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Nicolet superintendent addresses achievement gap in light of state report card

Graduation, post-grad readiness improve

Sept. 20, 2013

Glendale — Reacting to a nearly 6-point drop in Nicolet's state-issued report card score since last year, Superintedent Robert Kobylski pledged to increase efforts on closing the gap between high and low-achieving students, the metric most responsible for Nicolet's reduced score for the 2012-13 school year.

While Nicolet scored a 75.6 on the state Department of Instruction report card issued earlier this week, falling into the "exceeds expections" category and beating the state average, it's "closing the gaps" score fell from a 73 last year to a 58.2 this year.

"Unacceptable," Kobylski said in a news release. "Even though we are ranked as exceeding expectations, this score does not meet the high standards of the Nicolet learning community....Our goal is always to accelerate achievement for all students."

This marks the second school year that the DPI has evaluated and issued report cards to Wisconsin public school districts. The scores are based on student performance on standardized tests, student growth over time on reading and math test scores, the ability of districts to close achievement gaps between lower and higher performing student groups, and student readiness for graduation and college. School and district report cards also factor in test participation rate, absenteeism rate and dropout rate.

According to the DPI, districts which have "at least 20 students in a target subgroup (nonwhite racial/ethnic groups, economically disadvantaged, English learners, or students with disabilities) will receive a score based on the improvement over time for that target group compared to the state comparison subgroup (white, noneconomically disadvantaged, English proficient, or students without disabilities, respectively)."

About 20 percent of Nicolet students were classified as economically disadvantaged in the 2012-13 school year, about 36 percent of students were nonwhite, roughly two percent were nonproficient at English, and about 13 percent had disabilities, according to data from the DPI.

"Our internal data indicates that we are moving students forward," Teaching and Learning Director Brenda Turner said in the release. "However, some students are not excelling as quickly as others, so we need to ensure students who are struggling receive timely interventions."

Though Nicolet's scores decreased in the overall student achievement and gap-closing metrics, the district did improve its score on the graduation and post-graduation readiness metric.

"The report card is a valuable tool for us because it illuminates the kids that are getting left behind," Kobylski said in the release. "We welcome that accountability."

Detailed information on report cards for Nicolet and other districts is available online at reportcards.dpi.wi.gov.

— Michael Meidenbauer

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