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Past Issues | April 7, 2014 |
 
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1. Assessment Results

Scores released this week show Wisconsin students in all ethnic groups performed better in state reading and math assessments than they did five years ago; voucher schools meanwhile are seeing mixed results.

This is the final year of the Wisconsin Student Assessment System, to be replaced  by Smarter Balanced assessments next year.

In mathematics, 48.6 percent of students overall scored proficient or advanced on the WKCE, while in reading the percentage was 36.6. Both have increased a little since five years ago. The improvement in reading scores has been particularly steady over those years.

State Superintendent Tony Evers called the progress “heartening.” Noting that achievement gaps “are no secret and are too large,” he reiterated last week’s announcement of his new Promoting Excellence for All task force composed of “teachers and principals to specifically address classroom-based practices that can impact Wisconsin’s achievement gap.”

For the fourth year, Milwaukee voucher students took the same statewide assessments as public school students. It was the third year for Racine voucher students, and the first year for the statewide voucher program. In Milwaukee and Racine, the results were mixed for voucher school students. Statewide, there were too few students enrolled in the program to make comparisons viable.

Evers said the upcoming Smarter Balanced assessments “will allow students to show more of what they know” and “will support our Agenda 2017 goals to close achievement gaps and prepare all students to graduate college and career ready.”

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2. Entrepreneurship Teaches Creativity, Independence

The winning student and other finalists for Wisconsin’s 2014 Young Entrepreneur of the Year award demonstrate the creativity and independence that are central to what entrepreneurship education is really about.

Carter Drake, an eleventh grader at Fort Atkinson High School, earned top honors for his Dreamscape Landscaping operation. The other finalists were: Larson Seaver, an eleventh grader from Arrowhead Union High School, who produces videos and presentations through Seaver Media; and Prime Products, a student venture at DeLong Middle School in Eau Claire that sells artwork in order to raise money for the community.

State Superintendent Tony Evers congratulated the winners in a news release, noting, “Students around Wisconsin can become more college and career ready by learning the skills these young entrepreneurs have acquired: skills like assuming responsibility, thinking creatively and independently.”

In the vision promoted by the Department of Public Instruction, entrepreneurship education is more than teaching students how to become independent business owners. It is about creating and nurturing a learning environment that promotes entrepreneurial traits and behaviors, which can be useful in owning one’s own business but also in many other situations. These skills should be reinforced from pre-kindergarten through high school, across the curriculum.

The 2014 Young Entrepreneur award was sponsored by Ernst & Young and co-presented by the Department of Public Instruction and Junior Achievement of Wisconsin.

More about the winners is available in the DPI news release.

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3. Principals of the Year

State Superintendent Tony Evers and Jim Lynch, executive director for the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators, announced Wisconsin’s 2014 Principals of the Year:

Associate Principal of the Year: Lisa L. Rettler of Rubicon, Asa Clark Middle School, Pewaukee. Rettler is passionately dedicated to system redesign that centers on personalized learning so all children can succeed. Her school has become a national exemplar of personalized learning that uses mixed-ability centers to customize learning paths that are individually paced, student-driven, and teacher facilitated. By applying Response to Intervention practices in the school, Rettler has spread a sense of urgency among staff members beyond one size fits all solutions. Rettler’s principal, Randy Daul, says, “While on her watch, we have implemented cutting-edge teaching and learning practices which have advanced our organization from learning about technology to authentically learning through technology.”

Elementary Principal of the Year: Jessica J. Johnson, Dodgeland Elementary School, Juneau. Johnson calls herself the “Lead Learner” of her building, and considers professional development for herself, her staff, and the network of area teachers and principals one of her highest accomplishments. “I visit classrooms frequently so that I can provide teachers with coaching.” She says this daily practice encourages teachers to grow their instructional practice to increase student learning. Johnson has improved morale in her elementary school, creating a supportive atmosphere for teachers and students that also features numerous family-involvement pieces. Johnson spearheaded a 1:1 pilot, bringing SMARTBoards into each elementary classroom and an iPad for every student.

Middle Level Principal of the Year: Richard L. Appel, Chilton Middle School. Appel brings a blend of administrative experience to his role. Colleagues praise his ability to create an atmosphere where students and staff members feel respected and valued. Appel prides himself on “hiring and retaining an amazing staff that understands children and the gifts they bring.” A colleague describes him as a “servant leader” who facilitates the school-community relationship better than anyone. Appel established a building goal to motivate reluctant learners. He works to find connections and various learning opportunities through the arts, sports, or clubs to help the student find a true sense of belonging, which in turn will improve their performances in other areas. Eighty-five percent of the school’s students are involved with extracurriculars.

High School Principal of the Year: Asta Sepetys of Madison, Wisconsin Heights Middle/High School, Mazomanie. Sepetys calls her school a “diamond in a cornfield.” By tapping into her creativity and alternative thinking style, Sepetys brings alternative solutions to addressing student needs, such as the school’s resource mentor program. Struggling students work with an assigned teacher to create rapport, “which is often the missing link in these cherubs’ lives,” she said. Superintendent Mark Elworthy calls Sepetys a “courageous leader,” citing her core values and desire to make a difference in students’ lives as the foundation for her success. Assistant Principal Jason Adams credits her integrity and dedication with helping her “cultivate a high degree of trust with the people she is working with.”

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4. Early Literacy Thinking

New online resources help early childhood and kindergarten teachers, child care providers, librarians, and others to advance early literacy education.

A free e-learning module from the DPI guides educators through a process of developing local learning expectations for early literacy. Planning for Early Literacy Success: Intersections between WMELS and CCSS, includes four charts that show areas of overlap between the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards and the Common Core State Standards, covering topics such as writing, phonics, listening, and gestural movement. As a Wisconsin Learning on Demand module, the resource includes material for presenting the ideas to others in one’s district or organization. Questions may be directed to Arlene Wright, WMELS statewide coordinator, or Jill Haglund, DPI early childhood consultant.

Over 200 public librarians, child care providers, PK-3 educators, and other early childhood advocates engaged in the 2014 Growing Wisconsin Readers Early Literacy Symposium, hosted by DPI’s Public Library Development Team in March in Stevens Point. Searching (via “control-F”) for the word “Symposium” on the Growing Wisconsin Readers blog, will yield a number of related posts, packed with information discussed at the event, relating to screen time, Montessori practices, math during storytime, and other topics. The Growing Wisconsin Readers website also has materials, handouts, and a Twitter archive from the symposium.

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5. Calendar Highlights: Money Smart, Math, Special Services

A quick glance at the Wisconsin Education Calendar reveals the following current and upcoming education events:

The Wisconsin Education Calendar is most of the way through a visually appealing redesign.

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State Superintendent Tony Evers

IN THIS ISSUE:

1. Assessment Results

2. Entrepreneurship Teaches Creativity, Independence

3. Principals of the Year

4. Early Literacy Thinking

5. Calendar Highlights: Money Smart, Math, Special Services

DPI-ConnectEd comes from the office of State Superintendent Tony Evers
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For questions about this information, contact Benson Gardner (608) 266-3374
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