Sauk Trail principal Chris Dahlk, Sunset Ridge principal Maria Dyslin and West Middleton principal Katrina Krych updated the Board of Education on the work being done at their respective schools at the regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 27.
All three principals noted every school has the same academic goal that by the end of the 2021-22 school year students who identify as Black or Latinx will attain grade level reading proficiency to maximize their learning across content areas at every grade level as measured by the STAR assessment.
Dahlk noted Sauk Trail is looking at all of the initiatives and data from the past decade and see how they help staff serve children. Her goal is to develop systems and framework to make the work systematic. She also said her staff is looking at informal student data and having conversations with students and families about what the school can do to help all students succeed.
Dyslin, who joked she should sing her report after hearing so many Board members attended the Country Breakfast, noted Sunset Ridge had a very strong School Report Card, which was released by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction in November. She is excited that students below benchmarks on assessments are meeting or exceeding their growth goals. She noted an an area for growth is using student data to determine how learning can be adjusted to differentiate for every student.
She also said another challenge is helping English Language Learners with literacy. The school wants to use the expertise of special education teachers and others to be more deliberate with plans for students. While Sunset Ridge doesn't have as many students of color as some other District schools, it is still crucial to focus on the reading goal for every student, she said.
Krych said West Middleton staff continue to intentionally learn about the identities of every student and what prior knowledge students have. She is proud that her school culture embraces collaboration and that lots of time is spent in professional learning communities and peer observations. She also noted West Middleton's School Report Card increased by 12 points from a year ago.
"There are a lot of amazing experiences going on. The staff is doing a lot of things right,'' she said.
However, she also noted more needs to be done for students of color, who are growing but Krych noted that isn't good enough. Staff are working to differentiate curriculum and personalize it for each student.
The Board asked if every staff member understands the District goals? All three said staff do, although Dyslin noted some staff want to understand how they play a role in this work and achieving the goals. Dahlk said staff realize there hasn't been a significant shift in results for a number of years and understand other strategies need to be tried.
''I think staff felt like it was about time and that when we do good for our most marginalized students we do good for all,'' Krych said.
The Board also asked what more can be done as gaps have been a focus for a long time. Dyslin said she is excited about the District's focus on asset-based learning, but said it is a shift because it is often easier to identify what someone can't do. Krych said clarity is vital and making sure student know the what and why.
"If it's not important to you, it won't matter,'' Krych said. "Children have to internally have the motivation but we have to find out what will connect to their lives. We have to really know our kids, what interests them and what motivates them.''
The Board also asked how other schools can emulate West Middleton, which has been very successful at getting engagement from families who haven't typically been involved. Krych said her staff knows putting in work on the front end makes a huge difference. Dyslin also noted involvement shouldn't be defined by who is present in a building. She shared how her dad never attended school events but he was the one at home who helped her with homework and pushed her.