The Need for Checkups and Effects of Labels

Article by Jared Boon

It is interesting how strong a label, or being designated a certain way, can affect a child’s future. Whether it be at a young age or later in life, it can cause a child to enact the self-fulfilling prophecy and do the actions expected with their new “role/label.” Such as labeling a very young child who is hyperactive as “naughty,” while they are acting such as what they are, a child. Once they are prescribed this label it can create a new pathway where they are expected to act this way, or when they do not it would be considered strange by those supervising. It is human nature to try to maintain our role, but at times some individuals have the perseverance to deviate from how they are viewed.

The following article is an example of one of these individuals (who himself even questioned doubting authority), where he was thought to be a “slow learner” and rather had a disorder that caused a believed disadvantage compared to his classmates. When given the time to fully complete his test and assignments the child was able to go from averaging C’s in classes to almost all A’s. One struggle with our current system is that it is like the toddler’s toy of fitting shapes into holes, but there is only one hole and belief that all children are just one shape. Children come in a wide array of “shapes” that need new holes to be created for success to be a reality. We need to possibly reshape the way our education system works, but more importantly, figure out ways that students with deficiencies/delays are correctly identified.

One of the goals of Achieve Brown County, in the present, is to work with local healthcare providers to make sure that children aged 0 to 5 are receiving check ups for detecting physical, socio-emotional and cognitive deficiencies. This is important because initial data indicated the possibility that over 50% of children ages 0-3 who are identified as having potential developmental delays do not receive services. Having a service system set in place will allow for the detection of different deficiencies and prevent them from being labeling thus leading to a negative pathway for their educational life.

Schwartz, Katrina. 2016. “Rethinking Intelligence: How Does Imagination Measure Up?”

The Benefits of Play

Article by Marco Delbecchi

In a recent journal, Pediatrics called on pediatricians to encourage the families they serve to bring back play time for children. Not only is this increase in play necessary for physical wellness the journal states, it also is important for the child’s social, emotional, and cognitive well-being (1). The call comes as a response to growing fear that most children are not enjoying enough play time, or time playfully learning, in their day. The articles cites, “a recent report found that 98 percent of children under 8 years old now have access to a mobile device at home, and the average time children spend on mobile devices tripled between 2013 and 2017, from 15 to 48 minutes per day” (1). These statistics represent one major factor in a child’s life that takes away from their ability to spend time playing or playfully learning and gaining the physical and mental benefits of these activities.

Beyond the basic benefits that play and playful learning exhibit, other benefits discussed in the article that children experience from these acts include play aiding in “brain building,” play increasing executive functioning skills, and play helping in development of social competencies.

The article also argues for the inclusion of guided play, in which a child acts on their own in a setting initiated by an adult. This type of play, as opposed to that of free play, is said to benefit the child in “learning to learn” skills such as academic and language skills (1). One avenue for children in Brown County that promotes spending more time engaged and being socially interactive through guided play is community-based mentoring, made possible by many of Achieve Brown County’s community partner organizations. The fulfilling relationship that is allowed through a community-based mentoring match ensures the existence of play time for the child aiding in their overall healthy development and wellness.



Trauma Informed Care: Brown County’s Plan to Make a More Resilient Community

Article by Joan Connelly

Trauma is not something that can be easily detected in the classroom, but can hide and manifest in a variety of behaviors and actions. Any student in any given classroom could have experienced some sort of trauma that affects multiple aspects of their lives. According to the American Psychological Association, a traumatic event is one “that threatens injury, death, or the physical integrity of self or others and also causes horror, terror, or helplessness at the time it occurs [1].” Traumatic events could be sexual abuse, physical abuse, racism, bullying, suicides, car accidents, and a myriad of other events.

Unfortunately, childhood trauma is much more prevalent than most people think. In fact, 58% of Wisconsin adults reported having one or more adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) [2]. Additionally, a study by the American Psychological Association found that more than two thirds of children report experiencing a traumatic event by age 16. These numbers indicate that a trauma-informed approach to teaching and discipline should be implemented in all classrooms. Trauma-Informed care, according to Wisconsin Department of Health Services is “an approach to engaging people with histories of trauma that recognizes the presence of trauma symptoms and acknowledges the role that trauma has played in their lives [3].”

Our own Brown County United Way saw the tremendous need to inform our teachers and community leaders on the importance of fostering a safe and empowering learning environment for Brown County youth. The Community Training and Tools Team, an action team of the Brown County Child Abuse & Neglect Initiative (collaboration between Brown County United Way & Brown County Health & Human Services) has focused its efforts in creating a trauma-informed and resilient community through trauma-informed practice training and/or awareness events. The team has also developed a resource library and training materials and implementation toolkit to assist community organizations, schools and businesses to be trauma-informed. So far, they have engaged more than 800 local, unduplicated individuals in trauma-informed practice training and/ educational opportunities. They hope to continue the  efforts to building a community conversant in ACEs, resilience and trauma informed care and making a cumulative impact. Not unlike United Way’s progress, Green Bay Area Public Schools have also pioneered their own journey to becoming trauma-informed. In a multi-year project, GBAPS is committed to training all their staff. The future for our Brown County youth is becoming more and more bright.




