The second round of school report cards are in, and one area district “meets few expectations” established for the report cards.
The Manawa School District received an accountability rating of 60.5 for the 2012-13 school year. Both the Manawa Elementary School and the Little Wolf Jr/Sr High School received ratings under 60.
The preliminary report cards for Wisconsin’s public schools and districts were made public by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction in September.
The report cards for schools and districts provide an accountability score on a scale of zero to 100.
Those score ranges place schools and districts in one of five categories: significantly exceeds expectations (83-100), exceeds expectations (73-82.9), meets expectations (63-72.9), meets few expectations (53-62.9) and fails to meet expectations (0-52.9).
This is the first year for district report cards and the second year for school report cards.
Districts and schools are evaluated on four priority areas.
Those areas are student achievement in reading and mathematics on statewide assessments; student growth in those assessed areas; closing gaps for reading and mathematics achievement and graduation, based on student subgroups; and postsecondary readiness, which uses several measures as predictors of college and career readiness.
Based on feedback from the 2011-12 school report cards, the DPI made adjustments to calculations for several indicators.
That means this year’s school-level report cards are not directly comparable to those issued last year.
Changes in accountability scores and movement between accountability ratings between the years may be due to changes in student performance or may be due to changes in how scores were calculated.
In the New London School District, one of its schools exceeded expectations for the 2012-13 school year, while the other five schools met expectations.
The overall accountability ratings were:
67.6 (meets expectations) for Lincoln Elementary School.
69.1 (meets expectations) for Parkview Elementary School.
78.9 (exceeds expectations) for Readfield Elementary School.
69.7 (meets expectations) for Sugar Bush Elementary School.
67.3 (meets expectations) for New London Middle School.
70.3 (meets expectations) for New London High School.
The district, as a whole, received an accountability rating of 67.2.
Jo Collar, director of teaching and learning for the New London School District, said there were no surprises in the results.
“I think it’s something we all anticipated seeing,” Collar said. “One thing that I know we are very proud of is we continue to make some nice gains in mathematics in the district. We are working on literacy, that’s a key area we are focusing on and have been focusing on.”
The results may have been expected, but Collar said the district is not satisfied with the areas where the district is below the state average.
“We always strive to be above,” Collar said. “That is something that we are looking at in terms of through our data retreats that we do and through our building leadership teams. Our principals are meeting with our staff every month and we are constantly looking at that data and looking at ways to close those achievement gaps.”
The school report card results were shared with the teaching staff at a data retreat.
“We are constantly looking at student data,” Collar said. “All of our elementary schools have a data wall available and we chart progress of how students are doing in reading and in some cases mathematics as well.”
She said the district also used the report card results to look for areas the district are doing well in, as well as areas the district needs to improve in.
Closing the achievement gaps is one of the main areas of concern for the district. Collar said the two primary groups this concerns is the limited English students in the district and the student with disabilities.
“It’s a huge gap and we want to close that gap and we continue to strive to do that,” Collar said.
To improve on its school report card rating, Collar said the district is always looking at data.
“We are looking at data throughout the entire year. Everything we do is backed up by data,” Collar said.
This includes doing more individualized instruction for students who are not achieving the success they should be achieving. The district has also implemented intervention blocks into the schedules at the elementary and middle schools.
The district also created the next generation academy.
“That is working for students at the high school level and middle school level that maybe don’t fit for traditional school, that setting isn’t for them,” Collar said. “They would do better in a different type of a setting. We are always looking at what our kids need and what we need to put in place to make sure we give our students what they need.”
In the Clintonville School District, all three of its schools met expectations for the 2012-13 school year.
The overall accountability ratings were:
64.4 (meets expectations) for Longfellow Elementary School.
64.1 (meets expectations) for Clintonville Middle School.
71.0 (meets expectations) for Clintonville High School.
The district, as a whole, received an accountability rating of 64.9.
The school report card for the Clintonville School District showed progress being made, as well as showed areas where improvement is needed, said Amy Bindas, director of teaching and learning.
The district’s score of 71.0 placed it third out of 12 schools in the Eastern Valley Conference.
