At the start of every Ripon School Board meeting, the school district’s vision is read: “One of Wisconsin’s finest school districts, fostering excellence for all through innovation.”

   However, during Monday night’s board meeting, several administrators and teachers didn’t believe the district was upholding that vision regarding the reading and English language arts performances of Ripon middle schoolers.

   “We pride ourselves in being one of ‘Wisconsin’s finest schools,’ and we always set our bar to exceed that even further,” Curriculum Director Chrissy Damm said. “... [And] when you look at how we perform against the state, certainly we do continue to score above the average ... [but] when we look at the fact that anywhere between 35 and 50-plus percent of our kids are scoring at the basic or below basic level [in English language arts] that’s an area of concern.”

   Because a portion of Ripon middle-schoolers seem to struggle in some areas regarding reading and English language arts, Middle School Principal Rick Bunge, District Reading Specialist Jill Puhlmann-Becker and Damm recommended eighth-graders take a full reading course.

   If approved, this would be in addition to the English language arts (ELA) course that the eighth-graders already are required to take.

   According to the memo that was distributed to the board members, the goal is for students to “be exposed to the ELA and reading standards in their entirety that were previously limited due to time constraints.”

Read the full story in the Jan. 24, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.