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Local educators appointed to achievement-gap task force

Published On: Apr 02 2014 05:39:35 PM CDT   Updated On: Apr 02 2014 06:29:52 PM CDT
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State Superintendent Tony Evers named 17 educators to a task force that will identify classroom-centered best practices to address the state’s achievement gap, according to a release.

Evers said the task force, which will use a school-level data review, is the most important work he will do this spring.

The teachers and principals serving on the Promoting Excellence for All: State Superintendent’s Task Force on Wisconsin’s Achievement Gap were chosen because their schools show increased academic achievement, according to the release. Their schools are also closing achievement gaps, and the achievement of non-white students in their schools is improving.

Task force members are from public, charter and choice schools throughout Wisconsin’s urban, suburban and rural areas, officials said.

"The work of this task force is extremely important to me because it is directly connected to Agenda 2017, my vision for all of Wisconsin’s students to graduate college and career ready," Evers said in the release. "The task force and its work are my No. 1 priority this spring."

Evers is asking the group to examine instructional strategies and resources for teachers to use to close achievement gaps in their schools and districts, and to recommend local school board policy changes that can support efforts to close the achievement gaps in the state, according to the release.

The task force will produce a resource for teachers focused on instructional strategies and a report highlighting its findings, officials said.

Wisconsin as a state has overall high achievement on the ACT college admissions exam and is the “Best in the Midwest” for performance on Advanced Placement exams, according to the release. Its statewide graduation rate is among the top in the nation, but Evers said graduation rates for students of color are unacceptable.

"This task force is the key to helping me address Wisconsin's achievement gap," Evers said. "We want to find out strategies in the classroom and school levels that these educators have found to be successful in promoting excellence for all of their students."

Area educators on the task force include Sam Carter, principal of Robinson Elementary School in Beloit; Kendra Cerniglia, teacher at Leopold Elementary School in Madison; Allison DeGraaf, principal of Kennedy Elementary School in Janesville; and Jill Schmoldt, instructional coach at Westside Elementary School in Sun Prairie.

The group's first meeting will be held April 9 in Madison.

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