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Are Sussex Schools Making the Grade?

A new state report card details Hamilton School District's high marks.

The Hamilton School District recieved high marks in a series of report cards on its schools released Monday by the Department of Public Instruction. 

All of the schools in the district ranked either as "significantly exceeds expectations" or "exceeds expections," according to the department's new accountability system that allowed Wisconsin to earn a waiver from meeting certain 2014 requirements of No Child Left Behind.

Schools received scores using a 0 to 100 scale, corresponding with five categories starting at Fails to Meet Expectations" and topping out with "Significantly Exceeds Expectations." 

Lannon Elementary received a 83.2, Maple Avenue Elementary received a 77.9, Marcy Elementary received a 90.8 and Woodside Elementary received a 80.2. Templeton Middle School received a 80.5 and Hamilton High School received a 81.5.

The cut off between "significantly exceeds expectations" and "exceeds expections" is 82.9. 

The district said its schools scored highest in the areas of “student achievement” and “on-track for graduation/postsecondary readiness.”

In a statement released Monday, the district said that its "strategic plan has been a roadmap with action steps that have focused on a rigorous and relevant curriculum, innovative instruction, quality assessment practices, closing achievement gaps among student groups and professional development for staff."

“Hamilton has done well under the new state accountability system because for years our strategic plan has focused on the priority areas that are being assessed,” Hamilton Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., said. “Ensuring maximum achievement for each child is our mission, and staff members are committed to helping students reach their potential.”

Data was released to schools earlier this month, but has been embargoed to allow districts to vet them for errors. 

Under the new system, schools are graded in these areas:

  • Student achievement in reading and mathematics on state assessments.
  • Student growth measured by year-to-year improvements in achievement.
  • Closing gaps in performance between specific student groups.
  • Progress to graduation/post secondary readiness using reliable predictors of high school graduation and post-secondary success.

The scores will be detailed in 18-page report on each school. The DPI scoring uses last year’s data.

The DPI will recognize top performers as “rewards schools.” Struggling schools will be required to start interventions and develop improvement plans.

The new system is part of state Superintendent Tony Evers' Agenda 2017 program, aimed at better preparing students for college and the workforce in Wisconsin, and improving high school graduation rates. The program includes changes in the way of how teachers are evaluated and student achievement is measured.

Wisconsin is among 32 states across the country creating its own accountability system, after being granted a NCLB wavier. Under the exemption, the state is released from meeting a 2014 deadline requiring 100 percent of students be proficient in reading and math.

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