MILWAUKEE – 42 MPS schools are rated exceeds expectations, meets expectations or making satisfactory progress in the 2013-14 report cards released by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Tuesday.
But the overall report card results, including the district’s report card, underscore the urgency for Milwaukee Public Schools to continue to make needed improvements.
“We have a number of schools that are high achieving or growing in that direction and we want to recognize those schools for their efforts,” MPS Acting Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver said. “But too many schools are not yet experiencing that growth.
That’s why we are committed to specific, targeted efforts aimed at improving outcomes for students in our lowest-performing schools as well as broader efforts aimed at improving outcomes across the district.”
The district’s report card score was largely unchanged between 2012-13 and 2013-14, though with more MPS students meeting reading standards, MPS’ student growth score moved upward. An overall year-to-year comparison is imperfect because the state changed how it calculates one of the report card priority areas: Closing Gaps.
At the school level, the number of MPS schools rated in the highest two categories grew slightly from six to eight in 2013- 14.
The number of schools rated “Meets Expectations” dipped slightly from 28 to 22, in part because of two school mergers.
For the first time, alternative schools and new schools are receiving ratings across the state, in the form of alternate accountability report cards. Twelve such schools in MPS were rated “Making Satisfactory Progress.”
MPS has grown its attendance rates over the past five years to a rate just under 90 percent. Yet, too many schools continue to face chronic absenteeism issues. That results in lost opportunities for students and impacts report card scores. Without the district’s five-point deduction for absenteeism, MPS’ report card score would have risen into a higher category.
MPS continues to utilize report card data to drive improvement efforts, including the accelerated transformation of 14 “Commitment Schools” and providing additional supports to the district’s lowest-performing schools.
The new report card data will help build those efforts to strengthen attendance and achievement.
The school district is making a number of other efforts to facilitate its students’ success.
For example, it provides school support teachers in every school to help improve instruction by working directly with educators in their classrooms.
There are 50 new art, music and physical education specialist teaching positions, part of a total of 142 new such positions added over three years, to further engage students.
Parent coordinators are available in every school to build stronger relationships between families and schools with the aim of improving student outcomes including attendance.
MPS is demonstrating a commitment to continue to improve outcomes for young men of color through participation in President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative. In addition, the school district is focusing on growing mentoring opportunities
Eight schools, according to the DPI, were considered to have “exceeded expectations”.
Those schools are Academia de Lenguaje y Belles Artes (ALBA School), Fernwood Montessori School, Honey Creek Continuous Progress Charter School, Maryland Avenue Montessori School, Golda Meir School, Milwaukee French Immersion School, Milwaukee German Immersion School, and Walt Whitman School.
Those 22 schools that “meet expectations” include the Academy of Accelerated Learning, Louisa May Alcott School, Luther Burbank School, A.E. Burdick School, Clement Avenue School, James Fennimore Cooper School, Fairview School, Benjamin Franklin School, La Escuela Fratney (Fratney School), Greenfield Bilingual School, Humboldt Park School, Gwen T. Jackson Early Childhood and Elementary School, Rufus King International High School, Lowell Elementary School, Milwaukee College Prep – 38th Street Campus, Milwaukee Parkside School for the Arts, Milwaukee School of Languages, Milwaukee Spanish Immersion School, Ronald Reagan College Preparatory High School, Escuela Vieau (Vieau School), Wedgewood Park International School, and John Greenleaf Whittier Elementary School.
Twelve schools, some of which are alternative schools graded on a separate scale, achieved “satisfactory progress”.
They are the Achievement Center, ASSATA High School, Banner Preparatory School of Milwaukee, Carmen High School of Science and Technology – Northwest Campus, Career Youth Development, Grandview High School, Hmong American Peace Academy (HAPA), Milwaukee County Youth Education Center, Milwaukee Environmental Sciences, Milwaukee Excel High School (closed at the end of the 2013-14 school year), Project STAY, and Universal Academy for the College Bound