Three years ago, only 27.6 percent of Tower Rock students were performing at a proficient or advanced level on the Wisconsin Forward exam. The results are in for 2017-18, and the school’s percentage of proficient/advanced scores in math has nearly doubled to 50 percent.
“What I am most excited to share is our math data,” said Tower Rock Elementary School principal Kelly Petrowski. “We’ve grown. We’ve improved.”
Petrowski said it was a school-wide effort to get all students access to grade level content and meeting needs wherever they are to push everyone forward.
“We are doing well compared with the state,” Petrowski said. “That is just one area we are excited about.”
However, looking at the school’s reading data for the same years shows only a slight increase from the prior year. In 2015-16, for example, the number of students scoring at advanced or proficient in the Forward exam was 34.3 percent. That number improved to 40.7 percent in 2016-17, but only slightly improved for 2017-18 at 40.8 percent. In comparison, the state average for those same years has stayed between 43-45 percent.
“That is a point of concern we are definitely going to dig deeper into more this year,” Petrowski said. She said the school plans to do that by ensuring “equitable practices for all learners” and specifically on building language among the students.
Tower Rock has also reported a major decrease in the number of student office referrals staff made, with 157 in 2016-17 down to 87 for 2017-18. Petrowski said using character-building programs such as Eagle Hour, Eagle feathers and Nurtured Heart is all part of that success.
“We didn’t take data from my first year at Tower Rock,” Petrowski said. “It is one point of data. It’s not a totally great way to look at it, but it is one way. A lot goes into whether you write a referral or not. Teachers vary in what they use to manage their classroom. We did see when we were looking at emotional regulations we did see a drop. It doesn’t mean everything, but it might mean something.”
Tower Rock has the highest number of free-and-reduced lunch participants, but also has the lowest teacher-student ratio.