For the last four years, the Grantsburg Primary and Elementary Schools have been using the Achievement Gap Reduction program, or, AGR. The goal is to try and increase the average RIT scores so that they are above the national average. At the Grantsburg School Board meeting on Monday, Ibby Olson, the Nelson Primary School principal, was in charge of reporting to the school board how the grades did with their goals and what strategies were being used to meet these goals.
Olson started off by saying that all of the scores for kindergarten through third grade are above the national average.
For the kindergarteners, they succeeded and went beyond their goals in reading and math. The strategies that have been implemented to reach these educational goals is small class sizes and one-on-one (1:1) tutoring.
The first-graders were just shy of reaching their educational goals, but Olson stated that they are still significantly above the national average for other first-graders. The strategies they are implementing in first grade is continuing to keep the small class sizes and 1:1 tutoring.
The second-graders met their educational goals, but the class sizes were a little larger than they would have liked. The other grades averaged having 18 children per class while the second-graders had approximately 20 per class. They did exceptionally well in the math portion of the goals. Olson went on to say, “I think in second grade, something like 75 percent of our students are in that top 20 percent in the nation for math.”
The third grade was just a few points shy of meeting their goal. They are still above the national average, but couldn’t quite reach the goal, though the bar was set high. Again, the smaller class sizes and 1:1 tutoring is the strategies being used to help reach these goals.
When Olson was done reporting on the goals, Dave Dahlberg asked what exactly the achievement reduction gap was. Olson responded with, “We are trying to figure out how to close that gap in achievement. The gap between what we are focused on as our socioeconomic status, so those students that are economically disadvantaged are what we are trying to close the gap on.” Olson also went on to say that even though that is what the state is looking for, they are also looking to make sure that there is equity between all of the groups. They take their data and still look at gender, students with disabilities and race. She wants to make sure that they are providing the best for all students.
Olson continued to explain that even though the socioeconomic group is what the state is looking for, the reports that Olson gave the school board were median scores for all of the students together in their grades to see if they grew from the beginning of the year. The state had OK’d the idea that they have goals that address the whole grade versus just the economically disadvantaged students.
The schools receive a significant amount of state revenue to operate the AGR program. The funding received for the 18/19 school year was $63,330 for Nelson Primary and $218,137 for the Elementary School. This funding helps support the tutoring, small classes sizes and instructional coaching.