Waupaca schools exceed expectations
State DPI issues district report cards
By Robert Cloud
The Waupaca School District ranks No. 2 among the 34 districts in CESA 5.
The district’s score of 78.8 means it exceeds expectations set by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
The DPI also grades individual schools.
For the 2017-18 academic year, Waupaca Learning Center received a score of 78.3, Waupaca Middle School was scored 79.3 and Waupaca High School earned a score of 73.9. All three scores exceed expectations.
There was no DPI report card for Chain O’ Lakes Elementary School because the scores are based, in part, on state math and English assessments that do not start until the third grade.
District Administrator Greg Nyen said there will be a report card for the Chain Exploration Center because it serves students in third through fifth grades.
“I expect they will perform equally as well,” Nyen said.
Nyen attributed much of the district’s high scores to the teachers.
“Our teachers are our greatest asset,” Nyen said, noting the district has invested in the professional development of its teachers.
He said the district hosted Learning First – Waupaca in August.
The program provided a week of specialized training with education professionals from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
The training focused on learning methods that have proven successful in encouraging student achievement.
Eighty teachers in the Waupaca School District participated.
“We’re carrying over that work on our early release Wednesdays,” Nyen said.
Nyen said the report cards show three areas where the district could improve.
The DPI report card examines the achievement gap between target groups and the general population of students, then measures the district’s efforts to close those gaps.
“We would always like to reduce the gap between students with disabilities and the students without disabilities,” Nyen said.
The other two groups Nyen mentioned were non-English speaking students and economically disadvantaged students.
Last year’s report card showed significant improvements in both the district’s and the schools’ scores.
The district’s score improved from 66.3 to 80 points, while the Waupaca Learning Center’s score rose from 82.2 to 84.5, Waupaca Middle School’s score rose from 65.9 to 77.6, and the high school’s rose from 66.4 to 71.1.
Nyen pointed out the district’s 2016-17 report card included a carrot symbol (^) because the DPI considered a 10-point or more change from the previous school year to be an outlier.
The DPI said it was not clear whether these fluctuations are due to actual changes in school performance or are symptoms of statistical volatility.
Correction: Due to a typo, an earlier version of this story reported that eight teachers participated in the summer training program. The correct number is 80.
“The carrot symbol has been removed,” Nyen said. “The validity of our score is no longer in question.”