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Dells school report card score might change, principals highlight plans for school year
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Dells school report card score might change, principals highlight plans for school year

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School report card numbers might change from previous years as a result of testing coming to a halt when schools shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wisconsin Dells School District Director of Curriculum and Instruction Brian Gove said at the Sept. 14 special school board meeting scores could change in this year’s state report card from the Department of Public Instruction because data from the school district’s last report card in 2018-19 will be taken to provide a new accountability rating. The new formula means numbers might change from previous years. The report card will be presented in October, Gove said.

Only ACT assessments were held in February and by the time state assessments for grades 3-8 were held schools were shut down, Gove said.

“It’s not new data but they have some new formulas and its going look different. So we are going to get new ratings across the district even without state assessments last year,” Gove said. “It’s going to be a lot more visual rather than just numbers.”

In the 2018-19 school report card, the school district earned a total score of 72.1.

Gove said one of the goals outlined before COVID-19 was making sure every student graduates with more than a diploma but also dual enrollment, industry-recognized credentials, youth apprenticeship or advanced placement. That data will also be reported for the high school report card and full district report in October.

With the Forward Exam not held this year due to COVID-19 shutdowns, many of the principals used data from iReady and recent Forward Exams from the last school year and previous years to share strategic goals and plans for the 2020-21 school year.

Each principal presented goals for identifying “super standards,” about three to five aspects students master by the end of the year. They also discussed how to address students in the lowest quartile, engagement in attendance, family and community engagement.

Leadership teams are still refining parts of the strategic plan, which is due Sept. 18. Part of each school’s plan also includes increased communication with parents and students on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, especially those in the lower quartile.

Spring Hill Elementary School Principal Julie Ennis said the goal for last year was to raise its Forward Exam English/Language Arts scores by 5% and 3% for Math, but due to COVID-19, testing wasn’t held. Instead, fall to winter iReady data, showed the elementary school was on track to meeting its goals for the year and even surpassing those numbers for English/language arts and staying consistent for math.

Ennis said Spring Hill’s goals this year include having more of a strategic focus with identifying super standards to close learning gaps, especially with the challenges of virtual learning. For engagement and attendance, Ennis said the school plans to review attendance and increase home visits with families with students. That includes meeting with students in the bottom quartile on a bi-weekly or monthly basis. Ennis said the plan is to create a smart goal by November once the data from iReady assessments are complete.

Felipe Armijo, principal for Lake Delton and Neenah Creek Elementary School, said his goal is to move students at both schools to proficient/advanced levels of academic achievement, about 25% of the score on the report card. The schools also have the same weekly communication with all students and bi-weekly communication for students in the lowest quartile, which could substitute the twice a year parent/teacher conferences, he said.

Middle School Principal Casey Whitehurst said a communication log has been set up among the grade levels so students stay in touch with each other. Testing through the iReady window from Sept. 8-18 will further identify learning gaps, according to Whitehurst and his report. The two-week soft start at the beginning of the school year helped with attendance, especially with virtual learning, as students and teachers connected with each other.

Whitehurst said specific focus groups for academic support periods are planned for implementation as a result of iReady data. Seventh grade students will have a similar model with a SOAR goal setting program.

High School Principal Hugh Gaston said the plan to address students in the lowest quartile is to automatically sign up students for an English/language arts or math academic support period twice a week to give students the help they need.

Goals for the high school this year are to be determined but Gaston said the plan is to use the high school’s PreACT and ACT scores from last year to formulate goals this year. For engagement and attendance, Gaston plans to use the 2019 fall engagement survey, spring 2020 engagement data and a relationship mapping spreadsheet for identifying students most at risk in attendance and engagement.

Follow Erica Dynes on Twitter @EDynes_CapNews or contact her at 608-393-5346.

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