School districts receive report card from state DPI
Rhinelander sees improvement, Three Lakes ‘exceeds expectations’
BY EILEEN PERSIKE
School districts in Wisconsin received their annual report cards from the Department of Public Instruction last week. More than 96 percent of schools met or exceeded state expectations, including the School District of Rhinelander, which saw improvement across the board, according to Teri Maney, district director of instruction.
“Our elementary schools are doing really well, our middle school has jumped up from what it was the year before,” Maney said. “And part of this is due to some things we put in place last year.”
This is the third year of the legislatively-mandated report cards, which are intended to help schools and districts use the data to target improvement efforts to make sure students are ready for their next educational step. The district as a whole received a score of 66.3, which “meets expectations.”
“We’ve had problems with closing gaps between our subgroups, such as our special education kids or students of poverty, compared to their peers across the state,” Maney said, noting that Rhinelander started looking at the areas of need at least five years ago, and “really honed in the last three years” to what the district needs to do so that every student can achieve success. Last year, under the guidance of nationally-known education consultant Anthony Muhammed, Maney said the district made plans – one at the middle school this year in math and reading.
“Instead of a 44-minute period they have a 69-minute period,” Maney explained. “It doesn’t show now, but I believe we are going to see another big leap next year because we have taken away some of those barriers.”
In addition to closing gaps, the report card looks at school growth, measured by year-to-year progress in English language arts and math. The district receives no points for two of the three elementary schools, Crescent and Pelican, because they are structured as pre-K through grade three, not through grade five.
“NCES has six grades so they get a growth score and that’s what boosts them into ‘exceeding expectations,’” Maney said. “[NCES is] doing well, but it gives them a boost. Crescent is meeting expectations but if you had that growth score calculation also, they would ‘exceed expectations.’”
SDR has discussed the idea of having Crescent, Pelican, Central and NCES all K-5.
“It’s not about changing structure to meet the criteria of the test but these are some very real restraints that are in place,” Maney said, adding that being with the same teachers for six years is what’s best for kids.
Increasing the rigor in the elementary and middle school math curriculum will show results in
coming years as it is expected that 85 percent of students will be able to take algebra in eighth grade, compared to ninth or tenth grade in the past. Maney said mastering algebra at an earlier age will open doors to more science and math classes in high school.
Overall, Maney said while the district isn’t where she wants it to be, there is a lot to celebrate.
“I can’t wait for next year’s report card – I can’t believe I’m saying that, but I look forward to next year because we have another year of more efficient and better instructional practices, as well as making sure we don’t have any holes in our curriculum, and it will show in results.”
Three Lakes School District overall received a score of 78.2, putting it in the “exceeds expectations” category. Grades 7-12 principal Gene Welhoefer stated the district believes the score reflects “the way our students approach their education as well as what happens in our district on a daily basis.”
Three Lakes Elementary received an 84.9, putting it in the “significantly exceeds” expectations category. Sugar Camp Elementary “exceeds expectations” with a score of 82 and the junior high also “exceeds” with a score of 74.3. Three Lakes High School “meets expectations” with a score of 66.7.
“We also know that student success cannot be measured solely by one score,” Welhoefer said. “Having high expectations and being accountable to stakeholders is a good thing. Even with the current results, we are looking to find areas for improvement to better serve our students in the future.”
For more detailed information and a statewide report, visit dpi.wi.gov/accountability/report-cards.