Janesville54.7°

Lake Geneva school honored for showing promise

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Kayla Bunge
September 2, 2009

Eastview Elementary School is being recognized for boosting achievement among students who often struggle to meet national benchmarks in reading and math because of their socioeconomic status.


The school is among more than 130 schools statewide honored as Promise Schools of Recognition by the state Department of Public Instruction, according to an announcement Tuesday.


The award recognizes schools with relatively high student achievement last school year despite having a high proportion of students from low-income families.


Lake Geneva Joint No. 1 School District Administrator Jim Gottinger said the honor is a “big boost” for the school and the district.


“It’s the highest-poverty school in our district, and it’s been a struggle trying to serve the learning styles in that building,” he said. “We’ve had some achievement issues in the past, and to show improvements and compete favorably with other schools in the state says a lot.”


Eastview Principal Colin Nugent said regular collaboration among teachers has helped break the achievement gap.


Teachers spend about an hour each week discussing problems and coming up with solutions, relying on their combined years of experience and time-tested methods to help students succeed.


“But it’s not just that (weekly meeting time),” Nugent said. “They have working lunches, they talk in the hallway—any free minute they have, they’re collaborating.”


To qualify for the award, schools must be in the top 25 percent statewide for the percentage of students whose families qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. Schools also must have above-average performance on the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination in reading and math compared to similar schools.


This is the second time a Lake Geneva school has received the honor since the DPI instituted it in 2003. Central-Denison Elementary School got the award in 2006.


The percentage of Eastview students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch has increased in recent years, from less than 50 percent five years ago to about 60 percent last school year, according to online data from the DPI.


The percentage of students in third, fourth and fifth grades scoring “proficient” or “advanced” in reading and math on state tests also has increased. Seventy-eight percent of students reached those benchmarks in reading last school year, up from 67 percent the previous year. Eighty percent of students reached those marks in math, up from 60 percent the previous year.



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