure that teachers have the materials, training and time they need to provide all children with rigorous learning opportunities.

To support Focused Instruction, MPS is writing new curriculum guides and unit assessments, improving our analysis of student data, transforming our teacher training and identifying proven strategies to support students who struggle academically and behaviorally.

Learning Targets
Learning targets are the foundation of Focused Instruction. They are the knowledge and skills students are expected to master by the end of a given unit or course, and they are based on state and national standards. Learning targets appear throughout a student’s lessons and form the criteria that will be used in his/her assessments.

Focused Instruction puts learning targets front and center by establishing common targets across all schools. This helps ensure that we hold students at all schools to the same high standards. It also means that if you move, your child will not see disruption in coursework.

One of a teacher’s greatest challenges is adapting instruction to meet individual student needs. Since not all students come into a class at the same place in their learning, we know it is necessary to differentiate, or tailor instruction uniquely, for every student. Focused Instruction curriculum guides help support teachers in differentiating for students according to their levels of readiness, interests and learning styles.

For more information about Focused Instruction, visit:

Benchmark Assessments

What are Benchmark Assessments ans why do we use them?