School Success

Percent of children reading proficiently by 3rd grade

42%SY 2019

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Story Behind the Curve

Every Child Thrives partners recognize that 3rd grade reading proficiency is an important predictor of future success in learning and life. From 2015 - 2017, 3rd grade reading proficiency rates were declining in the Watertown Unified and Dodgeland School Districts. In 2017-18 only 31% of 3rd grade students were reading at grade level, with economically disadvantaged students achieving at an even lower rate. We are collectively committed to turning the curve upward. 

Root causes identified for low 3rd grade reading proficiency rates include:

  • Absenteeism
  • Lack of social emotional skills needed for success in the classroom
  • Limited targeted, individualized reading support
  • Limited family engagement

The priority of the Every Child Thrive effort for the last few years has been to establish teams to study data, identify students in need of extra support, and determine appropriate interventions. Specific interventions to date include evidence-based Wisconsin Reading Corps tutoring and Bell Xcel programming, both which have boosted student reading proficiency rates of participants. We were pleased to see an increase in overall reading proficiency to 42% in 2018-19. Standardized assessments were not issued in 2019-20 due to Covid, and we expect that proficiency rates may go down in 2020-21.

In addition to targeted interventions, a strategic priority for Every Child Thrives is to support the social emotional development of all students, which will impact this outcome. 

  • Students, families, extended families
  • Education
  • Mentoring programs
  • Before and after school programs
  • Parenting support
  • Library
  • Summer programs
  • Businesses
  • Non-profits
  • Faith community
  • Fiscal partners
What Works
  • Decreasing the number of students who are chronically absent during the school year
  • Increasing students' social and emotional skills
  • Increasing support of student learning during out of school time
  • Effective reading instruction matched to student needs
  • Creating authentic family-school partnerships

The following two strategies deployed by Every Child Thrives proved successful and are moving to a continuous quality improvement phase led by the school districts:

  • Summer Learning Program (Bell Xcel) - summer programming to help eliminiate "summer slide" among elementary students reading below grade level
  • Wisconsin Reading Corps Tutoring - Daily, evidence-based tutoring to elementary students just below grade-level reading status


The strategy that the Every Child Thrives effort will focus on moving forward focuses on the social emotional development of all children. 



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