Teacher Diversity

Article written by Charlie Schroeder, Continuous Improvement Coordinator

There is a growing body of research that suggests that minority students could benefit from assignment to teachers of their own race/ethnicity. However, minority teachers are typically underrepresented in the public-school system. This underrepresentation of minority teachers could be one of the many contributing factors to the student achievement gap.

There are a number of theories in existence that attempt to explain the mechanisms through which the assignment to a same-race teacher might influence a student’s achievement. [1] For years, research has documented the racial disparities in a variety of measures, including kindergarten readiness, early grade reading, early grade math, and high school graduation rates. [2] Many studies and reports have argued that increasing the diversity of teachers to better match the population of students they are teaching is a vital component to tackling the student achievement gap. [2][3]

One potential reason that students of color benefit more from having same race teachers is because teachers often act as role models for career success and academic engagement. [2] In addition, studies have also documented the notion that teachers of color tend to have higher expectations for their students of color than white teachers. [4] The interactions between students and teachers influence how the students perceives their own academic abilities, so having a teacher that does not seem to hold a student to a very high expectation could lead to decreased academic engagement and perpetuate a stereotype threat.

Following national trends, student diversity in Brown County is significantly different from teacher diversity. During the 2015-16 school year, 96.9% of county teachers were white, compared to 68.67% of students. This gap is widening over time. There is a much greater percentage of students identifying racially as Hispanic (10.4% -> 14.8%), two or more races (0% -> 4.1%), and black (4.7% -> 5.2%). [5] Alongside of individuals who identify as white, Asian and American Indians as a percent of total are dropping. Data projections show a considerable increase of Hispanic and African American students in Brown County’s public school system. The projections to 2019 show that as the Non-Hispanic White population decreases, Hispanic and African American populations will increase. [6] The growing diversity of the student body and lack of diversity among teachers in Brown County will be an important thing to keep in our minds as we research student achievement going forward.





[1] Holt, S. B., & Gershenson, S. (2015). The Impact of Teacher Demographic Representation on Student Attendance and Suspensions. Institute of Labor Economics.

[2] Ahmad, F. Z., & Boser, U. (2014). America’s Leaky Pipeline for Teachers of Color: Getting More Teachers of Color into the Classroom (Rep.). Washington D.C: Center for American Progress.

[3] Dilworth, M. E., & Coleman, M. J. (2014). Time for a Change: Diversity in Teaching Revisited (Rep.). National Education Association.

[4] Papageorge, N. W., Gershenson, S., & Kang, K. (2016). Teacher Expectations Matter. Institute of Labor Economics.

[5] ABC analysis of data; retrieved from (WISEdash Enrollment CURRENT) and (WI DPI’s Salary, Position, & Demographic Reports)


2017 FAFSA Completion Rates

Article by Carl Derge
2017 has saw FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) completion rates increase dramatically in both Brown County and the nation at large. Rates for the first 6 weeks of 2017 each showed an increase of at least 30% in our area. Further, each week data is available we saw an increase of at least 10%. Two changes in policy, the result of a 2015 executive order, likely account for this.
First, students can now complete the FAFSA earlier, starting on October 1st. Secondly, previous year tax data can now be used to complete the form. This means it is no longer necessary to estimate what tax data would be on the prior year’s returns. For example, a student who filled out the form this year could use tax filings from 2015 as opposed to estimating what would be on their family’s 2016 taxes. 
The below chart shows the overall Brown County FAFSA completion rate. 


See FAFSA completion rates for individual Brown County schools below.


Bay Port

De Pere


Green Bay East

Green Bay West

Notre Dame

N.E.W. Lutheran




West De Pere


Color Blindness

Article written by Joan Connelly, Equity Data Analyst

According to the National Eye institute, humans can have defects in photopigments responsible for responding to blue, green, and red light. Most people have normal color vision, or trichrome, in which all three types of light cones in the eyes are used. However, there are inherited color deficiencies that cause certain colors to look like others, or not be seen at all. The most common color deficiency is deuteranomaly, which makes yellow and green appear more red, followed by protanomaly, which makes red, orange, and yellow appear more green. The most rare form of color-blindness is blue-yellow, or tritanopia, where blue appears green and yellow appears violet or light grey[1]. A whopping 300 million people are affected by colorblindness, and it is more common in men. It is estimated that as many as 8% of men are affected by the deficiency, while only about 0.5% of women are affected[2]. This means that you likely know a person who views colors differently due to some type of color blindness!

