Franklin Public Schools received a favorable report card from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction last month. For the 2012-13 school year, the district received a score of 77.3 on a 100-point scale, a rating that "exceeds expectations," according to the DPI.
The report cards reflect district and school performance, with measurement categories ranging from student achievement and growth in reading and mathematics to graduation readiness. Other factors, including absenteeism and standardized test results, also affect the grade given.
The report cards also compared subgroups to the main student population within districts and schools, including minority students and white students, fluent English-speaking students and those still learning the language, and students economically disadvantaged against those who are not.
Franklin was ranked 50th among the state's more than 400 school districts, placing it within the top 15 percent.
"We have high expectations, which don't cost us anything, and we have excellent teachers," said Michael Zellmer, director of assessment and learning for the Franklin Public Schools. "We had high expectations even before the district report cards. ...Our staff is strong and experienced, and we have multiple initiatives for continuous improvement."
Franklin High School received the highest score in the district with an 80.5. The DPI applauded the school's on-track and post-secondary readiness, which scored 91.6, which "significantly exceeds expectations," according to the report card.
The readiness analysis "indicates the success of students in the school in achieving milestones that predict post-secondary success," reads an explanation on the report card. "It includes the graduation rate for schools that graduate students, or the attendance rate for other schools."
"We're really pleased with the progress of (our school), but, at the same time, there's a next level we need to aspire to," said Michael Nowak, Franklin High School principal. "The report card process is so new, and we're learning as we go. It's just one measure (of our performance), among many others … and it's one indicator of how we're doing."
Nowak said the school's concentration on coursework and dedicated teaching is the driving force behind the school's success.
"It comes down to fidelity of education...and a need to stress higher-level thinking and academic rigor," Nowak said.
Country Dale Elementary was the only school within the district that did not receive a rating that exceeded DPI's expectations. With an overall rating of 70, the school met expectations, but suffered in the "closing gaps" measurement, which looks at how various subgroups of students perform in comparison to their peers.
The elementary school received a 48 for closing learning gaps in reading, mathematics and graduation rates.
"I spoke with the principal (Karen Noel) about a variety of things (on Tuesday)," Zellmer said. "Country Dale is still meeting the high expectations the state put out there...but the RTI programs weren't in place in time for the school year's report card."
RTI, short for Response to Intervention, is a statewide school initiative to assist students struggling in school. The new program, which began late last school year, seeks to help students by focusing on academic support, Zellmer said.
"The goal of the program is to identify struggling students early and then monitor their progress," he said. "And Country Dale has had good success with the program....Now that RTI services are being provided (in Country Dale), we're interested to see next year's report card."
By the Numbers
Ben Franklin Elementary's overall accountability score, out of 100
Country Dale Elementary
Southwood Glen Elementary
Forest Park Middle School
Franklin High School
■ To view the report cards, visit ReportCards.dpi.wi.gov and select the district.
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