Karen Schulte: Scores on state tests show hard work by all in Janesville School District

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Karen Schulte
Thursday, April 10, 2014

I am pleased to learn that the Wisconsin Concepts and Knowledge Exam (WKCE) scores at the School District of Janesville exceed the statewide averages in reading and math. I am particularly pleased to see that our scores have improved in many areas since last year.

This student performance is a key indicator in how far we have traveled on our journey toward academic excellence. We have not arrived, but we are traveling in the right direction.

These numbers represent so much more than just test scores. The numbers are the product of hours, days, months and years of our staff's tireless efforts to overcome challenges. I am convinced our staff members' work not only exceeds statewide averages, they are state leaders in achievement.

For example, the improvements we are seeing at Wilson Elementary School didn't just happen. Wilson Principal Kim Peerenboom and her staff have worked above and beyond to introduce and encourage learning for students at Wilson.

Wilson Elementary is often cited as a barometer of performance in our district, and I am proud to highlight that performance. Students at Wilson do not all come from the wealthiest families in our district. We don't use that as an excuse.

Data such as free and reduced-price lunch participation do not mean students cannot learn. At Wilson we see that improvement in academic achievement is not reserved for the wealthy. Academic success is the product of great teachers and a productive curriculum designed to ensure that all students in our district receive educations that prepare them for success. We see that happening at Wilson.

I admit I was overcome with emotion when I saw the scores. They represent so much hard work by everyone in our district—the teachers on the front lines, our award-winning food service and custodial staffs, our dedicated support staff and our principals and directors. This achievement is a district achievement and would not be possible without the dedication and hard work of everyone who works here.

As Director of Curriculum and Instruction Kim Ehrhardt pointed out in the April 8 Gazette, we have much work to do and plenty of opportunities for improvement. Those are issues we deal with every day. They keep us up at night.

But we should stop and enjoy our successes, if only for a brief time. It's important to acknowledge improvement and achievement. So please join me in congratulating our entire staff, the dedicated people who ensure that our programs and our students remain well above average with an eye on improvement every day.

These dedicated people allow us to continue to fulfill our mission, which is to serve our community by educating every child.

Karen Schulte is superintendent of the Janesville School District. Readers can contact her at 527 S. Franklin St., Janesville WI 53548; phone 608-743-5050; email kschulte@janesville.k12.wi.us.

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