Glowing reports for MHS, CSCS

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MHS and Clark Street Community School administrators reviewed their respective school report cards, continuous improvement plans and goals for the 2013-14 school year at the Board of Education regular meeting on Monday night.
CSCS principal Jill Gurtner and staff member Bryn Orum pointed out CSCS has a very diverse group of students, including some who top out on tests and others two struggle. CSCS doesn't group students by grade levels.

A big goal in the first two years of CSCS is getting staff to understand the big picture.

"It can be tough because so many things going on.'' Gurtner said.

Last year the No. 1 goal was to get students meaningfully engaged in their learning. This year CSCS has replaced project-based with personalized learning. 
The school is working to recruit more students for the 2014-15 school year. They had a booth at the recent Madison Expo and also plan to meet with eighth-grade students at both middle schools. They will also be at the Glacier Creek high school information night this week. They have also met with MHS counselors to explain which current students might want to consider CSCS as an option.

"We really want to also build awareness as much as anything,'' Orum said.   

MHS principal Denise Herrmann along with David Piovanetti handled the report for MHS.

MHS was the highest rated high school in Dane County for reading and math and sixth in the state for math on the Wisconsin School Report Cards, she said. She also reported that students' ACT and SAT scores remain among the best in the state and that MHS had 17 National Merit semifinalists, which broke last year's record for the school.

She reported that math achievement is up and reading is down, but that gaps in reading and math are still very large. MHS wants to increase reading achievement to 75 percent and math achievement to 83 percent. They also want to reduce the achievement gap by 5 percent in both areas.

One initiative to help that happen is the Achievement Connections program, which is aimed at providing individual tutoring to students in math. There are currently 35 students including 33 African-American or Hispanic students, involved with 12 on a waiting list.  

Piovanetti said MHS wants to increase attendance rates from 95 to 96 percent and get each subgroup to at least 92 percent. He pointed out suspensions are down as a result of PBIS. In-school suspensions dropped one-third from 2010-11 to 2011-12. About half of those 60 suspensions in '11-12 were for drugs or weapons in school so the goal is to find ways to keep the other less serious offenders in school.

He also pointed out that the results from a student survey last year were overwhelmingly positive, with 92 percent feeling good about being at MHS and 94 percent feeling safe at the school.

"After looking at so much data the last few weeks, now I know why I became a social studies teacher,'' Piovanetti joked.