At a meeting, Monday, Sept. 22, New London School Board members and administrators discussed data from the district and individual school report cards.
How the data will be utilized to maximize student achievement was also discussed.
The district’s overall score was 69.6, an improvement over the 2012-13 score of 67.2. One of its schools significantly exceeded expectations, while the other five schools met expectations.
The overall accountability ratings were:
Lincoln Elementary, 67.1 (meets expectations); Parkview Elementary, 65.2 (meets expectations); Readfield Elementary, 87.4 (significantly exceeds expectations); New London Intermediate/Middle School, 69.9 (meets expectations); and New London High School, 69.7 (meets expectations).
“We made decent improvement in some areas, and in other areas we need to improve on,” said Terry Wetzel, director of Teaching and Learning. “I feel our overall goal is to help the district grow, whether we improved or not.”
Each year the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) releases report cards for every school in Wisconsin. The report cards for schools and districts provide an accountability score on a scale of zero-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).
The report cards measure how well school districts perform overall, and how the schools within them perform in the 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 on-track and post secondary readiness, which uses several measures as predictors of college and career readiness.
Overall the district continues to see gains in mathematics, but now it’s shifting its focus on literacy.
“Literacy is a huge focus, but we can’t lose sight of focus on mathematics,” said Laurie Schmidt, director of Pupil Services.
The district is striving toward growth in literacy by utilizing a Readers, Writers Workshop Model. Much like the Math Expressions program and its success in growth of mathematics, the district hopes to gain training and professional development over time to help students grow in reading and language arts.
“We have to give the same amount of time on literacy as we did on mathematics,” said Kristin Grable, principal of Readfield and Sugar Bush Elementary Schools. “We put in about five years of time and training into Math Expressions.”
The report card data plays a key role in its planning sessions, building leadership retreats, and data retreats. Administrators are consistently looking at the data year round to develop ways to close achievement gaps.
“The data helps steer us in maximizing student achievement,” said board president Kim Schroeder.
In addition, the district will continue its efforts to look beyond the numbers on the report cards to ensure understanding of individual student performance and focus on areas below the state average on the report cards.
The district is committed to providing all the necessary details about the upcoming referendum to allow voters of the New London School District to make an informed decision when they vote on Tuesday, Nov. 4.
The district is seeking a non-recurring, four year referendum in the amount of $500,000 for purposes consisting of roofs and facilities maintenance, ensuring safe and secure buildings, and maximizing student achievement.
Administrators have put a lot of time and effort into creating a referendum website that provides information, video footage and a schedule of times for informational sessions with the community.
The website is linked to the front page of the district’s website at www.newlondon.k12.wi.us. The link is titled Referendum and is located in the column on the left side of the page.
“Information will be revised each week to ensure our message is up-to-date as possible,” said Joe Marquardt, director of Business Services said. “We’ll take any recommendations from the community to try and present the information as simple as possible.”
The website has been updated to include a school board message from Schroeder, a Middle School floor plan, and a frequently asked questions page. In addition, Marquardt will be posting a color coded roofing plan that will show the areas to be repaired and in what timeframe.
District Administrator Kathy Gwidt added that they hope to connect the referendum information to Facebook by the end of the week.
Referendum details can also be found on the New London’s Local Cable Access Channel.
“Dick Johnson knows how important the referendum is to the district and he wanted to help get the information to the community,” Marquardt said.
Community members can also watch a recording of an informational session held on Tuesday at the Washington Center for the Wolf River Patriot Group.
Over the next several weeks, the district will continue to filter informational components of the referendum throughout the community.