The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has chosen four Janesville schools as 2018-19 Title I Schools of Recognition.

Jackson, Wilson and Roosevelt elementary schools and Franklin Middle School were among 114 schools across the state that made the cut, according to a news release.

Other area schools that were honored include Phoenix Middle School in the Delavan-Darien School District and Converse Elementary School in Beloit.

Title I schools have a high percentage of students from low-income families.

The Department of Public Instruction divides the awards into three categories:

  • “High-achieving schools” have achievement gaps of less than 3 points between different student groups. Such schools also demonstrate high achievement across the board.
  • “High-progress schools” fall into the top 10% of schools with growth in reading and math at the elementary and middle school levels.
  • “Beating-the-odds schools” fall within the top 25% of high-poverty schools in the state. They have above-average student achievement in reading and math when compared
  • to similar districts, schools, grade configurations and poverty levels.

Awards went to:

  • Roosevelt Elementary School, where about 52% of students are considered low-income, was honored as a high-achieving, high-progress and beating-the-odds school.
  • Jackson Elementary School, where about 80% of students are low-income, was recognized as a beating-the-odds school. This is the seventh consecutive year Jackson has been named a Title I School of Recognition.
  • Wilson Elementary School, where more than 90% of students are low-income, was honored as a beating-the-odds school.
  • Franklin Middle School, where about 66% of students are low-income, was recognized as a beating-the-odds school for the third consecutive year.
  • Phoenix Middle School in Delavan, with nearly 70% of students who are low-income, was named a beating-the-odds school.

Educators have long acknowledged that students who live in poverty face challenges in school. If their parents have moved several times, they might have missed a significant amount of school. Those children also don’t have the same opportunities during the summer as their middle-class peers.

The Janesville School District has consistently done well in the Title I Schools of Recognition program.

“It’s the culture in those schools,” Superintendent Steve Pophal said. “We really believe that students can learn.”

A school’s culture matters, he said.

Watering down expectations, offering a curriculum that doesn’t connect with students’ lives and letting teachers lecture while students take notes are examples of approaches that don’t work, Pophal said.

“We have a talented and dedicated staff that works continuously to serve our kids,” he said. “Our staff truly believe they can help, and our teachers go the extra mile.”

The schools will be honored May 20 during a public ceremony at the state Capitol in Madison.

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