River Heights Elementary School landed in the top category of the state’s 2016-17 school year report card, the Menomonie School Board learned Monday. In fact, the School District of the Menomonie Area (SDMA) is showing its largest improvements in student achievement and growth.

River Heights significantly exceeded expectations with a rating of 83.4 percent. And every one of the district’s schools fell into the categories of “meets or exceeded expectations”, landing the district at a 72.7 rating achieving the expectations set by the state. The district’s score was .3 percent shy of the exceeding expectations threshold, but it still represents a significant increase from last year’s 68.2 percent rating.

Director of Instruction Brian Seguin said five of Menomonie’s seven school buildings saw an increase from last year’s scores.

“We are seeing a lot of the hard work that our staff are doing is paying off on our complimentary report cards,” he said.

Other scores within the district include:

  • Menomonie Middle School “met expectations” with a score of 72.8, up from last year’s 66.2
  • Menomonie High School “met expectations” at 66.3, a slight decrease from last year’s score of 66.8.
  • Downsville Elementary “exceeded expectations” at 79.8, down from last year’s score of 86.7
  • Knapp Elementary “met expectations” at 72.6, a significant increase from last year’s score of 64.5
  • Oaklawn Elementary “exceeded expectations” at 74.9, a slight bump from 73.8 last year
  • Wakanda “met expectations” at 72.3, up from 71.8 last year.

Seguin told the board that this is the second year the new format has been utilized under which the ratings report covers multiple years worth of standardized assessment data. He said three years worth of information is the minimum for these reports, while some categories require up to five years worth of data, if available.

The categories rated include student achievement and growth in both English Language Arts (ELA) and math and post secondary readiness.

The closing gaps category focuses on measuring how well districts and schools are working on closing statewide gaps in academic achievement and graduation rates between groups of students.

On track and post secondary readiness give districts an indication of how successfully students are achieving educational milestones that predict post secondary readiness for college and career. The category is measured in two parts. The first includes both graduation and attendance rates and the second includes third-grade ELA achievement and eighth grade math achievement.

Making improvements in ELA and eighth grade math will be a top priority for the SDMA.

“We have seen improvements in those areas over the years, but we still have that identified as a next step,” Seguin said.

Accountability report

In addition to the statewide report card, the district also compiled data for an accountability report card (2.0), which is in its first year of being tracked. Seguin presented this report card as another snapshot of student achievement, growth and readiness that is not included in the statewide report card.

The accountability 2.0 report card recorded the following data for the K-12 SDMA system:

  • 248 advanced placement (AP) enrollments
  • 188 AP exams taken
  • 77 percent of students who took exams scored a three or higher (on a 5-point scale)
  • 113 state skills certifications earned
  • 24 youth apprenticeships earned
  • 100 percent of K-5 students have artwork displayed within the community; participating in music/art/physical education
  • 971 students participating in activities
  • 18 global education achievement certifications awarded
  • 95 percent recorded five or fewer documented behavioral incidents

“This is kind of a pilot run. ... Next year, as we build upon this, we will be able to have some comparable data,” Superintendent Joe Zydowsky said.