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Schools of Recognition


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Since 2003, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has recognized Title I schools that have demonstrated success in educating students. To be eligible, schools must receive federal Title I funding to provide services to large numbers or high percentages of economically disadvantaged children and meet other achievement criteria (see criteria below). 
These awards recognize the work of students and their parents along with teachers, school administrators, and school staff members to break the link between poverty and low academic achievement. Their efforts help us ensure that every student graduates college and career ready.


Schools of Recognition Awards Paused for 2020-21 School Year

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Due to COVID-19, the state did not administer the 2019-20 FORWARD Exam. As a result, the Department of Public Instruction does not have the data to determine which schools meet the criteria necessary to select the 2020-21 Schools of Recognition. For this reason, as well as an abundance of caution for Wisconsin educators, DPI will not hold this spring's 2020-21 Wisconsin Schools of Recognition awards ceremony.

However, we would like to extend deep gratitude to ALL Wisconsin schools and educators for the perseverance and passion demonstrated daily during this extremely challenging year. The commitments and contributions made on a personal and professional level to better the lives and educational outcomes for students is truly inspiring.

Schools of Recognition Selection Criteria

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Beginning in 2012-13, DPI expanded the Title I Rewards Program to include High Progress and High-Achieving Schools. This expansion represents Title I schools that will serve as a model for all schools across the state striving to meet our nation’s new accountability measures and Wisconsin’s goals to improve graduation rates and close college and career readiness gaps.

All Wisconsin Title I Schools of Recognition receive federal Title I aid because they have significant numbers of students from low-income families based on the National School Lunch Act income guidelines. Also, all schools must meet criteria including at least 95 percent test participation, a dropout rate of less than six percent, and an absenteeism rate of less than 13 percent.

Additional award criteria include:

High-Achieving Schools

  • have achievement gaps that are less than three (3) percentage points between student groups or show evidence of reducing gaps greater than three (3) percentage points and
  • demonstrate high achievement at the school level across content areas

High-Progress Schools

  • fall within the top 10 percent of schools experiencing student growth in reading and mathematics for elementary and middle school students or the top 10 percent of schools with the greatest improvement in high school graduation rates, and
  • have achievement gaps that are less than three (3) percentage points between student groups or show evidence of reducing gaps greater than three (3) percentage points

Beating the Odds Schools

  • are in the top 25 percent of high-poverty schools in the state, and
  • have above-average student achievement in reading and mathematics when compared to schools from similarly sized districts, schools, grade configurations, and poverty levels 

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Click here to see the Wisconsin Schools of Recognition Current and Past Honorees