The good news: Two years into a five-year plan, the Janesville School District has met 15 of its 22 goals.
The bad news: Meeting the remaining seven goals will be a challenge.
On Tuesday, the Janesville School Board heard an update on the district’s “promises,” which are an ambitious—some said improbable—set of five-year goals in five areas: finance, academics, school culture, safety and relationships.
School board members said they were generally pleased with the progress schools were making. Tuesday’s meeting took the form of a workshop, during which board members met with department heads in charge of each promise subject.
Superintendent Steve Pophal said he was most impressed with the work done on this goal: “90% of graduates will complete career-ready indicators as detailed at redefiningready.org.”
The percentage of students who met the goal rose from 62% in 2017 to 84% at the end of the 2018-19 school year, a jump of 22%.
Redefining Ready is a national initiative of the American Association of School Administrators. The organization looked at hundreds of studies on the qualities that make high school students ready for college or the workplace.
To be considered “career ready,” a student must know which career cluster he or she wants to be in and must meet two or more of these criteria: 90% attendance rate, workplace learning experience, an industry credential, a course that gives the student high school and college credit in the career cluster, two or more organized co-curricular activities, or 25 hours of community service.
Another success is the completion of this academic goal: “90% of graduates will successfully complete an Advanced Placement, industry credentialed or dual-enrollment credit class.”
At the end of the 2018-19 school year, 91% of students had reached that goal, up from 75% in 2017.
Other goals the district has met include having all staff participate in professional development during the school year, maintaining a balanced budget and developing a teacher pay model that helps recruit and retain staff.
The district has had mixed success on other promises, such as “90% of third-graders will read at or above grade level.”
When the promises were made, 58% of third-graders could read at grade level. That number dropped slightly and then rose again to 58%.
However, the numbers also show that 43% of third-graders could read at grade level at the start 2018-19 school year. Over the course of the year, that number climbed to 58%, and that’s significant, Pophal told the board.
Other results included:
- Promise: “90% of ninth-graders will successfully complete Algebra 1.”
Result: Two years ago, about 76% of students met that goal. That number fell slightly and then rose to 77%. The district started a new math curriculum in the 2017-18 school year.
- Promise: “90% of graduates will complete college-ready indicators as defined by redefiningready.org.”
Result: Two years ago, about 51% of students met the criteria. By the end of the 2018-19 school year, the number had increased to 57%.
To be considered “college ready,” a student must have a GPA of 2.8 or higher and meet one or more of these criteria: a score of 3 or better on an AP exam, a C or better in an AP course, a C or better in a dual-credit English or math course, or meet all four college-ready benchmarks on the ACT exam.