For many of our visitors, data visualizations may be incredibly difficult to understand due to an inability to distinguish between certain colors. To bypass this barrier and make our website more accessible to a wider audience, we have implemented color palettes into our graphs and other visualizations that are easily detectable to those with color vision deficiencies.

To check out one of our color-deficiency friendly graphs, click here.

Participation Opportunity!

If you are color blind and are willing to participate in a study at the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Eye Institute, see details through the link below! Participants will be compensated $15 an hour.


To understand just how much this color deficiency can impact your life, check out these great websites! Input any url to see what it would look like with various color deficiencies. compares 8 types of color blindness with trichromacy.


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Factors that Influence Academic Achievement

Article written by Joan Connelly, Equity Data Analyst

In his book “Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement,” John Hattie, a professor of education and Director of the Visible Learning Labs at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, documents the results of 15 years of research and in-depth analysis of over 50,000 existing studies relating to what influences achievement in school-age students.

Hattie researched the effects of hundreds of factors including teacher clarity, pre-term birth weight, school size, reducing anxiety, bilingual programs, effects of frequent testing, drama/arts programs, web-based learning, mentoring, student control over learning, and many more to find the most influential teaching strategies and stressors to student performance [1]. The most powerful, however, was the effect of student mobility across schools. Changing schools, even just moving from elementary to middle and middle to high school, had negative effects on reading and mathematics. Being placed in a new school environment can create adjustment issues for young students and create problems with making friendships that support learning and make them feel accepted.

While these findings are compelling and eye-opening, it is important to note that these are only the factors that occur inside the classroom. Hattie does not account for all the factors external to the classroom that can hinder or promote success. These could include parental feedback or abuse, access to the internet for assignments, food insecurity, transportation, and health issues among many others.

The reality is that for some students who are experiencing poverty, school takes the back seat to focus on survival. Many of our own Brown County students are living below the poverty line. In fact, 40% of our students in Brown County were economically disadvantaged in 2014 [2]. In order to understand exactly what the biggest influences are towards academic achievement, a holistic study including the factors outside of classroom doors must be prioritized.


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[1] Hattie, J. (2009). Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement. Abington, England: Routledge. 


GED Option #2

Article written by Joan Connelly, Equity Data Analyst

There exists a myriad of reasons why a student would not complete enough credits to graduate on time, some include mental and physical illness or disability, having to work long hours to support their parents, poverty, and other issues that may be outside of the student’s power. While most students graduate the traditional way, our public schools offer options to ensure that no one falls through the cracks. One of these options is the GED-Option #2, or GEDO #2.

GEDO #2 is an alternative education program to offer to students at risk of not graduating. Districts can apply for the program through the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). Students who do not have the required amount of credits have the option of taking the GED to measure proficiency and readiness to complete high school. DPI requires that students be at least 17 years old, read at a 9th grade reading level, and be at least one year behind the class of students with whom they entered 9th grade. To enroll in the program, a meeting of the student, a parent or guardian, student’s guidance counselor, principal, and at least one teacher must be held to discuss the terms including hours of attendance per week and academic and behavioral expectations [1].  Admitted students are prepared to take the GED through a blend of online programs and in-person instruction to study GED concepts and take GED practice tests, along with lessons in financial literacy and employability skills [2].  After successful completion and a passing GED score, students in the program are given the same high school diploma they would have received had they gone the traditional route. This opens the doors for employment and post-secondary education endeavors that some students may have otherwise not had access to.


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Data Into Action DEC 2016

This is an exciting time to be doing data work for Achieve Brown County!  We just finished supporting a round of Outcome Teams with data they needed for their work. Next, we will be supporting the Action Teams with their data needs. 
The transition from Outcome Teams to Action Teams gives us the opportunity to evaluate our own data work.  Did the Outcome Teams get the data they needed?  Was it valid and reliable?  Were there data gaps?  How can we do a better job of flowing data down from our community dashboard to our teams, and from our teams back to our dashboard?  What data should we be sharing with the whole community on our Web site?  And, most important of all, how can we do a better job of using data to get ACTION and IMPACT?
In the next month or two we will be pulling together some new teams of research and evaluation experts from our community to help us answer these questions in a collaborate way.  The new teams will be called Data Teams. If you are passionate about kids and data and would like to be part of this volunteer effort, let me know!  I don’t have visions of sugarplums in my head at night during this holiday season.  Instead, I have visions of a dynamic community of local data geeks who want to use their unique skills and energy to help all kids in Brown County become the best they can be!

Brown County Graduation Sees Increasing Trend

Brown county high school graduation rates have seen an exciting upward trend over the last few years. For the classes that graduated in 2010, the 4-year rate was 84.3%. By the time the classes of 2016 graduated that rate had risen to 90.2%. Between 2015 and 2016 alone, there was an increase of 1.6%. Also notable is the fact that the 2016 Brown County graduation rate, at 90.2%, had surpassed the state rate of 88.7%.


Stay tuned to ABC for the latest news and stats on graduation rates and other important community data.