By Tracy Ouellette

SLN Staff

The East Troy Schools are meeting expectations according to the recently released report cards for the 2016-17 school year from the Wisconsin Department of Instruction.

The district as a whole received a grade of 72, which is on the high end of the “meets expectations” rating.

Schools scoring between 83 and 100 significantly exceeded expectations, between 73 and 82.9 exceeded expectations, 63 to 72.9 met expectations, 53 to 62.9 met few expectations and zero to 52.9 failed to meet expectations.

Prairie View Elementary School had the highest score in the district, with a 74.9, falling into the exceeds expectations rating. The high school had a 66.1 rating to meet expectations and the middle school had a 63.4 rating, which also fell into the meets expectations rating.

Because Doubek Elementary School is kindergarten through first-grade school it is not scored the same way. Doubek received an alternative rating of “satisfactory progress.”

Both the high school and middle school saw drops in their rating from last year, with drops from 71.5 to 66.1 and 63.5 to 63.4 respectively. Prairie View’s rating rose more than a full point, from 73.7 to 74.9.

The DPI report cards use three years of standardized test scores to determine student achievement, student growth and “closing the gaps” between student groups.

“Prairie View continues to exceeds expectations and we’re pleased with how well the kids are doing,” Daphne Kohnke, director of curriculum and instruction and district assessment coordinator, said.

“The middle school made some gains over last year,” she continued. “Their overall score might not reflect the gains they’ve made, but they are right on track.”

Kohnke said part of the problem with the middle school’s lower rating is the standardized test scores, which are skewed because of who is opting out of taking the tests.

“We have a population at the middle school that parents continue to have them opt out and contrary to popular belief, the kids who opt out aren’t the lower performers, but the high performers,” she said. “That directly impacts the over all score.”

Kohnke said the district exceeded the closing gaps climbing from a 68.5 rating to 73.4 rating this year, 12 points above the state average.

“That was nice to see,” she said. “The closing gaps look at the subgroups in the student population like special education students, low income, English language learners, etc. The state looks at those subgroups and does in-depth calculations to adjust for things like this.

“It’s a way to compare apples to apples and we are making with those lower-performing groups and getting them to grade-level expectations. That’s important progress.”

Kohnke said the district has a significant group of economically disadvantaged students.

“When you look at the subgroups the state is comparing, that’s our largest group,” she said. “We don’t have a lot of English as a second language students or other subgroups, but we do have a discrepancy with our economically disadvantaged students.

“But the good news from this is that we’re reaching these kids and we’re not letting that get in the way of learning. This is a problem across the country, not just in East Troy. The emotional needs in our little kids are just greater and that can get in the way of learning.”

Kohnke said the district has been working diligently on aligning the curriculum in the schools to the common core standards to address some of the lower state test scores the district has seen in the past couple of years.

“We don’t like to focus on one test, but we have made a lot of strides in adjusting instruction and addressing some of those common core standards,” she said. “We’re really putting a lot of effort into our instructional practices to make sure we’re really teaching the standards.

“I think our progress can be seen in the classroom with the personalized learning that’s going on and how engaged the kids are. Things are really starting to click. We’re starting to see as shift in the scores because of that. But, it’s a process and we’re not there yet.

Kohnke said the district had a solid vision and was committed to implementing it, acknowledging change takes time.

“We are working on making that vision come to light with personalized learning and I truly believe with aligning our curriculum and knowing our learning targets and by shifting our instructional practices we’re going to see growth in test scores.

“Here’s the thing, tests are important, but learning is more important and we’re not teaching to a test, we’re preparing these kids for anything. Our scores will continue to grow, slow and steady, as we’re moving in the right direction, but it’s the learning that matters.”


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