RACINE — Public schools weren’t the only ones to receive report cards from the state. This year, private schools also received scores.
The scores for the county’s private schools ranged from a rating of “exceeds expectations,” which Renaissance School, St. John’s Lutheran School and Wisconsin Lutheran School received; to a grade of “fails to meet expectations,” which EverGreen Academy received, according to data released with an embargo to the media last week and publicly released at 12:05 a.m. today.
It was the second year private schools that participate in the Racine Parental Choice Program, where some students receive state-funded tuition vouchers, were required to submit data to the Department of Public Instruction for an overall report card.
After two years of state testing, Laura Pinsonneault, DPI’s director of the Office of Educational Accountability, said the department had enough data to produce a report card, although some areas still have “no data.”
“Some areas of the report card, specifically the closing gaps areas, we have to have three years of data there,” Pinsonneault said.
Private schools must also have at least 20 choice students enrolled at the school for DPI to have enough data to give a grade to the school.
Also, graduation rates for private schools, Pinsonneault said, will not show any data because the department requires four years of data.
One point that is unique to private schools is the option of having two report cards — one for choice students and one for the entire school.
“We are required to create a report card for choice students in the school,” Pinsonneault said. “Every school participating in the choice program will receive a report card that is just for choice students … choice schools then may also opt-in to receive a report card that is for their entire population of their school.”
St. Catherine’s High School was one of the schools that received two report cards that both stated the school was meeting expectations for both the choice and general student population. The choice students scored slightly lower than the non-choice students.
St. John’s Lutheran School, Wisconsin Lutheran School and Renaissance School received the grades of “exceeds expectations” for both choice and general student populations.
Hope Christian School: Via and 21st Century Preparatory School received grades of “meets expectations” for choice students.
St. Joseph Grade School and John Paul II Academy were rated as “meets few expectations” for both choice and general student population.
There were several schools that did not have enough data to receive a grade. Trinity Lutheran School, in particular, had 100 percent of parents file paperwork to pull their students from testing.
Racine Lutheran High School, Our Lady of Grace Academy and CERT School all do not have data.
EverGreen Academy was the only school to receive a “fails to meet expectations” grade for Racine County voucher schools.
Mike Meier, the principal of EverGreen Academy, which is based at the Taylor complex in Racine and in the former Elwood Park Village Hall, said in an email that “physical response was shock and the heart dropping a bit,” when the school saw the grade.
“We believe that getting the students and staff in the mindset that this is our chance of showing the state what a great school EverGreen is,” Meier said.
Meier added that the school plans to “adjust some of our test-taking strategies, such as having teachers walk around the classroom making sure kids aren’t rushing through the test just to finish first, taking their time, hearing words of encouragement from the proctoring teacher, making sure they had a snack prior to the test.”
Meier said the school is focusing on improving math and English language arts, and teachers are “using language and strategies that the students will see on the test so it isn’t so ‘foreign’ to them when they see it on the exam.”
When asked if he thinks the school will improve next year, Meier said he has “no doubt” it will.