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NR students exceeding expectations

New Richmond School District administrators were surprised with good news earlier this month when the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction released the results of the new school report cards.

The cards, which are a way of measuring college and career readiness, are new this year and focus on more rigorous state standards.

A report card is issued for each school in the state and the scores determine whether that specific school is meeting expectations. In New Richmond's case, all schools are meeting or exceeding expectations, said Jessica Ferguson, director of curriculum and instruction.

"Overall we feel really good about where we're at," she told the school board at its regular meeting Monday.

In New Richmond, the scores are as follows: New Richmond High School - 77.5; New Richmond Middle School - 71.3; Paperjack Elementary - 77.2; Hillside Elementary - 76.9; and Starr Elementary - 69.

The goal is to receive a score of 63 or better. All New Richmond schools, other than Starr Elementary, are exceeding expectations (a score of 73 or higher).

"We've been doing a lot of things to prepare ourselves for these (new standards)," Ferguson said. "Now, we're seeing a lot of the fruits of that early labor."

Specifically, Ferguson said New Richmond's math scores have improved significantly since hiring Vicki Gjovik, the district's math coach.

"Math used to be an area we struggled with as a district," she said. "Now it's considered a strength."

Ferguson said the addition of three new literacy coaches should help with the English/language arts scores in the future.

This report card reflects the results of the WKCE test taken during the 2011-12 school year, Ferguson told the board. Another school report card will be issued in the spring and will better reflect the current school year, she said.

In other news, the board:

• Approved a $99,000 settlement with Richland Center Bus Service Inc.

Richland Center Bus Service, the district's former bus service, previously claimed the district owed nearly $200,000 after misrepresenting its route miles when it sought bids for transportation services in November 2005.

On Oct. 3 the district, along with Richland Center Bus Service, participated in mediation and reached an agreement that constitutes a full and final settlement of all possible claims against the district.

The $99,000 does not include the district's attorney's fee, said Morrie Veilleux, district administrator; however, those fees are covered by the school district's insurance policy.

• Approved the resignations of Cindy Prochaska, special services paraprofessional at the middle school, and Nate Kirkman, school counselor at Hillside Elementary. Kirkman has accepted a position as assistant dean of students at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

• Approved the resignations of Rachel Minch, softball coach, and April Hamdorf, middle school specialist team leader.

• Approved the hiring of Tyler Hanson, JV boys' hockey coach; John Larson, JV boys' hockey coach; Adam Swanda, varsity boys' hockey coach; James Thies, varsity assistant girls' hockey coach; Ryan Unger, varsity assistant boys' hockey coach; and Patricia Van Nevel, middle school specialist team leader.

• Approved the hiring of Kristin Demulling, community education administrative assistant ; Jamie Graves, EIS paraprofessional at Starr Elementary; Marcia Kulbitski, gifted and talented program; Deone Parnell, special services paraprofessional at the middle school; Heather Pederson, school counselor at Hillside Elementary; Jaclyn Rehmke, special services paraprofessional at Starr Elementary; and Mary Teppen, special services paraprofessional at Hillside and Starr elementaries.

• Approved the reassignments of Mary Beth Elliott and Heather Martin.

• Accepted the donation of a 1997 Ford Taurus from Tim and Ann Scharfenberg.

• Approved a student's application to take Calculus III at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls through the school's Youth Options program. Total tuition will cost $758.56. Four other applications were denied due to students not meeting the criteria.

The board's next regular meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 19, in the district offices.

Jackie Grumish
Jackie Grumish has been a reporter with the New Richmond News since 2008. She holds degrees in journalism and fine art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Before coming to New Richmond, Jackie worked as the city government reporter at a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D. 
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