Despite Hayward Schools Meeting Expectations, Truancy Remains an Issue

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 | by Joe Morey |

According to the State Department of Public Instruction’s Accountability Report Card, the Hayward Community School District is meeting expectations.

District Superintendent, Craig Olson, said the school is heading in the right direction.

Hayward received an overall score of 69.1, which meets expectations. A score of 73 to 82.9 would have exceeded expectations and above 82.9 significantly exceeds expectations.

Olson said Hayward has some work to do in preparing kids for what’s next after school. The Hayward district scored along the state average in many categories of the Accountability Report Card but fell behind in graduation rates.

“Attendance has been a big issue,” Olson said. “We have a lot of our kids who are not doing well on their ACT tests as juniors. If they don’t have a plan for tech school or college, they aren’t doing well. On the other hand, our kids who do have a plan are doing very well. But, we have to look at our truancy issue. It’s very hard to get a kid prepared for a test if he’s not here. If you’re not here, you’re not going to be successful.”

According to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), “As part of the state accountability system, DPI produces report cards for every publicly funded school and district in Wisconsin. These Accountability Report Cards include data on multiple indicators for multiple years across four Priority Areas (Student Achievement, Growth, Closing Gaps, and On-track and Post-secondary Success). In addition, given the impact on student success, the Accountability Report Cards also measure chronic absenteeism and dropout rates. A school or district's Overall Accountability Score places the school/district into one of five Overall Accountability Ratings:

In student achievement, Hayward was at the state average with a score of 66.8, while the state average is 66.7. In the category of district growth, the school scored 65.1 while the state average is 66. In the category of closing gaps, Hayward scored at 61.9 while the state average is 61.7.

Hayward falls behind the state average of 86.5 with a score of 83.3 in the category of on track and postsecondary readiness. There are four measures scored in this category, which include graduation rate, attendance rate, third grade English Language Arts achievement and eighth grade mathematics achievement. Hayward scored at the average in three of these categories except the graduation rate which is where Hayward scored three points behind the state average.

Olson said the climate of the Hayward Community School District is very good, but, “We still have students not attending school. Is this a student problem, parental problem, teacher or community problem, or is it a combination of all of the above? It’s something we have to look at.”

Olson said a very high percentage of the 14 students who didn’t graduate high school last year, nearly 75%, missed over 100 days of a 180 day school year.

Olson said in the current year, 40% of students have already exceeded the criteria for allowable missed school days.

“If a kid doesn’t pass, they drop out and they don’t become productive members of society,” Olson said. “The community and employers who are hiring, they don’t want that. We need character education, we need to teach them a work ethic. You need to come to school because it’s the same when you have a job, you have to be there every day.”

Olson said they are trying to get kids more involved in extra-curricular activities, such as sports and other after school programs.

Olson said there is also a concern about kids coming into kindergarten. They are finding out through readiness screening which all kids go through as they enter kindergarten, that over 30% of kids are not at expectations of what they should be.

“They should know how to hold a pencil at that age, but we have many that don’t” Olson said. This is one example of how kids are behind at that age level.

Olson said they have an intervention and put the kids in a catch-up program. He said by the time they hit second grade, we see a lot of catch-up.

Olson said they are now considering getting to these kids at an earlier age, in the Birth to 3 program or Pre-Kindgergarten.

“In a lot of families, both parents are working and unfortunately, they spend a lot less time with these kids,” Olson said. “Our job is to get them best prepared as we can so they are ready and have a plan.”

Olson added that Hayward has a lot of kindergarten and Primary School-age children who are way above expectations.

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