UW-Madison valuation experts partner with students and staff at Capital High

November 30, 2021

By WCER Communications

Capital High student Mitzy Magallan reads to students at Orchard Ridge Elementary School for a district event.

As part of an Adopt-a-School program, experts in Wisconsin Assessment Collaboration (WEC) at the School of Education’s Wisconsin Center for Educational Research are partnering with Capital High School in Madison on an education and equity building program.

Mary Bartzen, director of community partnerships for the Madison Public Schools Foundation, said the arrangement prioritizes unique contributions from WEC. While WEC has provided more traditional support since the partnership began in early 2020 – volunteering, collecting supplies – its most valuable resource is intellectual, in the form of a free dual credit course in research and cultural assessment. adapted proposed this academic year. for students of non-traditional public high school.

“The focus has been on the expertise of the WEC, which is extremely valuable,” says Bartzen.

The benefits of partnership, however, go both ways.

Supporting the school, which has posted a graduation rate of over 90% over the past 3 years, is a great opportunity for WEC to invest its resources on issues it values, including diversity and empowerment. equity, says the WEC researcher. Robin is worth.

“We just felt it was putting our money where we were,” says Worth, who took some of the early steps to partner with Capital High. “I was so impressed with everything Capital High was doing. And as a side benefit, it really helps us at WEC to have this common cause. It’s just one more way to bond us as organization.”

A central part of the partnership this year is to help students acquire the skills involved in culturally relevant research and assessment at Capital High, which revolves around project work and experiential learning. . In accordance with this objective, the course program includes a practical project in which students will design, complete and report on an evaluation study. Registered at High capital, who are generally from low-income backgrounds and the majority of whom are students of color, will conduct their assessments in collaboration with academics, educators and mentors from the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), the Madison community and UW − Madison.

Photo by Annalee Good
Co-director of WEC Annalee Good

“Capital High is an amazing organization,” says Annalee Good, co-director of WEC. “We have had an incredible experience working and learning with the students and staff at Capital High.”

Entitled ‘Research and Evaluation for Equity’, the English Language Course in English is designed to gain an understanding of the advanced knowledge and skills needed to do research and evaluation that focuses on equity and supports equity. social justice – values ​​consistent with WEC’s own mission, according to the Good and Shahanna McKinney Baldon, who will co-teach the course with Capital High English instructor Christina Grulke.

“The idea to collaborate on a course of research and assessment arose out of a conversation about how to better engage students in defining and measuring these ‘big’ ideas we have in education: learning, growth, power, health, voice, social justice, ”Bon explains. “Of course, from our perspective, sitting where we do it at WCER, we’ve said what better way to do it than through research and evaluation. “

Capital High students will explore the genre of research and review writing, before applying what they learn to create and present their assessment projects.

Photo by Shahanna McKinney-Baldon
WEC Evaluator Shahanna McKinney-Baldon

McKinney-Baldon, an assessor at WEC, says the course for her will be an “incredible opportunity” to return to the high school classroom.

“I taught high school for many years and this is my preferred level of education. former head of diversity at MMSD. “It’s unique among Adopt-a-School programs because it goes beyond traditional service projects and includes college-level courses taught at the high school level. “

Capital High principal Quinn Craugh praised WEC’s participation, describing it as a necessary addition to the cooperation the growing school is already enjoying with business-focused internships and two-year colleges. Capital High hosts just over 200 students – a 66% increase from 2019 – in three locations around Madison, but in the fall of 2023 it will be relocating to a single, central location in the District’s former Hoyt School at 3802 Regent. Street after a $ 6 million building renovation.

“A partnership with WEC is extremely valuable and important in continuing to refresh our vision for equity at Capital High,” says Craugh. “We have built a school designed specifically to individualize student pathways and ensure there is an opportunity for college and career preparation. One of the missing pieces we have had is making sure that there are clear four-year pathways to higher education. “

Craugh also notes that the course was designed to meet existing curriculum requirements under Common State Core Standards, in addition to providing the rigor and heightened expectations of an introductory course to the ‘UW-Madison.

“Partnerships with WEC and other community organizations are what really help us continue to focus on what’s innovative in our school, not just what’s alternative,” he says.

About WEC: WEC evaluators support organizations and initiatives serving youth with rigorous and culturally appropriate program evaluation within preK12 education system, including school districts, professional associations, state agencies, and community education-focused organizations.

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