Two area school districts exceeded expectations and one district met expectations on the state’s 2017-’18 report cards, according to data released by the Wisconsin Department of Public In­struc­tion (DPI) last week.

The Northland Pines and Three Lakes school districts received four out of five stars on the report card, meaning they exceeded expectations. Meanwhile, the Phelps School District received three stars out of five and met expectations.

In the third year of report cards that use legislatively mandated growth and value-added calculations, 83.7% of Wisconsin’s public and private school report cards had three or more stars, meaning the schools met or exceeded expectations for educating students. More than 96.4% of the state’s public school districts earned at least a three-star rating.

Report cards are intended to help schools and districts use performance data to target improvement efforts to ensure students are ready for their next educational step, including the next grade level, graduation, college and careers. 

School officials point out the report cards do not present a full picture of the important work taking place in schools throughout the state.

Districts and schools that had a score of between 83-100 significantly exceed expectations; between 73-82.9 exceed expectations; between 63-72.9 meet expectations; between 53-62.9 meet few expectations; and between 0-52.9 fail to meet expectations.

The Northland Pines School District had an overall report card score of 75.7, Three Lakes was at 78.2 and Phelps was at 64.1. Priority areas ranked included student achievement, district growth, closing gaps, and on-track and post-secondary readiness.

Data is taken from the ACT in grade 11 and the Wisconsin Forward Exam (grades 3-8 in ELA/math, grades 4 and 8 in social studies/science, and grade 10 in social studies). Schools need to have longitudinal data and be in operation for three years to receive a school report card. They also need to have more than 20 students.

Northland Pines

In the Northland Pines School District, St. Germain Elementary School significantly exceeded expectations with a score of 84.4, followed by Land O’ Lakes Elementary at 82.6 and Eagle River Elementary School at 67.2.

Northland Pines High School exceeded expectations at 76.7 and Northland Pines Middle School (with grades seven and eight in the high school building) met expectations at 67.1.

The SOAR Middle School came in at 74.8, meeting expectations. The SOAR High School received an alternate rating of satisfactory prog­ress and the Montessori Learning Center received an alternate rating of satisfactory progress, both ratings due to insufficient data.

“We are pleased and proud of outcomes, but we also recognize and have things in motion to improve the areas that we know we can and expect to do better,” said Northland Pines District Administrator Scott Foster. “Our staff, students and parents all play a key role in these scores and all will play a role in our continued efforts to get better every day.”

Foster said some of the highlights of the Northland Pines School District (NPSD) report card include:

? District report card went up from 2016-’17 from 74.4 to 75.7.

? NPSD has exceeded expectations on the district report card since DPI began the program in 2012-’13.

? NPSD is above the state average in all four main categories on the report card (student achievement, district growth, closing gaps and postsecondary readiness).

? Zero deductions were taken out on NPSD’s overall score indicating absenteeism and dropout rates are low.

? NPSD has a high graduation rate of 96.6%, which is over the state average of 90.5%.

? On track post secondary readiness/success is very high districtwide.

? Many schools at NPSD not only meet expectations, but exceed them.

? District activities, initiatives and meeting structures in place support identified areas of growth.

Three Lakes

For the second consecutive year, the Three Lakes School District received an exceeds expectations rating on the state report card with a score of 78.2 for the 2017-’18 school year.

Three Lakes Elementary School received an 84.9, putting it in the significantly exceeds expectations category. Sugar Camp Elementary School received an 82.0, putting it in the exceeds expectations category. Three Lakes Junior High received a 74.3, placing it in the exceeds expectations category. Three Lakes High School received a 66.7, putting it in the meets expectations category.

“The district staff is pleased with the overall ranking on the state report,” said Three Lakes 7-12 Principal Gene Welhoefer. “We believe this is because of the way our students approach their education as well as what happens in our district on a daily basis. We are fully aware that we are only part of the student success equation. The parents and community members of our district also play a role in the success of our students.”

Welhoefer said that the Three Lakes School District acknowledges the report cards are only one mechanism to measure success.

“We also know that student success cannot be measured solely by one score,” Welhoefer said. “Having high expectations and being accountable to stakeholders is a good thing. Even with the current results, we are looking to find areas for improvement to better serve our students in the future.”

Phelps District

The Phelps School District had an overall rating of 64.1, meeting expectations. The Phelps Elementary School had an overall score of 64.9, again meeting expectations.

Phelps High School had an alternate rating of satisfactory progress due to an enrollment of just 55 students.

Statewide results

Statewide, an increasing percentage of public and private schools and public school districts met expectations on report cards issued for the 2017-’18 school year compared to the prior year. Overall, 83.7% of rated schools meet or exceed expectations as did 96.4% of the state’s 422 public school districts.

Report cards provide a snapshot of performance across the four priority areas and can be used to target improvement efforts. To expand the picture of school performance, the Legislature, in 2017 Wisconsin Act 59, directed that additional college and career readiness information be included in report cards. 

For the current school year, schools and school districts are collecting data on participation in postsecondary coursework (dual enrollment), youth apprenticeship programs, and Advanced Placement coursework as well as acquisition of industry recognized credentials through a school’s technical education program and students’ community service hours.

At the highest accountability level, 49 districts had a five-star rating, which means they significantly exceed expectations. Most districts, 206, achieved four stars, which means they exceed expectations. The three-star, meets expectations, rating was given to 152 districts. Fourteen districts were rated two stars, meets few expectations. 

At the school level, 327 public and private school report cards earned five stars (significantly exceeds expectations), 768 earned four stars (exceeds expectations), 671 earned three stars (meets expectations) 249 earned two stars (meets few expectations), and 95 earned one star (fails to meet expectations). 

Of the schools receiving report cards through the alternate accountability process, 185 were rated as making satisfactory progress and 19 were rated as needing improvement. Alternate ac­count­ability (AA) is a self-evaluation of a school’s performance on raising student achievement in English language arts and mathematics. It is used for new schools, schools without tested grades, schools exclusively serving at-risk students, and schools with fewer than 20 full-time academic year students who took tests. There were 175 schools that were not rated, generally due to insufficient data.