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July 2014

28

Hamilton district gets an A+ on new state report cards

Strategies helped with new state evaluation

Hamilton School District was found to "exceed expectations" and "significantly exceed expectations" under the new School Report Card from the state. The district points to their strategic plan for their success.

The Department of Public Instruction uses a score developed from the four accountability areas: student achievement on state assessments; year-to-year student growth in reading and mathematics; success in closing gaps between specific groups of students; and predictors of high school graduation and postsecondary readiness. Schools in the district include Lannon which scored, 83.2, Maple Avenue (77.9), Marcy (90.8), Woodside (80.2), Templeton (80.5) and Hamilton High (81.5).

Marcy Elementary's scores actually placed the school at second place out of 293 schools on the Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) Elementary Schools rankings for comparable schools in Southeastern Wisconsin. Templeton Middle School placed fifth out of 56 and Hamilton High School placed third out of 64.

The Hamilton School District performed well in all areas and score breakdowns found student achievement and graduation or postsecondary readiness ranked highest overall. The student achievement category tests knowledge and skill level compared to state and national standards using state assessment tests. The graduation and postsecondary readiness category measures success through graduation rates, attendance rates, ACT participation or performance and reading and mathematics achievement.

"The new system provides helpful information to monitor our progress in the areas that are currently our focus - rigorous standards, student growth and closing gaps. The district's strategic plan has steps in place to address those areas," " Hamilton Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Cooke said.

Their strategic plan highlights many Hamilton initiatives that are already in sync with new DPI standards. Hamilton officials say that their strategic plan develops rigorous and relevant curriculum, innovative instruction, quality assessment practices, closing achievement gaps and continuing professional development for staff.

"Ensuring maximum achievement for each child is our mission, and staff members are committed to helping students reach their potential," Cooke said.

K3 reading programs and math programs, for example, go hand-in-hand with new testing standards and addressing learning gaps. For example, the school has been working on reading empowerment programs that develop rigorous reading skills at an early age and intervene when students struggle. Math programs, too, are targeted for kindergarten to third-grade levels.

"Student achievement really starts at the very early ages. Most people don't necessarily think of the kindergarten reading program with taking AP tests, but it really sets a great foundation for learning," Denise Dorn Lindberg, public information office coordinator said.

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