Superintendent's Message- November 18, 2019

Superintendent's Message
Posted on 11/19/2019
Dr. Kelly Burhop

November 18, 2019

The State Accountability Report Cards for all Schools and School Districts in Wisconsin have been publicly released.  State Accountability Report Cards can be found on the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s (DPI’s) web-site.  I want to take this time and reflect on the District’s scores.  The Elementary School scored a 67.1, which is graded as “Meeting Expectations.”  In the Elementary School, the overall academic performance of the students is slightly above the state average in English/Language Arts and Math.  The overall academic growth of the students is slightly below the state average.  

The Jr. & Sr. High School scored at a 60.8, which is graded as “Meeting Few Expectations.”  The graduation rate for special student groups in the Closing Gaps portion of the report card is supposed to be part of the calculation.  This was the first year that Brookwood High School had three years of data in this area.  With a perfect graduation score, the DPI determined that the increase in the overall score was “an outlier” and therefore shouldn’t be calculated in Brookwood Jr. & Sr. High School’s overall score.  Closing Gap scores in Math and English/Language Arts went up as well, but they were not counted either.  If Brookwood Jr. & Sr. High School would have been graded exactly like 2017-18, which includes the Math and English/Language Arts scores in the Closing Gaps portion, the overall score would have been 65.0, and the school would have been “Meeting Expectations.”

I hope you can follow the lack of logic by the DPI’s decision by the following example.  The DPI decided to include Brookwood Jr. & Sr. High School’s Closing Gaps scores in Math and English/Language Arts, as well as the graduation rate for the special student population to calculate the overall District score.  The Elementary scored at 67.7.  The Jr. & Sr. High School scored at 60.8.  The overall District score, which is a culmination of the Elementary and Jr. & Sr. High School scores, was a 69.9.  Clearly, the decision not to include the Closing Gap information on the Brookwood Jr. & Sr. High’s Accountability Report Card had a negative impact.

The Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton School District will continue to improve our instructional practices and analyze our curriculum and programs regardless of the State Accountability Report Card scores.  The staff is consistently working to improve the instruction and overall education of our students.  Regardless of what the overall scores may read, there is always room for higher student academic achievement.  The Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton School District will always work to do what is in the best interest of the students.      

School will be dismissed at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 26, and all day on Wednesday, November 27 for Teacher In-service.  The staff will be trained on a variety of concepts.  There will be a focus on student safety, utilization of instructional technology, and curriculum collaboration.  There will also be dismissed on Thursday, November 28 and Friday, November 29 for Thanksgiving break.

With winter comes inclement weather.  Watch Channel 8, Channel 19, or Chanel 25 for school closing or delay information.  I understand WKBT Channel 8 has a great app you can download to get NOW school closing information immediately.  Area radio stations that are contacted will include: WCOW 97.1 FM, WIZM 93.3 FM, WVRQ 102 FM and WBOG 94.5 FM.  I always try to make a decision by 5:45 a.m. in the morning.  Cancelling school or delaying the start of school is not an exact science, especially when freezing rain is involved.  Weather conditions can change quickly.  Always keep an eye on school closing information when inclement weather is with us over the winter months. 

I wish everyone has a successful and safe deer hunt and a very Happy Thanksgiving.