Falls schools earn passing grades
All three schools in the Sheboygan Falls School District have made the grade in the first round of report cards issued by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
SFSD Director of Instruction Mary Lofy presented the results, during a Sheboygan Falls School Board meeting Monday, Oct. 22, at the high school library.
Lofy stated that each district school in the state received its own report card that evaluated its performance based on multiple measures.
The card included an overall accountability rating on a 100- point scale. The five categories of ratings ranged from fails to meet expectations (0-52.9) to signifi- cantly exceeds expectations (83- 100).
Other ratings categories were: meets few expectations (53-62.9), meets expectations (63.72.9) and exceeds expectations (73-82.9).
The high school came in with the highest rating of the three schools with a 75.8 score, which fell into the exceeds expectations category.
The middle school earned a 69.7 rating and the elementary school was graded at 69.1 to register in the meets expectations category.
“I was very excited when I saw the scores,” Lofy said. “To have all three schools in the meeting expectations categories is a nice achievement. Of course, our goal is to move up higher and we will be working hard to do that.”
The state-issued ratings are based on an analysis of student test scores from the 2011-12 school year that takes into account a variety of factors, including achievement gaps among groups of students, absenteeism and level of test participation.
“Our standing has previously been based solely on WKCE test scores, but now the state has decided to open up the evaluation process to provide a more complete and balanced picture of school performance that can be used as a guide for school improvement,” Lofy said.
The ratings for each school were based on four priority areas, including student achievement in reading and math; student growth in reading and math; closing gaps in reading math and graduation rates and on-track and post-secondary readiness in third-grade reading, eighth-grade math, ACT test participation, attendance rates and graduation rates.
Priority ratings at the high school were as follows: student achievement in reading and math (73.8 out of 100 – 66.5 state average), closing gaps in reading achievement, math achievement and graduation rates (69.3 out of 100 – 69.9 state average) and ontrack and post-secondary readiness in graduation rate and ACT test participation (88.7 out of 100 – 82.3 state average).
Priority ratings at the middle school were as follows: student achievement in reading and math (69.5 out of 100 – 66.4 state average), student growth in reading and math (66.6 out of 100 – 55.0 state average), closing gaps in reading achievement, math achievement (55.2 out of 100 – 69.6 state average) and on-track and post-secondary readiness in attendance rate and eighth-grade math achievement (87.5 out of 100 – 88.9 state average).
Priority ratings at the elementary school were as follows: student achievement in reading and math (68.7 out of 100 – 66.4 state average), student growth in reading and math (59.6 out of 100 – 67.4 state average), closing gaps in reading achievement, math achievement (60.4 out of 100 – 69.5 state average) and on-track and post-secondary readiness in attendance rate and third-grade math achievement (87.9 out of 100 – 86.7 state average).
Lofy also noted that all three schools avoided receiving any student engagement deductions for absenteeism, drop out rate or test participation rate, which could have lowered the overall score.
“I am very pleased that we did not have any deductions,” Lofy said. “Our attendance rates are strong and we are proud of that. We are checking with the state about our graduation rate. While we did not fall below the target line, we aren’t sure if the number the state used match up with the numbers we have been using. We are following up with the state on that now.”
“While the results are very encouraging overall, we will be focusing on improving our ratings in the areas of student growth and closing gaps,” Lofy said.
District Administrator Jean Born pointed out that the school report card accountability system is part of a package of educational reforms that also includes development of a new state achievement test, a new data system and new teacher evaluation methods.
“It is nice to see us above the state average in many of the categories,” Born said. “I think the School Board and everyone in the district should be pleased. This is just the start of this evaluation process. Like Mary said, we will be continuing to put a strong focus on improving our gap scores.”
Board member Peter Geise said all state members should be acknowledged for the strong ratings.
“This is very good news,” Geise said. “It is something everyone involved in the district should be proud of.”
The report cards for the elementary, middle and high school are available on the web site www.sheboyganfalls.k12.wi.us.
For more information about the reforms known as Agenda 2017, go to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s web site, http://dpi.wi.gov/sprntdnt/2017.
For more information about the new school report cards, contact SFSD Director of Instruction Mary Lofy at 467-7893 or mlofy@ sheboyganfalls.k12.wi.us
In other business, the board approved the 2012-13 district budget, featuring a 1.04 percent property tax decrease.
The tax decline reverses a recent trend of tax hikes for district residents, including a 4.96 percent increase last year, a 6.68 percent hike in 2010-11 and a 9.64 percent jump in 2009-10.
Director of Business Services Mary Blaha said the tax decrease is due in part to an increase in state aid and a decline in enrollment.
State aid jumped to $9,532,266, up $275,735 from $9,256,531.
“Our state equalization aid increased 3.78 percent this year compared to last year, which is a very positive thing for our district,” Blaha said. “All in all, I am very pleased with this budget.”
The board approved a total tax levy of $8,652,395, which is a decrease of $91,315 from 2011-12 when it was $8,743,710.
The mill rate of $10.05 per thousand of assessed valuation, represents a $.04 decrease from last year’s rate of $10.09 per thousand of assessed value.
Total district revenue fell $35,466 from $18,065,995 last year to $18,030,529, while expenses increased $461,868 from $17,568,661 in 2011-12 to $18,030,529 in 2012-13.
The board approved upcoming Wednesday and Sunday programs for the recreation department and aquatic center, which primarily involved traveling basketball team practices on Sunday afternoons.
The board approved a resolution authorizing the issuance of individual procurement cards for specific staff members and departments.
Born said the procurement cards are similar to credit cards, but do not carry a revolving line of credit.
“The procurement cards will provide an increased level of documentation for credit card purchases and provide purchasing and reporting efficiencies,” Born said. “They work particularly well for reporting purposes.”
The board approved the renewal of the Kohler-Sheboygan Falls girls swimming co-op agreement for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.
Currently, five Sheboygan Falls swimmers are participating on the co-op team, which includes swimmers from Elkhart Lake, Sheboygan Christian and Sheboygan Lutheran, as well as Kohler.
The board also approved the student school handbooks.
Board members also engaged in a brief discussion about the status of the facilities improvement project.
After reviewing the results of a community survey regarding middle school upgrade options, the board agreed to pursue the construction of a new middle school building on a new site at a special meeting held on Oct. 18.
Board President John Mauer said the board must now focus on potential locations for the new middle school, in preparation for a referendum to be included on the spring 2013 ballot.
“Now that we have selected the option that we will be going with, obviously location is the key,” Mauer said. “That is our focus now. When that is established, we can move into more of the specifics regarding cost.”
Board members also discussed the timeframe for a community wide public forum on the proposed referendum in December.
The new Sheboygan Falls School Board meeting will be held Monday, Nov. 19, at 6:30 p.m. in the Sheboygan Falls High School library.