“The district as a whole is making strides as evidenced by student achievement in reading and has a plan in place to address achievement issues in math,” Bindas said.
Bindas said due to cut score adjustments in the fall of 2012, student proficiency data are not comparable over time. This means several forms of data need to be used to measure progress.
“Teachers and district staff are working to grow all students from their current level of proficiency,” Bindas said.
Other forms of data include WKCE test results, Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) which measures growth from fall to spring, the district writing assessment, and individual and common classroom assessments are all taken into consideration.
“Instructional staff has examined this student data and have formulated both district goals and individual building goals which will lead to teacher goals,” Binda said. “School goals are focused on quality classroom instruction in all content areas around literacy and numeracy/problem solving. The district will be partnering with students and their families to help students take ownership of their learning, including having the desire and motivation to reach their potential.”
Bindas said the data shows a wide achievement gap for students who are economically disadvantaged and those students with disabilities.
“Intervention specialists in the areas of reading and math will not only continue to work with more small groups of students in need of additional instructional time and strategies, but assist classroom teachers in incorporating these strategies into their daily instruction of all students,” Bindas said.
She said strategies that will be used include: guided reading where students learn comprehension and reading skills by having books at their current level, organizing information using graphic organizers, two column notes and higher level thinking skills, and addressing vocabulary and background experiences from the beginning of the lesson.
“District staff has goals and action plans in place to help students reach their growth targets,” Bindas said.
In the Manawa School District, both of its schools met few expectations for the 2012-13 school year.
57.5 (meets few expectations) for Manawa Elementary School.
59.2 (meets few expectations) for Little Wolf Jr/Sr High School.
The district, as a whole, received an accountability rating of 60.5.
Little Wolf High School Principal Karl Morrin said the results were unexpected, and was a “shock and disappointment.”
Carmen O’Brien, curriculum director and high school science teacher for the Manawa School District, said for herself, the school report card results for the district were a “wake-up call.”
The district will hold a public forum to discuss the school report card. The forum will take place Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the Manawa Elementary School library.
“We really need to take a better look at what we’re doing, why we’re doing it and re-evaluate that,” O’Brien said. “I think maybe we became a little bit complacent in our methods of testing. The kids are tested so many times. I think maybe we need to make a bigger deal about the tests that count more.”
O’Brien said the district is already working toward that. It is creating goals for all students.
“The teachers are going through their results with them. We are having those one-on-one meetings and we’re trying to make students value the test more.”
O’Brien was hired as curriculum director in July. She said previously those responsibilities fell in the hands of the principals at the elementary school and high school.
She said the district is implementing some of the new state initiatives and Response to Intervention (RTI). She described RTI as the program to catch students before they fail.
“We’ve really been working hard to get our RTI program setup this year,” O’Brien said.
Closing achievement gaps is the biggest concern for the district, O’Brien said. The two subgroups in the district include economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities.
“We need to make sure that both populations are increasing their scores and are moving along with all the rest of the students,” O’Brien said.
The school report card results were shared with the teaching staff.
“I truly believe, along with the rest of the staff, we think what we’re doing here is pretty good,” O’Brien said. “We have student achievement. Our kids are doing well, but we’re not showing it.”
One thing O’Brien is excited about is for the first time, the district is able to use a tool called WISEdash.
“It can identify students that are close to improving to the next level and students that are close to dropping to the next level down,” O’Brien said. “It shows our borderline students by name. Before they didn’t allow us to have that information.
“That’s the key here, using the data that we have to drive what we’re doing.”
The district has designated RTI time into the schedule for students. O’Brien said identifying students individually and working with individual students will help improve test scores.
Despite the less than stellar school report card results for the district Morrin said this could be a turning point for the district. In addition to focusing more on RTI, the district has also implemented a math and reading academy.
“We are really trying to push reading with our RTI time because that’s one of our district goals,” Morrin said. “With our goal sheets focusing on the testing I think this really could be our greatest year. We can make huge strides this year and that’s what our goals are.”
(Angie Landsverk contributed to this story.)