As expected, Whitnall schools exceed on state report cards

Published on: 10/1/2013

Greenfield — Three of the four Whitnall schools exceeded expectations and one nearly did in the school report cards recently released by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

That wasn't a surprise to the district's chief administrator.

'The reason we did so very well as a district is because the board supported teacher development that gave teachers the opportunity to work together,' Superintendent Lowell Holtz said.

Last year, the DPI started releasing school report cards to try to give an idea of how well the schools are doing based on a number of factors.

Among them are achievement in reading and math, how well schools close the academic gap between subgroups of students and whether all students experience growth and are being kept on track for graduation and prepared for post-secondary education. It also measures student engagement.

Scores in all those areas go into the overall accountability score.

With a total accountability score of 81.1, Edgerton Elementary came in just short of hitting the 'significantly exceeds expectations' threshold of 83. Whitnall Middle School's 'meeting expectations' accountability score of 72.1 puts it less than a point away from exceeding expectations, which starts with a score of 73.

The district as a whole has an accountability score of 78.1.

As school officials delve into the details of the scores, they are mainly looking for increases in growth and in closing the gaps in the elementary schools, said Tony Brazouski, executive director of academic achievement.

Growth was a mixed bag, however, with Hales Corners Elementary showing an improvement of 7 points and Edgerton Elementary falling 5 points in growth. But at 74.8 for Hales Corners and 74.7 for Edgerton, both are still comfortably higher than the state growth average of 65.7.

Both schools also improved their closing the gap scores between last year and the year before.

One weakness last year's scores brought out was in reading, Brazouski said. So, over the summer all the elementary teachers came to school for a weeklong reading camp. The session was held to polish teachers' skills in the Lucy Calkins method from the Teachers College, Columbia University, the graduate school of education of Columbia University. Some teachers were already using the method, but the district now wants to make it the standard.

Part of the high school report card is based on the number of students taking the ACT exams, Brazouski said. School officials are proud that for the fourth year that number increased, as did the average scores, he added.

Accountability scoreGrowthClosing gaps
DistrictwideExceeds expectations78.164.581.790.5
High schoolsWhitnall Exceeds expectations78.5n/a78.291.7
Middle schoolsWhitnall Meets expectations72.153.766.192.1
Statewide 53.764.588.8
K-5Edgerton Exceeds expectations 81.874.781.789.5
Hales Corners Exceeds expectations74.574.857.989.6
Statewide 65.765.687.1
Significantly exceeds expectations, 83 to 100; exceeds expectations, at least 73; meets expectations, at least 63; meets few expectations, at least 53