The DPI has stated that, “Title I Focus Schools must implement at least one of the three types of programs to help students who are at risk of failing to graduate, namely: Response to Intervention (RtI), Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS), or Early Warning Systems. These schools will receive training and assistance from the Wisconsin RtI Center, Department of Public Instruction, and others.”
What has Arrowhead High School done relative to the Focus School identification?
- AHS is in its 3rd year of implementing RtI.
- Kelly Schwegal, a member of the State RtI team, has been contracted with and has been working with our staff for the past 2 years.
- Lynn Boreson, retired DPI consultant, was contracted with and has conducted intervention training with the AHS staff.
- AHS has developed, implemented, and has in place a PBIS program.
- AHS has developed, implemented, and has in place an “early warning system.”
- DPI states, “Title I Focus Schools must implement at least one of the three types of programs to help students who are at risk of failing to graduate, namely: Response to Intervention (RtI), Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS), or Early Warning Systems.” AHS has in place all three, has had training and ongoing support, and has been commended by DPI staff.
Other information related to this matter:
- The data provided by the DPI, in the Focus School Identification, is two years old.
- The DPI staff assigned to work with AHS, as part of the Focus School identification, has repeatedly stated that Arrowhead is far ahead of other State high schools in the implementation of these programs.
- The AUHSD staff has received intense and individualized training from State experts.
- As part of the Focus School identification AHS staff is required to attend training sessions. Five AHS staff members recently attended a two day session (the first of several trainings), which was an Overview Training session.
- The Arrowhead staff was asked during the training session, based on programming AHS has in place, to formally present to the staff from other schools in attendance. Since the training, we are receiving several requests from other schools for materials and programming information developed by the AHS staff.
- AUHSD has made a formal appeal of the Focus School identification to the State Superintendent and State Deputy Superintendent based on the issues identified in our review. (The appeal was made on September 24, 2012; to date no response)
- AUHSD has also made a formal appeal of the Focus School identification to the Director of the Office of Educational Accountability. (The appeal was made on October 10, 2012; to date no response)
- The data used to identify AHS as a Focus School, although not specifically highlighted, will be reflected in the State Report Cards, scheduled to be released on October 22, 2012.
Important points to note related to the Focus School identification and the release of the State Report Cards:
Arrowhead School District is reaching out to the media, parents, community members, Board of Education, and AHS staff in an effort to proactively respond to the complexity of the State-Wide Accountability System communicating out to our stakeholders. For schools, parents, the community, and the media to truly understand this information, it will require efforts on the part of all.
Arrowhead welcomes the opportunity to gather information and to look for ways we can improve the learning experiences for our students and to better meet the individual educational needs of our young people.
Arrowhead has largely built a strong reputation for high student academic, co/extra-curricular, and community service outcomes for young people based on having outstanding students, highly dedicated and skilled professionals, and strong community support. The new accountability standards present an opportunity for our school district to challenge our organization to become better.
“No school is perfect and no school can rest on its accomplishments.” Taken from a column written by Alan Borsuk (Journal Sentinel Columnist) titled, “Change is coming for good schools, too.” Arrowhead embraces the new standards as an opportunity and “a call for everyone to aim higher.” Arrowhead also embraces the additional scrutiny, when the data accurately presents areas in need of attention.
Arrowhead had the opportunity, as a result of the DPI releasing data to our district, to conduct in-depth analysis of this information, to the level of identifying the individual students represented in the DPI data report(s).
Can we get better? Absolutely! However, the DPI report(s) are not in enough detail that a school district should respond with any actions, without first truly working to understand what is being reported. Arrowhead, having had the opportunity to explore further the DPI report(s), has been able to examine the data and make some determinations that will better position our school district to address any areas in need of improvement. It is imperative, for the benefit of our students and in beingvigilant in maximizing our resources (e.g. staff, finances), that we evaluate and make determinations, responding in a thoughtful, productive, and proactive manner, rather than in a reactionary manner.
We welcome your questions or comments. Please feel free to contact me directly. The Arrowhead staff looks forward to both the challenges and opportunities of continuing to make Arrowhead High School an outstanding educational institution. The mindset of our staff makes all the difference for our students. We all enjoy working with young people and we believe so much in what they can accomplish. It’s been said many times before; this job is not about books, buses, or buildings. It’s about people. This is at the core of our success. Just how good is this school? It is as good as our staff and that is pretty darn good in my estimation!!