Total Enrollment: 3,333
|Students identified as students with disabilities:||10.1%|
|Students indentified as economically disadvantaged:||21.8%|
|Students identified as minority:||10.6%|
|Students identified as limited English proficient:||2.0%|
|Students identified as talented/gifted:||5.0%|
"We believe we're here to educate all kids and we take it personally when someone isn't succeeding," said Tim Onsager, in his third year as superintendent of the Stoughton Area School District (SASD). "For our work to be sustainable, it can't be person dependent. We all hold each other accountable for student success," he added. Located in south central Wisconsin. SASD serves approximately 3,300 children across three elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school.
The movement away from programs driving teaching and learning, to a focus on the district-wide implementation of comprehensive services to ensure each child's success, began about eight years ago and has led to a major rethinking and restructuring of what all adults do at every level of the district. Once a district with high rates of special education identification and low graduation rates for students with disabilities, SASD now embeds services for all children, including those who need the most support, into the day-to-day instructional process used at each school. Similarly, related services providers (e.g., school psychologists) are embedded in the school operation, working alongside students, teachers, and administrators to support the delivery of high-quality instruction in the regular environment.
We believe we're here to educate all kids and we take it personally when someone isn't succeeding. For our work to be sustainable, it can't be person dependent. We all hold each other accountable for student success.
– Tim Onsager, Superintendent of Stoughton Area School District
Special education identification rates dropped from almost 19 percent in 2004-05 to 9.8 percent in 2009-10. At the same time, graduation rates improved for all students – from about 85 to 97 percent – with the most dramatic improvement evident for students receiving special education services – from 68.6 to 97 percent.
This increase was the result of focused attention prompted, in part, by the district receiving a focused monitoring visit from the state education agency because of its low graduation rates for students with disabilities. Being identified for focused monitoring, according to Schneider, was "one of the best gifts because it led to further focused work and improvements," he said.