Fort Howard School Year Ends June 30th

Summer break is starting a little later this year, and the next two years, for Fort Howard students. Fort Howard Elementary is one of four schools in Wisconsin that was designated a Priority School by the Department of Public Instruction.

Under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), Fort Howard failed to demonstrate Annual Yearly Progress three years in a row. While a racially diverse school, the majority of students (95%) are eligible for free and reduced lunch.

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In an effort to raise student achievement, Fort Howard has an extended learning day and year. For the 2013-14 school year, the school day was extended by 30 minutes, with 13 additional days added to the school year. Next year, Fort Howard will add another half-hour to the day in addition to the extra time added this year, resulting in an additional 50 days of instruction for the school year.

In addition to more time, Fort Howard incorporates parent learning sessions for the purpose of engaging parents around the curriculum so that they can support their child’s learning.

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According to Principal DeAnn Lehman, the most critical change the school has made is changing the focus of the teachers and the students. For teachers it is to place less focus on meeting proficiency targets (although that is the final goal), but rather are students showing growth. For students it is about adopting a “can do” mindset. Lehman pointed out that for her students taking risks and accepting mistakes is not a given.

A plan is already in place to keep momentum going after the last day of school on June 30. Students attended a book fair where they chose books based on their reading levels. During July and August, each student will receive, either by mail or hand-delivered, three books and one or two math activities every two weeks.

Lehman shared that school attendance remains the same and there were few questions and concerns from parents. The Green Bay Area Public School District and Fort Howard view the extended learning year as an opportunity. As for the students, they continue to enjoy coming to school and will be sad to see the school year end.

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