Walden is the only Racine middle school among a list of 83 in the state commended by State Supt. Tony Evers. The schools were named Exemplary Middle Schools based on student academic achievement.
“Middle school is a pivotal time for our students. They need a school environment that nourishes their phenomenal intellectual capacity while supporting their emotional growth and increasing independence,” Evers said. “Recognizing schools that have demonstrated success with students helps build strong academic expectations at the middle level.”
The Exemplary Middle School program, sponsored by the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators (AWSA) and Department of Public Instruction, is in its third year. The program recognizes middle schools with high growth in reading or math scores in the past school year; reading or math scores in the top 10 percent in the past year; or high growth in scores in reading or math for schools with a high poverty population.
Walden III's scores, as reported in the Public Policy Forum's 12th annual comparative analysis of RUSD last week, are surely outstanding. Here are some of its at-or-above proficiency numbers:
Reading: 94.5%7th grade
Reading: 97.1%8th grade
Reading: 98.6%Only the REAL Schools 6th - 8th graders came close to those figures; not a single other middle school in Racine scored above 78%, and most had scores in the 40% - 60% range, with a low at 27%.
Social Studies: 98.6%
Walden principal Bob Holzem said Walden (and Gilmore) had earned the exemplary distinction in the past. "We're happy to be noticed and appreciated and contiue to do what we do well. It's a testament to the staff and the kids who want to be here and the parents who support us."
“The Exemplary Middle School recognition program spotlights schools that are doing an exceptional job of preparing our students for the future,” said Jim Lynch, AWSA executive director. “The exemplary middle schools recognized by this award have set and met high standards. We will be looking to these schools for their ‘best practices’ in providing both a rigorous curriculum and the learning culture in which students thrive academically, socially, and emotionally during the middle school years.”
The Exemplary Middle School recognition program reviewed academic achievement records for 306 eligible schools based on grade-level configuration. Of those schools, the 83 receiving certificates are eligible for the 2009-10 Wisconsin Middle School of Excellence Awards, which will be presented at the Middle Level Commission Conference in Appleton on Feb. 18.
The complete list of Exemplary Middle Schools is here.