Gillett Middle School gets high marks

Administrators puzzled by gap between middle and high school scores
Warren Bluhm
News Editor

U.S. News and World Report has ranked Gillett Middle School among the top 100 middle schools in Wisconsin in its annual report of the best schools in the country.

“We’re in the top 40% of middle schools everywhere,” Superintendent Wayne Johnson said during the Gillett School Board meeting Nov. 16.

The ranking at shows Gillett as 87th among 494 middle schools in the state of Wisconsin, with student reading and math performance skills “well above expectations” compared to other schools in the state.

The high scores are in spite of the fact that 47% of the student population is considered “economically disadvantaged,” contributing to the school’s ranking, said Secondary Principal Shawn Limberg.

Limberg admitted he is puzzled at the difference between Gillett middle and high school in the just-released report cards from the state Department of Public Instruction. As in recent years, DPI rated the middle school as exceeding expectations while the high school score dropped slightly from a year ago and still meets few expectations.

The recent scores are an improvement from two years ago when Gillett High School failed to meet expectations, Limberg said.

“I still don’t completely understand how we can have such a high-scoring middle school and then the high school drops off so much in that overall score,” he said. “It’s the same kids.”

He added that the report card is “a snapshot in time” that does not define who the students are.

“A quote that I have heard repeated through a lot of different presentations that I’ve been involved in where the school report card is discussed is, ‘I care more about the people my students become than the scores on the tests they take,’” Limberg said. “I think that’s something that we just have to keep in mind.”