Northwoods Community Elementary School recognized by U.S. News and World Report
This month, Northwoods Community Elementary School in the Rhinelander school district was recognized by the U.S. News and World Report as one of the best elementary schools of 2024.
NCES ranked number 261 out of 1,945 schools in Wisconsin.
For Principal Gayle Daniels, this recognition is a few years in the making.
U.S. News and World Report ranks schools based on state test scores, student backgrounds, achievement in core subjects, and how well they educate their students.
Daniels explained that two years ago, the school noticed that their students’ math scores were lagging behind their goals.
They committed themselves to professional development and the results were soon clear.
“We saw a huge improvement in students’ scores in mathematics. So we thought, okay, our math is doing really well, our kids are being successful. So let's dig into literacy,” said Daniels.
That’s their focus for this year.
“We're working with those students either in small groups or individually, to help them boost their skills, along with working with some kids that maybe are on the higher end of the spectrum, where they're already successful, but we don't want them to, what we call ‘flatline’,” she explained.
The school wants to see progress in each student, regardless of their starting point.
Daniels says a new lawhas also contributed to students’ success in literacy learning.
The 2023 Wisconsin law stipulates that all schools are required to provide science-based early literacy teaching.
That means there’s a renewed focus on phonics, vocabulary building, oral language development, and other science-based instruction.
“We have just dove right in and our teachers are getting on board totally to the science of reading and what we need to do to improve our skills so the students are more successful,” said Daniels.
Daniels says it will take a few years before literacy scores see changes, but she’s optimistic.