All four of the schools in the Waupaca School District exceed or meet expectations.
The 2011-12 preliminary school report cards made public on Oct. 22 by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction show the following overall accountability scores:
• 76.4 (exceeds expectations) for Chain O' Lakes Elementary School.
• 73 (exceeds expectations) for Waupaca Learning Center.
• 71.1 (meets expectations) for Waupaca Middle School.
• 73.6 (exceeds expectations) for Waupaca High School.
"We were pleasantly surprised with the results," said District Administrator David Poeschl.
In the Waupaca School District, there continues to be a focus on finding ways to close gaps on such things as reading and math achievement.
Each year, the district looks at how the students receiving free and reduced lunch did compared to the previous year, he said.
Ben Rayome, principal of WMS, said they also look at how their students in special education are doing.
Rhonda Hare is the principal of Chain O' Lakes Elementary and also the district's director of instruction.
The data helps the district learn what areas it needs to work on, she said.
Already Hare has looked at how the scores of Waupaca's schools compare to those in comparable districts.
"We're right in there," she said.
Rayome said their job is to educate students so they are ready for the next level.
"Our goal is that they are all college ready. We've been looking at gaps a long time," he said.
He said the score for each school is a small view of all the data that is available.
"It helps us look at this more," Rayome said. "It's making us aware."
Breaking it down by school is a good thing, he said.
"If there was a district score, you would lose the pieces," Rayome said. This is more datea specific to the individual buildings."
For example, at the middle school level, attendance is a key factor considered for whether students are on track and post-secondary ready.
Rayome said they try to motivate middle school students to do their best and to be a school.
"As they get older, their attitudes start changing. That is why statewide, you may see their test scores lower," he said.
At the high school level, Poeschl is concerned about categories that are more subjective than objective.
"All should be compared the same way," he said.
How a school records attendance varies; it is not standardized in the state, Poeschl cited as one example.
"We think it's a good tool," he said of the first school report cards. "It helps us identify areas of need. We need to look at it closely as a cabinet as to what we need to identify."
Rayome said the scores do not equate to grade scores or to percentages.
"Closing the gaps has been the focus the last several years. We want to make sure all our kids are getting a quality education," he said.
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