Wisconsin State Journal: Madison school officials say a nine-week “micro school” at the end of the 2017-18 academic year improved attendance, engagement and learning for a small group of at-risk La Follette High School students, but key questions remain about how the model could be implemented in the future.
The Madison School District launched the school April 5 at the Life Center Madison church in the wake of a string of fights and other behavior problems at La Follette, on the city’s East Side. The idea was to try to re-engage a small group of students believed to be responsible for much of the discord, in part by allowing them to have a greater say in what they learn and how they learn it.
Enrollment in the school was voluntary and while the district initially sought to recruit from 15 to 20 students, ultimately 13 — all black or biracial boys — signed up, and 10 of them showed academic, social and other kinds of progress toward graduation.
According to a July 9 report on the program:
- Ten students had plans in place to transition to a more permanent school placement this coming school year.
- Attendance for the 13 increased from 72 percent for school year prior to entering the micro school to 84 percent in the micro school.
- Students earned five partial-day suspensions during the nine-week session, as opposed to 30 during the school year to that point.
- Nine of the 13 students earned the maximum 3.5 credits available during the nine-week program, one earned three credits and three earned none.
The majority of the students also gave the school high marks.