Schools, districts across state given report cards

Most districts got passing grade from Dept. of Instruction
Schools, districts across state given report cards

The Wisconsin Department of Instruction handed out report cards for schools across the state Tuesday, and most districts got a passing grade.

The report card data has potential scores of significantly exceeds expectations, meets expectations or meets few expectations.

The only district that failed to meet expectations was Milwaukee, while 10 districts, including Beloit, in the area met few expectations.

Madison got a score of 68.5, which is considered meeting expectations. The district’s average was brought down by some schools that have room for improvement.

In the Madison district that includes East and La Follette high schools. Those two schools met few expectations. Two middle schools, along with Nuestro Mundo, and six elementary schools also met few expectations.

On the other side of the spectrum, five schools significantly exceeded expectations.

“But there’s a pretty big range from schools in the second-to-lowest category just below meets expectations, all the way to far exceeding expectations,” said Madison Metropolitan School District Superintendent Jen Cheatham. “So it’s just a reminder of the diversity of our community and the large range of students and families and schools that we serve.”

Madison had the highest performance of all school districts statewide with more than 15,000 students.

Janesville Schools fared the best in Rock County with a score of 74.8. Beloit schools got a score of 62.5, but school leaders said the numbers by themselves don’t tell the whole story.

According to the state, five schools in Beloit fall in the category of meeting few expectations.

“They compare students in poverty to students in the state who are not in poverty. So as far as closing that gap, we aren’t where we need to be,” said Lynee Tourdot, assistant superintendent with the Beloit School District.

Tourdot said 78 percent of the students in their district are on free or reduced lunch. So for the last few years they’ve been working on strategies to help those students.

Schools, districts across state given report cards

“We actually do very well with our students not in poverty. We show huge achievement gains with those students. The little bit tougher group to show achievement gains with are our students in poverty, and that’s the area we need to work on,” said Tourdot.

All of the schools in the Janesville School District either met or exceeded expectations. Wilson Elementary, the district’s lowest performing school last year, made significant gains this year.

Karen Schulte, Janesville School District’s superintendent, said nearly 100 percent of students there are at the poverty level. She credits Wilson’s principal with the turn around.

“She knows what she’s doing and she’s led her staff and trained them in the techniques that are needed to work with this high poverty population,” said Schulte.

The rankings also measure student growth each year. Janesville scored 10 points above the state average.

“Each school has a specific profile, and each school has an achievement target they’d like to focus on so each school will be working in different areas,” said Kim Ehrhardt, director of curriculum, assessment and instruction.

While Beloit’s scores need improvement, school leaders said they are making changes in hopes of seeing academic gains.

“Because we had the reconfiguration in our district at the same time, we’re really looking at this as the first year, getting data that’s a baseline for us,” said Tourdot.

Schulte said during the last three to four years, the Janesville School District has been making changes to their curriculum.

One school, Harrison Elementary, was rated as significantly exceeding expectations. Fourteen schools exceeded expectations and one school met expectations.

Other local schools made the grade Tuesday.

Verona exceeded expectations with a 74.4, Middleton-Cross Plains was rated at an 80.1, and Waunakee was a bit higher at an 81.6. Mount Horeb was rated at a 78.8 and Sun Prairie got a 74. The Columbus School District meets expectations with a 71.8.

To see the entire breakdown by district or specific school, click here.