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RF District report card: 'strong and steady'

While students at local schools may be receiving or preparing to receive their report cards, it's also the time of year that River Falls School District receives its report card from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

River Falls' overall score this year, a 77.7, is very close to last year's 77.6.

"I think that we kind of expected to be very similar to what we were last year," said River Falls Director of Academic Services Jennifer Peterson.

She said the state has required the same assessments for a couple of years now, and helped the district focus on "good solid instruction" in the classrooms.

The overall score is broken down into several different areas. River Falls' scores are as follows:

• Overall: 77.7

• Student achievement: 76.5/100. This measures both English language arts achievement and mathematics achievement.

• District growth: 70.8/100. This measures both English language arts and mathematics growth.

• Closing Gaps: 70.5/100. This measures English language arts and mathematics achievement and graduation rate gaps.

• On-track and postsecondary readiness: 90.5/100. This measures graduation rates, attendance rates, third grade English language arts achievement, and eighth grade math achievement.

By comparison this year's state averages are:

• Student achievement: 63/100

• District Growth: 66/100

• Closing Gaps: 67.9/100

• On-track and postsecondary readiness: 85/100

Peterson said the district's performance has been "very strong and very steady."

She said the district has an overall priority of personalizing student learning and meeting students where they're at.

"We do have a lot of new enrollments and we're increasing and growing quite steadily in River Falls," she said.

She feels the strong education system draws people to River Falls.

"I think the big thing that we've learned is that we're continuing to do what's best for kids and our staff in the district," Peterson said. "And we need to continue to stay that course."

She said the district saw significant increases at the Montessori and Meyer Middle School, both of which had focused on closing achievement gaps. The high school showed some growth as well.

Peterson said the district doesn't just look at the results from one year to the next, but over several years.The district also uses other measures of its success, such as a climate survey given to students and staff every year, and classroom data.

"We have, internally, multiple points of data to help us address the needs to students, to help them grow academically," Peterson said.

The administrative team uses that data to identify priorities in the district.

The district's report card details can be viewed at

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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