District fares well on School Report Cards

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For the fifth time since 2012, at least half of all Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District schools significantly exceeded expectations on the School Report Cards, which were issued on Tuesday, Nov. 12 by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Five MCPASD schools – Elm Lawn, Northside, Sunset Ridge, West Middleton and MHS –  significantly exceeded expectations, which is the highest category, while Glacier Creek, Kromrey, Park, and Sauk Trail exceeded expectations, which is the second-highest category.

There were 318 schools out of more than 2,100 rated in the state that significantly exceeded expectations. Another 807 exceeded expectations. Overall, 87 percent of rated schools met or exceeded expectations as did 96 percent of the state’s 421 public school districts.

Clark Street Community School, a laboratory for innovative education, informing teaching and learning throughout MCPASD and a charter school for students in grades 9-12, was rated for the second time and met expectations. CSCS had a perfect score of 100 in On-Track and Post-Secondary Readiness. CSCS also had one of the highest ratings in the state for closing the achievement gap. This is the first year CSCS was eligible to receive a rating in this area and a primary area of the focus of our innovative practice, principal Jill Gurtner said.

The 21st Century eSchool for online students participates in an alternate accountability process because they have small numbers of students at state-tested grades, and therefore, do not have enough assessment data to receive an overall accountability rating.

MCPASD schools rated highly in student achievement and on-track and post-secondary readiness, but have room to improve in closing gaps and school growth, Director of Communications Perry Hibner said.

“State-issued district/school report cards serve as important pieces of information as we consider our overall success with students,’’ Superintendent Dana Monogue said. “Our District and school-based teams use the data provided in the report cards to identify celebrations and successes as well as opportunities for reflection and improvement. We have much to celebrate as a school District and our report card ratings are something to be proud of.  Our ratings reflect the dedication and commitment of our staff, the engagement and interest of our families, and the talents of our students.’’

DPI began releasing School Report Cards in 2012. They weren’t released in 2014-15. The 2015-16 report cards underwent major changes that were part of Wisconsin Act 55, the 2015-17 state budget. Those changes include variable weighting to address the impacts of poverty on student achievement, a new model for meaning student growth based on value-added methodology that was developed by UW-Madison, and the legislative requirement to change from the Badger Exam to the Forward Exam. Due to those significant changes, comparisons to data from report cards prior to 2015-16 cannot be made.

It is the seventh time that DPI has issued school report cards. DPI also gave school districts an overall rating for the fifth time. MCPASD exceeded expectations with a score of 82.6 and was the second-highest rated district behind Waunakee out of 16 in Dane County. The District scored more than 27 points above the state score on student achievement and was also significantly above the state score in on-track and post-secondary readiness and closing gaps.

Elm Lawn (91.1) was the fourth-highest rated elementary school in Dane County, while Northside (88.0) was seventh and Sunset Ridge (87.9) was eighth. Kromrey (77.6) and Glacier Creek (77.2) were the eighth- and ninth-rated middle schools in Dane County, while MHS (86.6) was the highest-rated high school in Dane County for the third straight year.

“The results of these report cards show the collective efforts of our dedicated staff, students, and families,’’ Director of Curriculum, Assessment and 4K MaryBeth Paulisse said. “We use the results of these report cards, in addition to our other data to continually reflect and collaboratively work toward areas for growth within our District. While there are data to be celebrated, we recognize that these results identify that there is still work to be done to eliminate gaps in our District.’’

The DPI’s School Report Cards measure school performance. Each public school earned a “score” from 0 to 100 that is called an accountability index score. The accountability index is based on the school’s performance in four priority areas:

  • Student achievement in English-language arts and mathematics on state assessments
  • Student growth, measured by year-to-year improvements in English-language arts and mathematics achievement
  • Closing gaps in performance between specific student groups (comparing English language learners, low-income students, students with disabilities, and members of racial or ethnic group with their peers)
  • On-track to graduation/postsecondary readiness, using reliable predictors of high school graduation and postsecondary success

Schools and districts are also evaluated on their level of student engagement – chronic absenteeism rates and dropout rates – when applicable. This year’s report cards include ACT Aspire results for freshmen and sophomores for the first time.

Schools can be placed in one of five categories, from Significantly Exceeds Expectations to Fails to Meet Expectations, based on their score. The five levels of rating are:

  • Significantly Exceeds Expectations: 83-100
  • Exceeds Expectations: 73-82.9
  • Meets Expectations: 63-72.9
  • Meets Few Expectations: 53-62.9
  • Fails to Meet Expectations: 0-52.9

The 0 to 100 accountability index score is not a “percent correct” measurement, and is not similar to a score a child might earn on a test in school.

All MCPASD school report cards, along with our District report card, can be found on our website under School Report Cards. All state public school report cards can be found on the DPI website.