Sauk Trail sees improvement in achievement gap efforts

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Sauk Trail principal Chris Dahlk presented data on school efforts as part of the Achievement Gap Reduction Grant the school receives to the Board of Education at its regular meeting on Monday, May 23.

Information must be reported to the Board twice a year. The data wasn't a part of the Board expanded agenda because the assessment window didn't close until Friday, May 20 in the late afternoon.

Dahlk explained that five years ago Sauk Trail applied for a Student Achievement Guarantee in Education (SAGE) grant. The program was renamed the Achievement Gap Reduction two years ago and new parameters have been developed.

Under the old program, a school could lose funding if class sizes went above 18, which often happened if new students moved in after the start of school year, Dahlk said. Sauk Trail still use funds for to keep class sizes down, but can also use the money for strategies such as instructional coaches.

No other schools in the District receives AGR funding. Both SAGE and AGR grants are tied to free-and-reduced lunch percentages. Sauk Trail's percentage fluctuates between 39-45 percent, with the next closed District elementary school being West Middleton at 24 percent.

Dahlk then shared data on how students on free or reduced lunch did in the fall compared to the spring. The school's goal was to see a 10 percent increase in the proficient or advanced range. There was good growth in all levels in literacy, with the biggest jump being 19 percent in first grade.

Those same kindergarten students saw a 22 percent increase using the Bridges math program, while second-graders improved by 31 percent. However, she was concerned that students in grades 3 and 4 dropped on their MAP assessment from the fall to spring. School officials will dig deeper to figure out why, she said. Deputy Superintendent George Mavroulis thought taking the exam shortly after the Wisconsin Forward exam might have played a role.