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Area school districts in the Lake Country area either significantly exceeded or exceeded expectations, according to the Wisconsin Department of Instruction, which released its 2015-16 report cards for state schools Nov. 17.

The ratings are based on student achievement in English, language arts and mathematics, student growth, closing gaps between student groups, and measures of readiness for graduation and post secondary success, which includes graduation and attendance rates, third-grade English language arts achievement, and eighth-grade mathematics achievement.

The North Lake School District had the highest accountability score out of the area districts, scoring a 93.7, earning a rating of "significantly meeting expectations" for educating students.

Stone Bank, Hartland-Lakeside, Swallow  and Lake Country were close behind with 92.5, 91.9, 91.5 and 90.4, respectively, also earning ratings of significantly meeting expectations. Helping Hartland-Lakeside's overall score was North Shore Middle School, which received a score of 94 to place it in the top 20 of 2,432 schools.

Richmond had an 86, Merton had an 85.1 and Kettle Moraine had an 84.2 to add their names to the significantly meeting expectations group.

Arrowhead High School earned a 82.4 rating, while the Pewaukee School District earned a 79 and Oconomowoc Area School District earned a 78.4. All three schools earned ratings of "exceeds expectations".

“We are proud of our students and pleased by Arrowhead’s performance against the state’s new criterion measures," Arrowhead superintendent Laura Myrah said in a statement. "While Arrowhead’s achievement, postsecondary readiness, and student engagement scores are excellent, within the top 5% of all Wisconsin public and non-charter high schools, we continue to focus on ways to continuously improve.”

Pewaukee School District superintendent JoAnn Sternke was also pleased with the school's scores.

"I'm pleased that in Pewaukee we are exceeding (expectations) in all of our schools and in the district, some significantly," Sternke said. "Waukesha County has great schools, and we are certainly proud to be representing our county with strong education. I'm pleased with how we're doing. I think the hardest part of that school report card is what a changing dynamic that is with state testing. It's not been the same tests utilized to create that report card for the last three report cards."

"It seems like a moving target in terms of the testing, so it's difficult to know how it's going to be calibrated. However, regardless of that, our schools are performing very well in the county and I'm very proud. Like I said, we have exceeded expectations in all our schools and exceeded expectations in some. That's a good place to be."

The changes Sternke referred to were those in Wisconsin's Act 55, the 2015-17 state budget. No report cards were released for the 2014-15 school year because of those changes being made.

Oconomowoc superintendent Roger Rindo said about his schools' performances, "“Our growth and closing gaps scores are huge points of pride for our district,”  referring to the school's 85.1 score for student growth in English language arts and mathematics and a 67.2 score for closing gaps for English language arts achievement gaps, beating the state average of 66.0 in student growth. The school also achieved well in closing the mathematics achievement gaps, and graduation rate gaps, beating out the state average of 60.8.

Director of Research Technology and Assessment Derick Kiger added,  “Our schools’ best report card performance was in the priority area of academic growth. We emphasize a growth mindset and continuous improvement of academic performance throughout our strategic plan. Our performance on multiple achievement measures is showing promising results.”

Rindo said that while the school was pleased with the report card scores, he said it was just one measure of success

“Report cards cannot measure all the important work happening in our district and in our schools every day,” said Rindo.

More than 82 percent of public schools and 91 percent of districts in the state earned three or more stars on the state's report cards, meaning they met or exceeded expectations for educating students.

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