The Whitefish Bay School District received high marks in a series of school report cards released Monday by the Department of Public Instruction.
The report cards were issued to all Wisconsin public schools for the first time Monday as one component of the state's school accountability system aimed at raising academic expectations. The accountability system 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."
In Whitefish Bay, all four of the district's schools ranked either as "significantly exceeds expectations" or "exceeds expectations."
Cumberland School received the highest score in the district with a grade of 84.5. Richards School received a 79.3, Whitefish Bay Middle School received a 78.5 and Whitefish Bay High School received a 82.8.
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The cut off between "significantly exceeds expectations" and "exceeds expectations" is 82.9.
Superintendent Mary Gavigan said the state's focus on accountability and higher standards is a welcome challenge for Whitefish Bay schools, which have gained notoriety through high ACT scores and other indicators.
"We’ve long embraced higher expectations and rigorous curriculum," Gavigan said. "Our commitment in our district focus plan is to supporting each student to yet higher levels of student achievement, and we are committed to continued school improvement."
Gavigan said the district will use the information from the school report cards to further improve the district in the future.
The report cards grade schools 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.
In a news release, Superintendent Tony Evers said the preliminary school report cards are "a starting point" and will change over time.
Gavigan noted there are factors of a child's education — such as fine arts — that are not measured by the school report cards.
"While assessments on the school report cards are important tools, I think it’s important to remember there is more to a child’s education and a child’s school than any single score,” Gavigan said.