Janesville73.5°

State honors Janesville schools for test scores

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
September 1, 2010
— Adams and Lincoln elementary schools got the job done on test scores last year, even though large numbers of their students are from low-income homes.

The two Janesville schools are among 154 public schools statewide being recognized today as “schools of recognition” by the state Department of Public Instruction.


Lincoln Elementary, on Janesville’s south side, also received the award last year. This is the first year for Adams Elementary, which is on the east side of town.


The honors come with $2,000 awards for each school.


To qualify, schools must be in the top quartile of the state for the percentage of students from low-income households and have above-average performance on state reading and math tests when compared with similar schools, among other criteria.


District data show 58 percent of Lincoln students had household incomes that qualified them for free or reduced-price lunch last year. At Adams, it was 55 percent.


In reading, 80 percent of Lincoln students taking the state reading test last fall scored in the “proficient” or “advanced” categories. At Adams, 82 percent did so.


In math, about 77 percent of students at both schools scored “proficient” or “advanced.”


Students in grades 3,4 and 5 take the tests.


Other elementary schools in the district had significant poverty rates but did not qualify for recognition. They include Wilson, 94 percent; Jackson, 75 percent; Madison, 58 percent; and Jefferson, 55 percent.


About 43 percent of students come from low-income homes districtwide, the district reported.


District officials credit a teaching system called Response to Intervention for the success at Lincoln and Adams.


Response to Intervention, or RtI, uses test data to pinpoint a student’s strengths and weaknesses and then supplies remedial instruction where needed, monitoring a student’s progress towards mastery of a skill, said the district’s director of instruction, Kim Ehrhardt.


Ehrhardt said Adams and Lincoln staffs have “hard-wired” the RtI system.


Other schools are working on it, but they haven’t achieved the results—yet—Ehrhardt said.


“I think probably Adams and Lincoln have done the best job of realizing how to embrace that program at their schools, and we certainly would expend the other elementary schools to get the same kind of results,” Ehrhardt said.


Adams is led by longtime Principal Kitty Grant. Lincoln has a new principal this year; Shawn Galvin replaces Rodonna Amiel, who retired June 30.


A statewide recognition ceremony is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 18, at the state Capitol.


This year’s state tests will be given Oct. 25 through Nov. 26.



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