Park recognized by DPI

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Park was among 135 schools from around the state recognized for their success in educating students at a ceremony at the State Capitol on May 21.

State Superintendent Tony Evers recognized 24 High-Achieving Schools and 40 High Progress schools. Eleven schools earned both distinctions, while five schools earned an award for the fifth consecutive year. One school, Marengo Valley in the Ashland School District, has earned the award for all 15 years of the program.

"Partnerships among teachers, parents, administrators, school staff members and the community contribute to the academic success in schools that receive this honor,'' Evers said in a statement.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction announced the recipients on April 13.

"I was excited and humbled because it was a surprise but that made the recognition even better,'' Park principal Monica Schommer said. "Park staff are constantly collaborating around best practices and giving students what they need to succeed. This recognition is evidence of all the great work that we are doing. I am honored to be working with this team of educators.''

Schommer attended the recognition program along with current Park fourth-grade teacher and former Title I staff member Jessie Persico.

Park was one of 40 High-Progress Schools. To be eligible in that category, a school must:

  • Fall within the top 10 percent of schools experiencing growth in reading and mathematics for elementary and middle school students or the top 10 percent of schools with the greatest improvement in high school graduation rates.
  • Have achievement gaps that are less than 3 points between student groups or show evidence reducing gaps.

There were 24 schools recognized as High-Achieving Schools, while 87 were named Beating-the-Odds Schools. All of the schools either are or were recently receiving Title I funding to provide services to high numbers or high percentages of economically disadvantaged students.

Park was the only school in Dane County to be recognized.

Park no longer receives Title I services, Schommer said. She noted the school made big gains in mathematics on the School Report Cards between 2016-17 and 2017-18, jumping by nearly 9 points from 41.6 out of 50 to 50 out of 50.

"We have worked collaboratively to ensure fidelity within our curriculum,'' she said. "When we se gaps in our data, we worked to fill those gaps. When we get new curriculum, we are enthusiastic about adoption, attend professional development as teams and continue to collaborate around what's working. Our staff and students are awesome.''

Schools meeting all criteria received a plaque. Five schools received commemorative flags for earning the aware for five consecutive years.

Sixteen schools earned honors in two categories. Of the 135 schools recognized, 111 are elementary schools, 18 are middle or high schools and six are high schools.

"Congratulations to Monica Schommer and her amazing, student-centered staff!  We are proud of their incredible work,'' Superintendent George Mavroulis said