Greenfield School District works toward a better grade

One school failed to meet expectation in state's report card

Sept. 24, 2013

Greenfield — For the first time in the two years that the state Department of Public Instruction has given out school report cards, the Greenfield School District has a school that doesn't meet state expectations.

With an accountability score of 59.9, Glenwood Elementary School fell below the 63 needed to meet expectations. The school's 2012-13 score is far below the 67.3 it got the first year of the report cards.

Despite falling short overall, Glenwood only slightly trailed the other elementary schools in its ability to keep children on-track for graduation and sufficiently prepared for college.

The DPI recently released its school and district report cards for the 2012-13 school year to give an indication of how well the schools are preparing youth for college and careers.

Improving the grade

To improve Glenwood's report recard, Charity Eich, director of curriculum, instruction and assessments for kindergarten through fifth grade, said she has been meeting with the principal and will hold collaboration sessions with the teachers. Among the options they will look at are bringing in a teaching coach or an interventionist.

It will be tough to evaluate what happened last year, because there are so many teachers new to Glenwood this year, as is the principal, School Board member Cathy Walsh observed.

"We're a new group," she said.

But the staff will develop a plan taking the school from where it is now and put it on the school website, Eich said.

That will be a reassuring step, Walsh said.

"We need to be able to tell the public this is why you can have confidence in us," she said.

Glenwood's report card shows it falling particularly short on reading and writing, Eich said.

School officials look forward to bringing that up for Glenwood and all the elementary schools because this year the schools went to a more challenging type of writing, Elliott said. Students are being asked to write more opinion and argument pieces, the kind of writing they will be expected to do in college and careers, she noted.

Walsh also saw another avenue for improvement: the new positive behavior program started this year at the school. With better behavior in the classroom, comes better learning, she said.

Not a quick fix

Superintendent Lisa Elliott, who joined the district over the summer, did offer a cautionary note. Even if the measures to be developed are completely successful next year, evidence of that success won't show up in the report cards for years.

That's because the state report cards are a rolling average of three years, she said, so even a stellar year would be muffled by previous lackluster years.

Not only that, the next round of state testing will come too soon for any adjustments to have an effect on next year's report cards, Elliott said. The Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exams, which are major factors in school report card scores, will be given in October.

Despite the problem at Glenwood, School Board President Bruce Bailey was upbeat.

"I'm feeling very positive about some of the changes that are going to be taking place at Glenwood," he said. "We will look at curriculum and the new superintendent has got some good ideas."

"I would say that in the next couple of years we will not only improve but exceed expectations in most of our schools. That's how positive I feel about the new administration," Bailey said.

Expectations met, too

Aside from the Glenwood fall, last year's report card results are roughly the same as the previous year.

A total of two Greenfield schools exceeded expectations again last year. Elmdale Elementary did so both years, while Maple Grove Elementary gained that distinction in the first year and Edgewood Elementary did last year.

One of the important scores is the on-track score, which indicates whether students are on track to graduate and will be ready for post-secondary education. On-track benchmarks exist even for elementary schools.

The overall accountability score takes into account a number of factors, with student achievement being only one.

The accountability score is made up of two major parts.

The first is a set of four priority areas: student achievement (proficiency in reading and math), growth in student achievement, educational gap reduction (so all student groups — including low-income or racial groups — keep up with the rest of the students), and on-track to graduation and post-secondary readiness. Each of the four is scored on a 0 to 100 point scale.

The second major component of the accountability score is a set of three student engagement indicators: dropout rate, absenteeism and test participation rate.

Accountability index
Student achievementGrowthClosing gapsOn-track
High schoolGreenfield69.360.4N/A68.384.3
Middle schoolGreenfield66.962.650.466.388.4
K-5Edgewood 73.463.565.77787.3
Elm Dale 73.971.765.369.689.2
Glenwood 59.959.755.637.886.3
Maple Grove 71.268.966.561.587.1
Significantly exceeds expectations, 83 to 100; exceeds expectations, at least 73; meets expectations, at least 63; meets few expectations, at least 53


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