Wilson Middle School surpasses its pre-pandemic state test scores

Wilson staff are hopeful they'll continue their upward trajectory this spring.
Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 4:21 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Students and staff at a Cedar Rapids middle school are celebrating their success in the classroom. According to state data Wilson Middle School students saw impressive growth in their scholastic ratings, ranking higher than before the pandemic.

Learning loss during the pandemic has been widely reported, and like most schools Wilson did see a dip during that time. But it’s the way they’ve been able to bounce back that they’re proud of.

”Wilson has its highest score that it’s had in the last grades, five years excuse me, that it’s had since the school report card was released five years ago,” said Principal Mike Waters.

The state gives each school a performance profile, which is like a report card. It’s based on ESSA test scores or the Every Student Succeeds Act. The test compares scores in subjects like math and language arts to the state average, but it also measures growth.

”Seeing our students grow academically and watching them learn new things and really accel in ways that we thought they would have some decrease because of all of the challenges that were out of our control,” said Matthew Jenkins, Associate Principal at Wilson.

In 2018, Wilson’s over score was classified as ‘Needs Improvement.’ The following year they bumped that score up to an ‘Acceptable’ rating. During COVID, the school experienced a dip back to the ‘Needs Improvement’ level. But their latest rating is not only ‘Acceptable, it’s a higher rating than they received pre-pandemic.

Wilson ESSA scores.
Wilson ESSA scores.(Courtesy of Wilson Middle School.)

”Coming out of COVID is one thing. I think it’s also coming out of a couple of decades of a perception of how Wilson is, and we’re breaking that perception. Wilson is on the rise,” said Waters.

Wilson’s overall rating isn’t the top for middle schools in the Cedar Rapids School District, but they’re the only middle school that saw their highest overall rating in 2022.

Leaders believe several factors are involved. That includes the move to making sure every student has a laptop and with it implementing iREADY programming, a personalized math and reading tool. Staff say consistency, dedicated teachers, and building relationships have all played a role as well.

”I want to create a school that I want my kids to attend and we’re moving that direction. I have no doubt in my mind my students and my kids will attend Wilson,” Jenkins said.