DPI report cards show continued success in the region
Hamilton one of only two districts in the state to significantly exceed expectations
Area school districts, evaluated in "report cards" issued by the state Department of Public Instruction, all exceed expectations on criteria rated by the report cards, according to information released by the DPI.
The majority of Wisconsin's public schools meet, exceed or significantly exceed expectations established for the report cards. Statewide, 169 individual schools met few expectations and 58 schools failed to meet expectations. Milwaukee Public Schools was the only school district that failed to meet expectations.
Locally, the Hamilton School District was one of only two K-12 school districts in the state to significantly exceed expectations.
Hamilton Superintendent Kathleen Cooke said in a news release: "The new school report card provides helpful information to monitor our progress in the areas that are our focus: rigorous standards, student growth and closing gaps. The district's strategic plan has steps in place to address those areas."
For the second year in a row, Swallow School scored highest on the report card among the K-8 Arrowhead feeder schools, followed by North Lake School, Merton Intermediate, the Hartland School of Community Learning and Richmond School. Arrowhead High School, the Oconomowoc Area School Distric, Pewaukee School District and Kettle Moraine School District all exceeded expectations.
Swallow School Superintendent Melissa Thompson said the school's success can be attributed to the students, who are "anxious to learn," as well as faculty and community members.
She said that the school has worked hard in the past year to maintain its status in the region.
"Qualitatively, we discuss and confer with students about their work and build strong relationships to ensure they are provided appropriate feedback," she said. "Quantitatively, we have been working hard to ensure that we are growing each student using formal benchmark assessments and monitoring growth throughout the year."
How the ratings work
Schools and districts were evaluated on a 100-point scale in student achievement in reading and math, student growth in those assessed areas, closing the gap between low- and high-performing student groups and college and career readiness. This is the first year the department has released report cards for school districts as a whole and the second year it reported on schools.
The state average score in student achievement is 66.1; student growth is 60.6; closing gaps is 66.8; and college and career readiness is 84.9.
The Hamilton School District received an overall score of 83 points, with 86.8 points in student achievement; 70.4 points in student growth; 82.3 points in closing gaps; and 92.5 points in college and career readiness.
In the Hamilton district, Lannon Elementary School ranked highest (87.1), followed by Marcy Elementary (86.5). Hamilton High School exceeded expectations at 84.8.
Cooke acknowled that the report card is only one assessment, and more work will need to be done to ensure the district's continued success.
The Oconomowoc Area School District (77.1), Pewaukee School District (77.9) and Kettle Moraine School District (79.5) each exceeded expectations.
The Pewaukee School District scored 82.4 on student achievement; 72.5 on student growth; 64.2 on closing gaps and 92.7 on college and career readiness.
The Oconomowoc Area School District scored 77.6 on student achievement; 60.1 on student growth; 80.3 on closing gaps; and 90.2 on college and career readiness.
Kettle Moraine School District scored 84.2 on student achievement, 84.2 on student achievement, 72.5 on student growth, 69 on closing gaps and 92.4 on college and career readiness.
Swallow School scored 86.2 overall on the report card, second highest in region, behind only Lannon Elementary at 87.1. Swallow School scored 90.9 on student achievement; 73.5 on student growth; 84.7 on closing gaps; and 95.8 on college and career readiness.
North Lake School scored 85.1 overall; Merton Intermediate scored 84.6; Hartland School of Community Learning scored 84.3; and Richmond School scored 83.6.
North Lake Superintendent Pete Hirt said he was proud of the results, but emphasized that the report card is just one of many measurements of a school's success.
"There is a lot more to making (students) college and career ready than what is identified in these report cards," he said.
Richmond School saw a dramatic 10-percent increase in its score from 2011-12 to 2012-13, the result of a boost in the school's closing gaps score. The score rose from 42.4 in 2011-12 to 73.6 in 2012-13.
Richmond Superintendent Jeff Weiss said the district reviewed the results and found that the school's population of historically low-performing students, called a "supergroup," rose from 32 students in 2011-12 to 45 students in 2012-13. A "supergroup" is composed of the school's learning disabled students, economically disadvantaged students and racial minority students.
The change in the number of supergroup students caused the fluctuations in the schools closing gap score, Weiss said.
"The additional 13 students in that supergroup really changed the whole, affecting our closing the gaps," he said.
Arrowhead Union High School saw a similar problem with the closing gap metric last year. Its initial score in closing gaps in 2011-12 was 48.8, the result of a small percentage of low-performing students who scored unusually high on state tests the year before. That number was revised by the DPI to 62.2, which still fell below state average.
Superintendent Craig Jefson criticized the department last year for rushing implementation of the report card system.
"If we don't examine this critically, five or 10 years from now, we're going to be doing the same thing. Where's the accountability for legislators? Where's the accountability for DPI?" he asked last year.
Arrowhead's score improved slightly this year, from 80.2 in 2011-12 to 81.1 in 2012-13. The district scored a 90.7 in student achievement; 63.3 in closing gaps; and a 93.4 in college and career readiness.
Jefson said Thursday that his opinion of the report cards still has not changed.
"You take these complex formulas and then you try to turn them into green and yellow bars," Jefson said, and it does not work.
The report cards — with detailed breakdowns for each school and criteria — can be found at reportcards.dpi.wi.gov.
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