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September 11, 2012 | 03:08 PMBob Kopydlowski, principal of Badger High School had good reason for smiling the first week of school.
"Things have started so smoothly," he said.
His mood wasn't hurt by learning that Badger had the highest composite ACT score of any class ever.
It beats state and national averages, too.
The composite score was 23. That compared with a state average of 22.1 and a national average of 21.
Badger High School's graduating class of 2012 exceeded state averages in every area of ACT testing, according to the recently released ACT Profile Report.
The report shows that in all areas, the percent of Badger High School students ready for college-level course work exceeds national averages, a press release said.
Of 292 seniors, 183 took the ACT Exam, or 63 percent. The highest scores came in reading with an average of 23.4 compared to the state average of 22.1 and the national of 21.3.
This is the fifth year in a row, since the class of 2008, that Badger's composite ACT Score has exceeded both state and national composites, the press release said.
"The improvement can be attributed to a number of things including ACT type questions being used by teachers throughout the school year, our ACT Prep class which started two years ago, and improvements in the overall curriculum of many classes," Kopydlowski said. "Higher ACT scores show us that our students are better prepared for college in whatever they choose to study. Not all of our students will go to college, but we want them prepared in case they do decide to go."
College readiness continues to be a focus at Badger, Kopydlowski said, and each year efforts are made to have more students participate in ACT testing and Advanced Placement (AP) courses and testing, all of which emphasize college-level skill attainment. In addition, many of Badger's classes carry dual credit meaning students earn high school and college transcripts at the same time and also prepare students for further college-level coursework.
Kopydlowski said there will be a continued focus on ACT scores in every class, noting that college and post-secondary school readiness is an integral part of high school education.
"We will be continually looking to improve our curriculum to best prepare our students for life after Badger," he said.
The high scores are especially gratifying to Kopydlowski because more than 40 percent of Badger students are on free or reduced meals, which usually represents a demographic that historically doesn't score that high.
Kopydlowski has been principal of Badger for four years; before that he taught there for 19 years. So how much of a change is it from teaching to being principal?
"You don't have enough notepaper," he said with that trademark smile.
So what's changed since you became principal?
One thing, Kopydlowski says, is more of a focus on individual education. As far back as the sophomore year, councilors are talking to students about their futures.
"The focus has to be on readying students for post secondary education. What is Johnny going to do when he graduates?" Kopydlowski said. "We're talking either college or technical school."
"Those who don't go on beyond high school are putting themselves into a pretty small pigeon hole," he said.
One thing that's been emphasized in school in recent years is practical education — how to balance a budget for instance and how to deal with credit cards.
In addition to the in-class work, there's a "reality check day."
That's run by a group called the Education Credit Union.
They quiz students on what they think they'll earn at certain jobs and what their expenses will be.