The results are in, and the Lake Mills Area School District joins the approximately 95% of school districts in the state to meet, exceed or extremely exceed expectations. Overall, the LMASD score was 74.7, putting it in the exceeds expectations category.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction on Nov. 16 published public and choice school district report cards for the 2020-21 school year. The report cards were not issued last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report cards are part of the DPI’s accountability system and available to view online at the organization’s website.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DPI urged using caution when interpreting scores and ratings.

Of the 421 school districts that received report cards, 399 met, exceeded, or significantly exceed expectations. Twenty-two districts in the state failed to meet expectations.

Report card ratings range from five stars, denoting schools and districts that significantly exceed expectations, to one star for those that fail to meet expectations. For 2020-21, 2,101 public schools and 376 choice schools received report cards.

A school or district’s overall accountability score places the school/district into one of five overall accountability ratings. Those include significantly exceeds expectations, 83 to 100 range; exceeds expectations, 70 to 82.9; meets expectations, 58 to 69.9; meets few expectations, 48 to 57.9; and fails to meet expectations, 0 to 47.9. No district in the area was rated failure to meet expectations.

Of those schools, 1,781 met, exceeded or significantly exceed expectations. Of the total schools, 199 public schools and 240 choice schools did not have enough available data to receive scored report cards.

In 2018-2019, abut 96% of the districts met expectations or performed better than expected.

Scores are calculated on achievement, growth, target group outcomes, and how well students are on-track to graduation. Achievement summarizes how the district’s students performed on state assessment testing. The score is a multi-year average of English language arts and mathematics subscores.

Growth measures year-to-year student progress on statewide tests for English language arts and mathematics. It uses a value-added model to control for circumstances beyond the influence of educators. A high valued-added score means that on average students in the district quicker than other similar students.

Target group examines outcomes for students with the lowest test scores. It is designed to promote equity by helping districts focus on learners who need the most support while improving outcomes for all students. The score combines achievement, growth, chronic absenteeism, and graduation rate.

On-track to graduation indicates how students are progressing toward completing their K-12 education. The score is a combination of student engagement and achievement.

By law, the larger the percentage of school or district’s students who are economically disadvantaged, the more the growth measure contributes to its overall score. According to the DPI, this allows schools and districts to be rewarded for advancing students’ progress regardless of their starting level. If there is insufficient data to calculate a priority area score, the measure is omitted and the remaining measures weight more heavily in the overall score.

The district report cards are broken down according to schools.

Lake Mills High School, with an enrollment of 490 students, had an overall score of 76.7. The school had an achievement score of 68.3, growth score of 75.5, target group outcomes score of 73.0 and on-track to graduation score of 96.7. According to the report, 12.2% of the student population has disabilities, 32.4% are economically disadvantaged and 2.4% are English language learners.

Lake Mills Middle School received an overall score of 73.8 with an achievement score of 63.5. The grades 5-8 school had a growth score of 75.5, target group income of 66.2 and on-track to graduation score of 90.8. Among the 460 students, 12.2% have disabilities, 32.4% are economically disadvantaged and 2.4% are English language learners.

Lake Mills Elementary School, which has a total enrollment of 626 students, had an overall score of 72.7. The school has an achievement score of 71.0, growth score of 60.3 and an on-track to graduation score of 91.2. There are no target group outcome scores for elementary school. The 4K through fourth grade students housed in the building has a population that includes 13.6% who are disabled, 28.9% that are economically disadvantaged, and 5.3% who are English language learners.

“While we are proud of our academic achievement on the state report cards, the assessments that drive these only represent a snapshot in time. The strong academic achievement in Lake Mills is a direct result of the caliber of our teachers and staff, as well as the support we receive from our parents and the community,” said LMASD Superintendent Tonya Olson. “Per our strategic plan that was developed last spring, our focus will remain on developing a systematic structure to address opportunity gaps while promoting inclusivity and equity. By that, I mean that even though our achievement is high, we recognize that we have gaps in achievement among our students with disabilities and those that are economically disadvantaged. I will consider ourselves successful when all of our students are successful. Our ongoing professional development will target these areas as we move forward.”

The majority of neighboring school districts have scores in the meets expectations category.

Watertown Unified School District, with 3,296 students, received an overall score of 69.1. The district has 16.5% of its students with disabilities, 47.8% are economically disadvantaged and 5.5% are English language learners. Achievement was 57.4, growth 66.9, target group incomes 634 and on-track to graduation 85.7.

The Johnson Creek School District received an overall score of 70.1, with 13.1% of its 567 students with disabilities, 27.3% economically disadvantaged and 4.9% English learners. The district received a score of 58.6 for achievement, 69.8 for growth, 66.1 for target group outcomes and 88 for on-track to graduation.

Waterloo School District, with 768 students, received an overall score of 69.0. The district has 13.2% of its students with disabilities, 44.7% are economically disadvantaged and 17.7% are English learners. Achievement was 52.5, growth 70.8, target group outcomes 62.9 and 84.9 on-track to graduation.

Jefferson School District received a 66.0 overall score which meets expectations.

The district has 1,806 students of which 16.8% have disabilities, 38.2% are economically disadvantaged and 6.9% are English learners. The report card indicated an achievement score of 61.2, growth of 63.2, target group outcomes of 54.4 and on-track to graduation at 84.9.

Fort Atkinson School District with 2,652 students had an overall rate of 68.9. The district has 16% of its students with disabilities, 37.6% economically disadvantaged and 6.1% English language learners. According to the DPI, the district had a score of 65.3 in achievement, 63.2 in growth, 60 target group outcomes and 87.4 on-track to graduation.

Amber Gerber contributed to this story

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