Phoenix a ‘beating the odds’ school for third time

WisconsinDPIDELAVAN — For the third time since 2013, Phoenix Middle School in the Delavan-Darien School District has been recognized for providing solid education for its students.

Phoenix earned a 2015-16 Wisconsin Title I School of Recognition Award and was a “beating the odds” school, as named by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Robert Crist, Ed.D.

Superintendent Robert Crist, Ed.D.

“This award shows that our students and staff are committed to working hard to overcome challenges each day and achieve great success,” said Superintendent Robert Crist, Ed.D. “This is a very special achievement. I am proud of the students and staff for what they’ve achieved. Our parents and community members should be proud of our school and students, too.”

Phoenix was one of 169 Wisconsin schools earning a School of Recognition Award this year, which recognizes success in educating students from low-income families. Schools qualify on the basis of being high achieving, high progress and/or beating the odds.

See the News Release from the Wisconsin DPI

“Congratulations to these schools. They are examples of the academic success we need in all of our schools to close achievement gaps,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers in announcing the Wisconsin Title I Schools of Recognition for the 2015-16 school year. “These awards recognize the work of students and their parents along with teachers, school administrators, and school staff members to break the link between poverty and low academic achievement. Their efforts will help us ensure that every student graduates college and career ready.”

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.

Phoenix, one of two “beating the odds” schools 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 of economically disadvantaged children.

Phoenix Middle School students have shown consistent growth in their math and reading achievement as measured by the MAP test, which was given to all students three times last year. The testing data shows that, as a student body, Phoenix students tended to made gains from fall to spring regardless of ethnicity and socio-economic status.

Principal Hank Schmelz

Principal Hank Schmelz

“I am not surprised we were given the award,” Phoenix Principal Hank Schmelz said. “We have an outstanding core of dedicated staff. As a school we have made it our focus in all content areas to improve reading. Language arts teachers alone cannot shoulder the burden to raise reading achievement. This is the joint responsibility of every educator.”

As an award-winner, the school will receive a commemorative plaque, and representatives from the school will attend a recognition ceremony with State Superintendent Evers in Madison on March 14.

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