JANESVILLE

Third-graders are doing better.

Ninth-graders aren’t doing quite as well.

And next year, high school seniors are expected to really excel.

On Tuesday, Alison DeGraaf, the Janesville School District’s director of curriculum and instruction, updated the school board on the district’s five-year promises. The promises, established at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year and approved by the board in October, include goals for academic success, parent and employee satisfaction, fiscal responsibility, and health and safety.

The promises discussed included:

  • Every student is known by name, strength and need by at least one adult.

Why: When students feel safe in school and have good relationships with teachers, they are more likely to succeed academically, DeGraaf said.

How it’s measured: Success will be measured by responses to the Hope Gallup Survey statement “The adults at my school care about me.”

Students in fifth through 12th grades took the survey in fall, and the average score was 3.88 out of 5, DeGraaf said.

  • Teachers will modify instruction from direct to engaged and empowered.

Direct instruction is the traditional teaching method. An example of engaged instruction is giving students a real-world problem and asking them to solve it, DeGraaf said in an interview before the meeting.

Why: Anyone can look up information. Engaged instruction requires students to learn more deeply and to understand ideas rather than just parroting information.

How it’s measured: The promise will be measured by responses to the Hope Gallup Survey statements “I have learned something new in the last seven days” and “At this school, I get to do what I do best every day.”

The baseline score for “I have learned something new” was 3.86 out of 5.

The baseline score for “At school I get to do what I do best” was 3.57 out of 5.

  • Ninety percent of third-graders will read at or above grade level.

At the end of last year, 43 percent of students who are now third-graders were reading at grade level. In January, that number increased to 47.5.

Why: Third grade is the make-or-break year for reading. After that point, students are not learning to read, but reading to learn, specialists say.

How it’s measured: A variety of reading tests.

  • Ninety percent of ninth-graders will complete Algebra 1 with a grade of C or better.

In spring 2017, about 76 percent of students met that goal. In January, that number dipped to 73 percent.

Why: Algebra 1 is the basis for almost all higher learning. If a student wants to go to college or technical school, a solid grasp of Algebra 1 is crucial, Superintendent Steve Pophal has said in previous interviews.

How it’s measured: A variety of state assessments and local tests.

  • Ninety percent of graduates will successfully complete an Advanced Placement class or transcripted, industry credential or dual-enrollment credit class.

In spring 2017, 74.9 students had met the criteria. As of last month, that number was 74.1.

Why: Completing a dual-credit course is an indicator of college and workplace readiness.

In an interview before the meeting, Pophal said he expected that number to rise significantly next year.

The district is working with Blackhawk Technical College to increase the number of dual-enrollment courses. The district already teaches many similar classes, but the curriculum must be beefed up to meet higher standards.

  • Ninety percent of graduates will complete career-ready indicators as detailed at redefiningready.org.

Career-ready indicators include 90 percent school attendance, community service, dual-credit courses and two or more organized co-curricular activities.

In spring 2017, about 61.9 percent of students met that criteria. Last month, about 73.2 percent of students met the criteria.

  • Increase the graduation rate by 1 percent each year to 92 percent by 2022.

The district’s graduation rate is about 87 percent. The new numbers won’t be known until the end of this year.

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