SOMERS– Shoreland juniors in the Racine Parental Private School Choice Program who took the ACT college preparatory test last spring outperformed their peers around the state in English and Language Arts, and were even with them in Mathematics skills, according to a state report released today.
A “School Report Card,” published by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, includes schools in the voucher program for the first time. Shoreland Lutheran High School has been participating in the program since it was expanded to Racine in the 2011-12 school year. To date, 40/41 students in the voucher program, who have completed their studies at Shoreland, have successfully graduated.
There are many ways to measure success for a student. Using standardized test scores is just one of those ways to gauge how students are performing. The news is good for Shoreland students who took the ACT last spring. English and Language Arts were strong areas of academic skill for the Shoreland students tested.
Of those student, 60 percent either exceeded or met the English and Language Arts proficiency level for high school. That is proportionately more when compared to their peers around the state. According to the DPI, 42.4 percent of state students were proficient. Shoreland also outperformed their peers attending schools in the Racine Unified School District, where 46.6 percent were proficient in English and Language Arts.
For Mathematics, Shoreland students were roughly even with their state peers. Forty percent of the school’s juniors were at least proficient in Mathematics. Statewide, 41 percent of juniors were at that level. Comparatively, 25.2 percent of Racine Unified students reached math proficiency, according to DPI statistics.
While the School Report Card is one indication of student progress, it does not offer the whole picture of student achievement and accomplishment at Shoreland, or any school. “Every day, we see signs of significant growth among all of our students,” says Paul Scriver, Shoreland principal. “Some of the most important aspects of becoming an adult – integrity, resiliency, ethics and faith can’t be measured by a test, and we see teenagers here developing in all of those areas. We are committed to helping students become well-rounded adults who serve their Lord as they live their lives of Christian service.”
This is the first year of the School Report Card. During the 2015-16 school year, all private schools in the voucher program were required to purchase student database systems that would feed data to the state DPI for analysis. There were glitches along the way as schools entered information about their students in the Choice program. It will be interesting to see how the report changes over the next years, as the state and schools iron out wrinkles in the way data is calculated and presented, Scriver says.
For instance, the initial year report for Shoreland does not adequately reflect the number of students who are economically disadvantaged and are attending the school through the voucher program. In general, the number of economically disadvantaged students is calculated using participation in the federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program. Shoreland does not participate in the program. The number of students living in disadvantaged households and attending
Shoreland appears to be underreported in the School Report Card compared to school data. When reading the new School Report Card, it is important to note that the document gives a snapshot of a small group of students in time. While 97 students attended Shoreland during the entire academic year last year, only students in their junior year – about one-fourth of those in the choice program – take the ACT test, on which the report is based.
Still, Scriver says he was happy to see that the School Report Card shows what he and his staff believe to be the case. Shoreland students are progressing and achieving in ways that will lead them to become wonderful adults.