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Are Greenfield, Whitnall Schools Making the Grade?

A new state report card detailing how schools across Wisconsin are doing educating children is set to be released the week of Oct. 22.

Are Greenfield, Whitnall Schools Making the Grade?

Parents are used to receiving the quarterly report card, informing them how their child is performing in school.

But, how about a report card on how the school is educating your child?

The state Department of Public Instruction will roll out its new School Report Cards beginning next week. It’s a new accountability system that allowed Wisconsin to earn a waiver from meeting certain 2014 requirements of No Child Left Behind.

Data was released to schools earlier this month, but has been embargoed to allow districts to vet them for errors. The reports are set to be released the week of Oct. 22.

Under the new system, schools will be graded in these areas:

  • Student achievement in reading and mathematics on state assessments.
  • Student growth measured by year-to-year improvements in achievement.
  • Closing gaps in performance between specific student groups.
  • Progress to graduation/post secondary readiness using reliable predictors of high school graduation and post-secondary success.

Schools will receive scores using a 0 to 100 scale, corresponding with five categories starting at Fails to Meet Expectations" and topping out with "Significantly Exceeds Expectations."

The scores will be detailed in an 18-page report on each school. The DPI scoring uses last year’s data.

The DPI will recognize top performers as “rewards schools.” Struggling schools will be required to start interventions and develop improvement plans.

The new system is part of state Superintendent Tony Evers' Agenda 2017 program, aimed at better preparing students for college and the workforce in Wisconsin, and improving high school graduation rates. The program includes changes in the way of how teachers are evaluated and student achievement is measured. In short, student achievement is measured more rigorously.

“This report card will be rating our district (and all the districts in the state) on newer and tougher national standards," Whitnall Superintendent Lowell Holtz wrote in his annual message to the district. "This is something the Whitnall School District has been looking forward to for years as we increase our efforts to compete on a national and global level.

"On this new “report card,” our achievement scores will appear to have dropped although they really stayed the same or improved. They are just being measured on a different standard.

"Why would the state institute such a change? What was good enough for our students to learn 20 years ago is no longer “good enough" for our students to be successful today. For our students to learn what they need to be successful, we need to raise the bar and have higher expectations."

Wisconsin is among 32 states across the country creating . Under the exemption, the state is released from meeting a 2014 deadline requiring 100 percent of students be proficient in reading and math.

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