171121_REPORTCA

JANESVILLE

It’s a report card that a parent would sign, but with a few reservations.

The Janesville School District’s marks were solid, and in some cases spectacular, on the state Department of Public Instruction’s district and school report cards, which were released today.

However, some scores might best be described as “needs work.”

The report cards look at a variety of factors, including test scores, student growth, being on track for graduation and the school’s ability to close the gap among students of different socioeconomic levels and races.

School districts and schools are given numerical scores and ratings, which range from “fails to meet expectations” to “significantly exceeds expectations.”

On the positive side, the district’s overall score of 70.8 gave it a rating of “meets expectations,” placing it second among the 10 largest school districts in the state, according to a news release from the district.

Six of the 19 Janesville schools that were scored received ratings of “significantly exceeds expectations.” They include Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Kennedy, Van Buren and Roosevelt elementary schools.

Two more schools, Wilson Elementary School and Edison Middle School, received ratings of “exceeds expectations.”

On the negative side, both Craig and Parker high schools received ratings of “meets few expectations.”

And one of the district’s charter school, TAGOS Leadership Academy, received a rating of “fails to meet expectations.”

District officials said the rating for high schools leans heavily on test scores.

“The state’s school and district report card results are a point-in-time indicator for student growth and achievement in the School District of Janesville,” Superintendent Steve Pophal said in a news release. “While they provide us with some information about our students and schools, they are not the only method by which we determine success, nor the sole means of identifying areas of improvement.

“We use multiple indicators to determine student growth through school, district and state assessments,” he said.

In an interview Monday, Parker High School Principal Chris Laue said he and his staff were “always assessing the programming we’re providing, where kids are underperforming and where we are needing to grow.”

And Allison DeGraff, district director of learning and innovation, stressed that the report card was one piece of data that didn’t necessarily reflect all student successes.

One of the struggles for TAGOS has been absenteeism, which hurts the school’s overall report card score, district officials said.

One of TAGOS’s objectives is to get students back in the habit of going to school. Some of the students who attend TAGOS were expelled from other high schools, and some have struggled with attendance because of anxiety issues, they said.

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