Most Fox Cities residents can say truthfully that their children are above average.
Graduation rates are higher here than the averages statewide, and are improving. Wisconsin ranks third nationally in graduations. Competencies in math, reading and science, also exceed state averages in the Fox Valley, all according to the 2016 Fox Cities Leading Indicators for Excellence (LIFE) Study.
The LIFE Study has been conducted every five years since 2001. It is sponsored by United Way Fox Cities, the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. The study looks at Outagamie, Winnebago and Calumet counties. The four priorities for community change selected by a cross-section of more than 200 area residents in a daylong examination of the LIFE Study were: poverty, youth health, student performance, and youth safety. We will highlight different sections of the report weekly here in The Loop. Read more at foxcitieslifestudy.org.
The educational gap between the haves and have-nots narrowed slightly since the last study, but coming from a low-income family still constitutes a great disadvantage for learning. Third-grade reading proficiency was more than twice as high for students not economically disadvantaged.
Kimberly schools had the highest proficiency in math (67%), Winneconne in reading (50%) and Stockbridge in science (93%). Concern remains that, for most districts, reading proficiency is 40% and math just over 50%.
There has been slow but steady growth in percentage of students whose family income is low enough that they qualify for free or reduced lunch. In 2014, Winnebago County was the highest at 39%. Calumet and Outagamie were at 29%.
Most surprising statistic: The Chilton and Stockbridge school districts reported zero dropouts in 2014, while Appleton and Omro had 8% dropout rates.