At Monday's Minocqua-Hazelhurst-Lake Tomahawk school board meeting the board reviewed the 2008-09 Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination.
The annual state-mandated test is given to students in grades 3-8. The testing is in math and reading, but fourth- and eighth-graders are tested additionally in language arts, science and social studies.
Faye DeMarte, the 6-12 curriculum director for Lakeland area consortium districts, said the school had met or exceeded its guidelines by being in the 90th percentile.
Part of the presentation showed a proficient and advanced math and reading comparison between MHLT and the state. During the 2008-09 school year MHLT sixth-graders scored 91.7 percent in reading compared to the state's 83.3 percent overall. In math, MHLT students scored an 83.3 compared to the state's 76.5 percent. MHLT seventh-graders scored 89.3 percent in reading and an 83.9 in math. The state scored an 85.7 and a 78.2, respectively.
State eighth-graders scored 84.7 in reading, 78.4 in math, 62.9 in language arts, 75.7 in science and 80.5 in social studies.
MHLT ranked 91.2, 82.4, 73.5, 91.2, and 83.8, respectively.
Tracking advanced and proficient percentage over three years for reading and math shows the progress that MHLT's students have made.
In 2006, MHLT's third-graders ranked 86.5 in reading and in 2007 fourth-graders scored 90.9 percent.
In 2008, fifth-graders scored 92.6. The sixth grade ranking from 2006 until 2008 shows the reading levels going from 88.3, 87.9 and finishing at 91.2 for 2008.
Mathematics was mapped out from 2006-08 and similar increases were found. Third-graders in 2006 scored 76.9. In 2007, fourth-graders scored 85.5 and in 2008 the percentages were at 81.5 for fifth-graders.
MHLT sixth-graders scored 81.7 in 2006. In 2007, seventh-graders scored 80.3 percent and eighth-graders 82.4 in math.
"There tends to be an increase" in scores as they move through grades third to fifth," DeMarte said.
She pointed out that 53.7 percent that 2007 MHLT third-graders had scored was atypical of the school. By the following year the fourth-graders scored 76.9.
DeMarte told the board that they have to look at the previous year as part of what is going on with scoring. The students are using most of the knowledge they garnered from the previous year.
DeMarte said MHLT is a good place for economically disadvantaged students because they are scoring higher than the state average. The WKCE/Wisconsin Alternative Assessment (WAA) combined reading and math grades surpassed the state's. For reading, MHLT ranked about 82 percent and the state ranked about 68 percent. Combined grades for math for economically disadvantaged students at MHLT is about 70 percent and about 60 percent for the state.
Principal Rob Way said there are no excuses for the school not to make changes that are needed raise test scores, which he would like to see at 100 percent.
Way said the school needs to take a systematic approach by looking at data, identify students who need extra help and having data retreats.
"We have a very diverse student population here and I believe, and we believe, that all kids can be successful," Way said. He told the board this could be accomplished by implementing a systematic approach.
He also said the school is moving toward district assessments. The grade level assessments would be done at the beginning, middle and end of the year. This would allow the school to get students on track earlier
DeMarte said that the school's grade level assessment is up in the air because the state just revised its own assessments.
"We'll be working through the revisions of the standards next year," DeMarte said.
Back-up system and print service
Jay Christgau approached the board about buying a disk to disk backup appliance from Revinetix.
The system in its entirety will cost $12,000 and be spread out over two budget periods. The system is valued at $29,550. The school is getting three years of free technical support and upgrades.
"In a nutshell, right now if a server crashed I would have to try and pull the data from different places that it is stored together and rebuild the server," Christgau said.
The device takes a "snapshot" of the server throughout the day. This gives Christgau multiple backup points. The system even backs up licensed software, making it so he can replace a single file or the entire operating system. The backup is not dependent on a primary machine. The system will be at a central point but will be hooked into the school's servers.
If disaster would strike the current system it would take him more than a day to get things up and running. Also with the current system, if a file is corrupt it will be backed up corrupt.
Board member Billy Fried said that his concern is that the board had just okayed a new clock and phone systems, and the new backup system could wait.
Board member Kent Petersen said that one day in loss of production would equal the expenditure.
Christgau also brought the board an offer from Bauernfeind Business Technologies for a new printer setup for the school.
The school will be selling its current printers and copiers. The savings are being projected in excess of $20,000 over the next five years.
One of the money-saving aspects of the printers is that to print or make copies, a personal code must be entered. In an interview with The Times, Christgau said that this is another way for MHLT to move toward being a "greener" school.
The school will go from 28 printers and five copiers to three printers, three color copiers, two high performance black copiers and two combination copier-fax machines. After five years the school will own all the equipment.
Paper will be the only cost outside the Revinetix contract. The entire lease-to-own contract will be $22,000.
Christgau said that this year's projected cost is $26,000 for the current printing and copying system. If the school goes under the allotted color and black and white printing costs, MHLT will be credited the excess funds toward next year's contract.
Other board news
Special education health aide Kim Emmerich is resigning to continue working with a student as they move to high school.
The school approved the hiring of Kristina Kassien as the full-time 4k/early childhood teacher.
MHLT reached a 66/30 agreement for a student with the Rhinelander School District where MHLT will be able to count the student every third Friday and MHLT will pay the open enrollment amount of $6,400.
Samantha Hernandez can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.