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Sauk Prairie School Board hears about progress at Tower Rock


October 18, 2018

The Sauk Prairie School Board continued their tour of schools in the district by holding their Oct. 8, 2018 board meeting at Tower Rock Elementary. Superintendent of the Sauk Prairie School District, Cliff Thompson started the meting off by doing recognitions and then giving the Third Friday Official count which is at 2,789 students. Thompson went on to say, “We slipped under 2,800 but we celebrate that we’ve taken a bit of a dip. It’s not significant and when we put in all of the averages, this count is still the third highest during my seven years.” He continued, “We will see some growth and some dip back but every one of these students is precious to us and we celebrate each of the 2,789 students.”

Kelly Petrowski, Principal of Tower Rock Elementary went on to give the board a presentation on the Tower Rock Elementary School Data Review. Over the last few years the staff have been asking themselves “why they are here?” Petrowski went on to say, “We know we are here for our students, to help support the students to become the best versions of themselves, academically and socially.”

The teachers have decided to come up with a mission and vision for Tower Rock Elementary which is currently in a draft form. They are going to continue to edit and revise it and ask input from families and staff to ensure their “why” aligns with the districts “why.”

Petrowski then briefly touched on where the school was going last year which included social and emotional wellness for students and staff. They embarked on a yearlong study and she said, “We know students and staff will do their best when they are well. When their basic needs are met, when they feel safe and secure.”

“We did see some signs of staff burnout and that is something we wanted to address and we were able to address this during our Professional Learning Communities (PLC) time,” Petrowski said. The group set out to teach both students and teachers about social and emotional well-being, especially about emotional regulation. “We were seeing some extreme behaviors and it was taking its toll on students and the staff so we taught the zones of regulation.”

The Zones of Regulation is a conceptual framework used to teach students self-regulation and self-control. The Zones of Regulation categorizes states of alertness and emotions into four colored zones. It teaches students to use strategies or tools to help them move between zones. For example, the green zone is the “ready to learn” zone while the yellow zone is “starting to feel frustrated” and the red zone is “feeling of anger, sad, tired, or depressed.”

“So we taught students that it’s ok to be in the yellow or red zone but with asking themselves how can we move you into the green zone,” Petrowski said.

She went on to talk about where the school is strong, which included the decline in office referrals for students which was at 157 students in the 2016-2017 year and down to 87 during the 2017-2018 year. The school has also seen an increase in their Math scores which was up to 50% during the 2017-2018 school year compared to 44.5% statewide. This score is up significantly from the 2015-2016 year when the school was at 27.6% with the state being at 43.3 % that same year. The school would like to see growth in their reading numbers, with students being at 40.8% on the Forward Exam compared to 43.1% statewide. Petrowski did say that, “This is a point of concern that we will be digging a little deeper into this year. It brings up issues of equity and how are ensuring equitable practices for all of our learners.”

The school plans to understand the biases in the classroom, to support not label students and empower not handicap students. “This means we need to not remove students from their learning space when they can best learn from their learning space and make sure that they are made to feel like, yes I belong,” said Petrowski.

The school plans to use a multi-level system of support for academics, social/emotional learning and ELL practices to focus on in the 2018-2019 school year. They are also looking at what classroom-based interventions are they doing to support behavior and should they bring in a specialist to help support a student if they need it, like a school counselor for example.

The board went on to approve a number of policies with copies available at the district office and also accepted donations from the Knights of Columbus to the special education department, Linda Block and Family in Memory of Bob Block to support Hooked on Fishing Program and the Friends of Education to Tower Rock Elementary School for field trip expenses and support of agriculture education.

The next board meeting will take place on Oct. 22, 2018 and it will be back at the District Office and the levy will be certified during this meeting.


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