MADISON — State Superintendent Tony Evers praised Delavan-Darien’s Phoenix Middle School for being among 167 schools in the state that received Wisconsin Title I School of Recognition honors for the 2013-14 school year during a special Oct. 8 ceremony at the State Capitol in Madison.
Evers welcomed Phoenix Middle School Principal Mark Weerts and Reading Specialist Carol Schroth to the recognition event, where he presented them a 2013-14 Wisconsin Title I School of Recognition Award for being a “beating the odds” school.
The School of Recognition Awards recognize success in educating students from low-income families. Schools qualify on the basis of being high achieving, high progress and/or beating the odds.
“What a great way to start the school year,” State Superintendent Tony Evers said in a statement. “By recognizing schools for their success at educating our students, we put the focus where it belongs: on our children.”
As a “beating the odds” school, Phoenix Middle School has:
- Had above-average student achievement in reading and math when compared to similar-sized schools from like-sized districts with similar grade configurations and poverty levels;
- Met the state’s test-participation, attendance and dropout goals;
- Been placed in one of the top three accountability index categories of “meeting expectations,” “exceeding expectations” or “significantly exceeding expectations” on school report cards.
Phoenix, the only “beating the odds” school in Walworth County, also qualified for the award because the school is in the top 25 percent of Wisconsin schools for the percentage of students receiving federal free and reduced-priced school meals.
All award-winning schools receive federal Title I funding to provide services to high numbers or high percentages o economically disadvantaged children.
“Our staff and students have worked hard to make our school a better place for all learners,” Weerts said. “I am very proud of the work they’ve done and they truly are deserving of this award.”
Phoenix students have seen gains in reading and math on the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam the past several years. Some highlights* include doubling the percentage of sixth graders who were advanced in math between 2009 and 2011, and growing the percentage of advanced sixth grade readers each year between 2007 and 2011. Also, the percentage of advanced and proficient seventh grade students in math went up about 15 percent between 2010 and 2011.
In addition to receiving a commemorative plaque, the school received a $500 prize and marketing materials about being an award-winner. Phoenix teachers are also now eligible to compete for the Wisconsin Title I Schools of Recognition Teacher Fellowship Program, which funds professional development opportunities.
The School of Recognition Award is the second honor bestowed upon Phoenix Middle School since the end of the 2012-13 school year.
In June, the Wisconsin PBIS Network (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) recognized Phoenix as a “School of Merit” for implementing a high-quality, school-wide student behavioral program. That work has led to a more positive school learning environment for all students and staff.