Beaver Dam School Wins National Award


Statistics show half the students at South Beaver Dam Elementary fall into the disadvantaged category.
Yet the school scored 100 percent on reading, knowledge and concept exams and more than 96 percent in attendance.
The school received a National Blue Ribbon Award from the U.S. Department of Education.
“There is no child left behind,” said parent Amy Grunst. “No child who can’t go. Everybody goes.”
“Our expectations are high,” said Principal Dan Rikli. “We are sensitive where they came from, but we expect just as much from every kid who walks into this school.”

6 thoughts on “Beaver Dam School Wins National Award”

  1. Contrast the success at Beaver Dam to the attitude of the MMSD that 100% success isn’t possible because the district includes large numbers of disadvantaged students. Success becomes easier when leaders expect success.

  2. When have we heard one of our administrators state success ‘isn’t’ possible?
    The success of this school is awesome. I find it hard to compare MMSD with a school of 125 children.
    I note however that Middleton High School is also receiving a Blue Ribbon award for the no child left behind. I believe they announced it in their Chamber of Commerce newsletter. That may be a better one to compare.

  3. I’m glad that you asked, Maryisue.
    Check this link: State Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers justifies low scores (by blaming kids in poverty).
    Check this link:
    Superintendent Art Rainwater defends Reading Recovery, which succeeds only 60% of the time.
    Check this link:
    Some of those intereviewed say 100% success is impossible. Others think that it is.
    The Beaver Dam school shows that 100% success is possible. We should expect nothing less.

  4. Thanks for the links. It’s worth staying informed on how the 2001 federal act plays out. In all three articles, the closest I came to interpreting someone finding it ‘isn’t’ possible was not an MMSD leader but one from an adjoining suburb.
    Yes, many find the act difficult and the goals lofty but that to me is different than an outright … “It’s not possible.”
    It sure would be fun to imagine twice the number of elementary schools in our district to allow the close interaction and personal attention with school enrollments of 150-200 vs. 400-700. That’s not our world. It’s encouraging to note our school leaders say we continue to improve and the new guidelines are admirable.
    For fun, let’s imagine a worse case scenario: a school on the list for 2 years in a row. What’s that going to do? Not only is the school on an advertisement for lacking success; it decreases the number of families wanting to move to the neighborhood school, probably decreasing a balance in school enrollment, increases transportation costs for those choosing to send their children to another option and increases costs of staff needed for group/individual tutoring. These are not good outcomes for any city/township/suburb.
    I have concerns about teaching to a test and not creating well-balanced individuals. I guess I know too many who have moved here to the U.S. to accomplish just that, many European schools look great on paper and superior to performing tests. This one takes SEVEN days from a child’s learning experience. Anxiety is already high because they’re afraid to fail (most likely because instructions were misinterpreted) putting on undue stress.
    But again, I come back to the NCLB act. Formulas look great on paper…then the real world plays into them and faults in the calculations are found. The revenue caps probably looked good too *sarcasm* …scroll to read Lambert-Smith 10/23/05 “Over Due School Reform.” Personally, maybe this will work, maybe it won’t. I expect leaders in education to understand the formula, what it will take to succeed and why the formula may not be the best measurement and able to try new ideas and balance. We will not know any of this until we try. Overall, that’s what I read in these articles.

  5. This is no small feat and South Beaver Dam Elementary certainly deserves the recognition.
    And we certainly should expect our students to be literate.
    I’d just observe that the actual number of students at this school taking the WKCE was 14 in 2003 and 12 in 2004. 4th grade enrollment in 2004 was 17.
    If all MMSD elementary schools has cohort sizes like this, it is likely that some would also have 100% proficient/advanced on the 4th grade WKCE.

  6. Thanks for pointing out those numbers, Tim S. Further proof that all this testing is a numbers game and the conclusions you reach often depend on which numbers you do — and do not–look at. Having 12 – 17 students in a grade level –and that’s in Kdg, gr.1, gr. 2, and gr.3, not just when they hit the testing in gr. 4— may be the real message here: smaller class sizes make a difference.
    JMO…from 27 years of teaching in FL, rural AL, Milwaukee Catholic schools and West Bend.

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