Two area school districts exceeded expectations and one district met expectations on the state’s 2020-’21 report cards, according to data released by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) earlier this month.

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.

The DPI released the 2020-’21 report cards on Tuesday, Nov. 16.

The state-mandated 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.

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 78.3, Three Lakes was at 73.7 and Phelps was at 70.8, improving from 68.3 last year. Scores are calculated in four priority areas: achievement; growth; target group outcomes; and on-track to graduation.

Both federal and state law require DPI to annually release accountability reports, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these report requirements were suspended for the 2019-’20 school year. Because of ongoing pandemic impacts, the U.S. Department of Education again waived federal Every Student Succeeds Act accountability requirements for 2020-’21 school year data. However, the Wisconsin State Legislature did not grant another suspension. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DPI urges using caution when interpreting scores and ratings.

Northland Pines

Northland Pines School District had an overall score of 78.3, which “exceeds expectations” with the high school coming in the highest at 81.0 and the St. Germain Elementary School at 80.8. According to District Administrator Scott Foster, Northland Pines has “exceeded expectations” since the start of state report cards in 2012-’13.

“We have a fantastic staff who have been working really hard and doing excellent work,” said Foster.

The district report card, in addition to each individual school that a report card was provided on, scored in the category of “exceeds expectations,” according to Karie Jo Bornberg, director of teaching and learning. The Eagle River Elementary School was at 72.6 and the middle school was at 79.3.

“Schools that are on an alternate rating system (SOAR High School and Land O’ Lakes Elementary due to the number of students) also were noted to be making adequate progress (schools on this alternate rating system are only giving two options, making or not making adequate progress),” said Bornberg.

“This is a celebration for the district and a testament to the work and dedication of all staff throughout the past couple of years during this pandemic,” said Bornberg. “As a district, Northland Pines has scored “Exceeds Expectations” since the state report cards began back in 2012; the focus on continuous improvement will help the District continue down the path to excellence.

Three Lakes

Overall, the Three Lakes School District received a score of 73.7 for the 2020-’21 school year, which puts it in the “exceeds expectations” category. Three Lakes Elementary received an 80.5, which is in the “exceeds expectations” category. Sugar Camp Elementary received a 76.6, which is in the “exceeds expectations” category; Three Lakes Junior High received a 59.5, which is in the “meets expectations” category; and Three Lakes High School received a 74.5, which is in the “exceeds expectations” category.

“The Three Lakes School District is dedicated to delivering excellent educational programming while focusing on continuous school improvement,” said District Administrator Teri Maney. “Informative data is not extracted solely from the criteria used in the school report card, but also in our local review and analysis. We want to be highly aware of what we are doing well and where we can improve our instruction resulting in increased learning outcomes and success of our students.”

Maney stated that although the pandemic presented challenges, she’s proud of how the district upheld its level of academic excellence.

“I am most proud of the fact that our district maintained on-site, five-days-a-week instruction while offering multiple opportunities for families faced with unique challenges during the heart of the pandemic,” Maney said. “Our students, staff and families demonstrated resilience and determination to continue with our educational mission. That is who we are and what we do.”


Phelps School District overall report card score for 2020-’21 was 68.3, meaning the district “meets expectations,” according to the DPI.

The Phelps Elementary School had a score of 69.9. The Phelps High School had an alternate score.

“Phelps High School does not receive a rating in the state report card due to low student count. However, each year Phelps High School must demonstrate continued student academic growth. This is accomplished using our MAP and standardized state test results,” said District Administrator Delnice Hill.

According to the report, Phelps had 72 students in grades K4-8 and 31 in the high school.

“Our elementary and middle school test results continue to show solid academic achievement and growth. Our lower elementary students in grades 4K-2 achieve high reading test scores in the State PALS assessment. Overall we are very pleased with our scores and continue to work hard to close the learning gap for all our students.”

State figures

For 2020-’21, 2,101 public schools and 376 choice schools received report cards. Of those schools, 1,781 met, exceeded, or significantly exceeded expectations. Of the total schools, 199 public schools and 240 choice schools did not have enough available data to receive scored report cards. Of the 421 school districts that received report cards, 399 met, exceeded, or significantly exceeded expectations.

By law, the larger the percentage of a school or district’s students who are economically disadvantaged, the more the growth measure contributes to its overall score. This allows schools and districts to be rewarded for advancing students’ progress regardless of their starting level. If there is insufficient data to calculate a priority area score, the measure is omitted and the remaining measures weigh more heavily in the overall score.

This year’s report cards replace the closing gaps priority area of past years with the new target group outcomes priority area. The priority area target group outcomes sheds additional light on students in the school with test scores in the lowest quartile. This measure was designed to help focus support on the learners who need it most, while also improving outcomes for all students.

Another new addition to report cards this year is an optional narrative statement for districts and schools to showcase information that is not otherwise communicated in the report card.

For detailed school and district report cards, visit