Earlier this month, the Department of Public Instruction released school accountability report cards for publicly funded schools in Wisconsin. According to the DPI, “These report cards help parents and educators understand how their school is doing, as well as where it can improve to help all children learn, advance to the next grade, and graduate ready for college and career.”

School officials in the School District of the Menomonie Area are very happy to report that all schools — and the school district as a whole — either met or exceeded the expectations set by the state. Brian Seguin*, SDMA Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, pointed out that all schools in the SDMA scored well on this year’s report, and in a comparison with previous year measures, the overall marks for schools in Menomonie are improving.

According to the DPI, the accountability report cards include data on multiple indicators for multiple years across four priority areas: student achievement, student growth, closing gaps, and measurements of being on-track for post-secondary success. In addition, given the impact on student success, the accountability report cards also measure chronic absenteeism and graduation rates.

Over the past few weeks, district administrators have been visiting with instructional staff at each of the district’s seven schools to celebrate the results and discuss next steps for continued progress. Students in the Menomonie Area have demonstrated improvement on student achievement measures, and the scores for student growth and closing achievement gaps between various subgroups has outpaced the state.

According to Seguin, while improvement has been observed in each of the areas, continuing to improve overall student achievement across the school district and increasing scores in the state’s post-secondary readiness categories could help the school district reach the next level of recognition on the state report card.

While educators in the Menomonie Area have made many improvements over the years to core instructional practices for all students, the effective use of data to inform instructional practices for individual students will continue to be a priority for teachers in our schools. Focused professional development, continued work on curriculum alignment, and purposeful collaboration through professional learning communities are some of the ways that Menomonie Area teachers are ensuring that school measures will continue to improve.

Despite the success on the state accountability report cards, the school district also continues to emphasize a “whole child” approach to educating students. In addition to reviewing the state report cards at a recent meeting of the school board, district officials also presented a supplementary report that was dubbed SDMA Report Card 2.0.

The SDMA Report Card 2.0 was composed of indicators that district leaders described as additional data demonstrating well-rounded student success in other district programs. These measures included: the number of students participating in Advanced Placement programming, earning state skills or global education achievement certifications, and participating in youth apprenticeships or school activities; the percentage of students showcasing art work in the community; the percentage of elementary students participating in encore programming with a Physical Education, Music, or Art specialists; and the percentage of students with five or fewer documented behavior incidents.

While the inaugural SDMA Report Card 2.0 did not allow for previous year comparisons, the amount of well-rounded student success in the SDMA was quite impressive.

Should school families or community stakeholders have any questions about the school accountability report cards or concerns, ideas, or suggestions for anything else in our school district, I invite you visit the Administrative Service Center on Pine Avenue, or contact me at 715-232-1642. More information about our schools can be found on the school district website (www.sdmaonline.com), and I regularly post school-related information on Twitter (www.twitter.com/sdmaonline) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/menomonie.schools)

*Thank you to SDMA Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Brian Seguin for contributing to this article.

Joe Zydowsky, Ph.D. is the district administrator for the School District of the Menomonie Area.

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Dunn County News editor

Barbara Lyon is the editor of The Dunn County News in Menomonie, WI.

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