Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The School District of Janesville “Exceeds Expectations”

The School District of Janesville (SDJ) scored in the Exceeds Expectations category with a 74.8 for the Overall Accountability Score on the first State of Wisconsin District Report Card. Based on how well schools perform in priority areas, schools and districts will receive an accountability score on a 0-100 scale and its associated accountability rating.  The district report card is calculated for the district as a whole. 

The 2012-2013 School Report Cards are also very encouraging.  Two SDJ schools Met Expectations, fourteen Exceeded Expectations, and one Significantly Exceeded Expectations.  This was Harrison Elementary School’s second year scoring in the Significantly Exceeds Expectations category, the highest distinction available.  The report cards signal a new era of school accountability that honors the complex work of schools and focuses on making sure students graduate ready for college and career.

The report cards were made public on Tuesday, September 17, 2013. School report cards place an important value on integrating information; they are used to tell the public the progress schools are making and gives direction to schools about ways they can improve student learning.  In short, the new system is designed to be both informative and useful. 

Each year, on the report cards, schools receive one of five accountability ratings.  These ratings are based on a score from these four priority areas:  Student Achievement, Student Growth, Closing Gaps and On-Track to Graduation and Postsecondary Readiness.

Student Achievement
Student Achievement is calculated using reading and mathematics data related to state assessments

The district scored above the State in Student Achievement with the distinction of Meets Expectations.   Every SDJ school improved their score in this area from 2011-12 to 2012-13.  Harrison scored in the Significantly Exceeds Expectation category, the first school in Janesville to achieve this distinction.

Student Growth
Student Growth is measured by year-to-year improvements in achievement

The School District of Janesville’s strongest priority area was in the student growth category.  The district scored 10.6 points above the state average. All elementary schools and two middle schools were above the state average.  Jackson, Roosevelt, Van Buren, and Washington’s scores were 18 to 20 points above the state average, placing them in the Significantly Exceeds Expectations rating category.  This was the second year for Roosevelt achieving at this level.  Student growth has been an important goal for the School District of Janesville, especially in reading and math. 

Closing Gaps
Closing Gaps refers to performance between specific students groups (comparing English Language learners, low-income students, students with disabilities, and members of racial or ethnic groups with their peers).

SDJ also exceeded expectations in the priority area Closing Gaps.  All schools met or exceeded expectations in this priority area, with the exception of Jefferson which was just 0.2 percentage points from reaching Meets Expectations.  Jackson was given the rating category of Significantly Exceeds Expectations

On-Track to Graduation and Postsecondary Readiness

On-Track to Graduation and Postsecondary Readiness uses reliable predictors of high school graduation and postsecondary success.

All Janesville schools met or exceeded expectations in this priority area.  The district along with sixteen schools scored in the Significantly Exceeds Expectations rating category.  Jackson and Wilson both scored in the Exceeds Expectations category.  The calculation for this area includes student attendance rates, third grade reading, eighth grade math, graduation rate, and ACT participation and performance.   
Kim Ehrhardt, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment credits the successful district report card results with improved revisions to the curriculum and its implementation, frequent attention to measuring student learning to ensure students are mastering the curriculum, and improved effort on the part of students to value their learning.  In addition, high quality instruction by the teaching staff, and ongoing support and feedback from building principals are other critical components to this year’s success. 

Finally, efforts by the Student Services staff to work with homes and emphasize the benefits of regular school attendance and increasing student confidence related to school is another strategic response that helps promote student achievement in the district.

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