December 15: School Report Card

December 15, 2017

Hello, Black River Falls Community! This is Dr. Shelly Severson, with the School District of Black River Falls, here to share this week’s installment of our Spotlight on Schools! Today we are going to talk a bit about the report cards, not the kind that perhaps you used to try to hide before your parents could see it, but the kind that the state issues to each public school district throughout the state. As a part of the state accountability system, all students in grades three through eight have to take part in the Wisconsin Forward exam, this test math, reading, science and social studies. In the high school, all students are required to take the ACT, college entrance exam. Based off of all of this assessment data the state issues a report card to districts. This is an attempt to increase the transparency between districts as well as to communicate one aspect of a school’s performance in a way the community can hopefully understand.

The overall score for the district is a 67.9 which is three stars out of five, and is described as “Meets Expectations.” We are proud of this fact, but recognize that when we talk about Inspiring Excellence as our motto says, we need to do better. When you put together the aggregate scores in grades 2 -8 we are below the state average in our English Language Arts and Math achievement, with our scores being 51 and the state score being 66.7. The rest of the scores are much brighter news for the district and communicate to us that we are heading in the right direction! The state measures the growth of our students from one year to the next; our score is a 66, the state average is a 66. Another indicator the state measures is if we are closing achievement gaps between our different groups of students. In this area, the state average is 61.7; we are quite a bit higher with a score of 66.6. Our Graduation rate and Attendance rate are both slightly above the state average as well. This data is based on one test that students take each year. Of course, we supplement this data with ongoing classroom assessments so that we know what the next best steps are for our students and what their next level of challenge is. 
When we talk about placing a value on a school or district, it is a very complicated question to ask if they are a “good” or “successful” district. There are so many indicators that could be used to measure success. As so many of us look through our lenses and want different things for our kids, it is almost impossible to think that we could be everything to everyone! Something we do within our community to balance the raw data from the state is to ask our families what their perceptions are of our work. We are thrilled to say that over 90% of families that we work with would recommend the School District of Black River Falls to others. As we exist to serve the community in which we live, this is one of the best data points we could possible collect! Our goals are to continue increasing the student achievement levels of all students within our organization, while still providing the customer service our families expect and working to meet the diverse needs of the kids that our families are kind enough to share with us. We love the work we do and appreciate the opportunity to do this important work in Black River Falls! 
As always, thank you so much for your support of the School District of Black River Falls! If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me! Let’s show our Tiger Pride in all that we do!
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