As most parents are aware, each fall the School District of Rhinelander administers the WKCE (Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination) to students in 3rd, 8th, 9th and 10th grades.
The WKCE test is an assessment that provides a one-time, annual snapshot of students’ proficiency in reading and math. Test scores are forwarded to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, and compared with to the state’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) report as required by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
As mentioned, the WKCE test is a snapshot-a one day look at a student’s proficiency in reading and math. From enactment in the 2001-02 school year to the 2013-14 school year, minimal standards will increase 61 percent in reading and 37 percent in math.
These are significant challenges, and we have responded by raising our educational expectations. Our teachers and administrators have been working to ensure the best possible educational opportunities for all our students. In order to reach the standards established by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the School District of Rhinelander has implemented math and reading initiatives in all of our schools. These initiatives have required significant changes to our instructional practices, our professional development strategies, and our progress monitoring.
Whenever a major initiative is launched within the School District, the process takes three to five years to fully implement. The implementation process begins with reviewing instructional practices and updating professional development strategies that will provide our teachers the tools they need to meet the needs of our dramatically rising expectations of schools, and all the students in them.
As teachers utilize new tools and implement new curriculum, a major component of launching a new initiative is progress monitoring, which provides valuable feedback on the success of the program. Response to Intervention (RtI), also known in our District as Response to Instruction, is a personalized and individual approach that supports greater success for students and provides the District with valuable information on what teaching techniques are most effective and where changes need to be made. RtI also includes individualized student interventions to provide remediation in reading and math, which will increase student success.
As we work through the three to five year process, we make needed adjustments in our plan, always focused on the needs of our students and on their success.
Each spring, we receive the state testing results. We expect the newest set of results shortly. As we closely monitor our progress, we know that we have areas in need of improvement and that we still have work to do.
Our literacy plan has helped us to improve our state scores. Students in various grades at Pelican, Central, Northwoods Community Elementary School (NCES) and Northwoods Community Secondary School (NCSS) have met the state goals. Our math scores are improving, but we are still short of meeting those goals. Recognizing that we may not meet the state goals, we have been proactive in implementing improvement strategies. Last year, we put into action math improvement plans in several schools and are seeing a slow but steady increase in testing scores.
Our efforts to provide high-quality educational opportunities for all students are never complete. We continue to work hard to ensure success for all of our students.
Please contact Superintendent Roger Erdahl at (715) 365-9750 if you have questions.
Kim Swisher is available by calling (715) 365-9700, ext. 5701, or via email at email@example.com.