If the Stoughton Area School District had a collective refrigerator, this report card would go right on the front door.

The district scored a 75.3 out of 100, or “exceeds expectations” in the annual Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction report cards; its highest score in the four years DPI has issued the state-mandated evaluations. The report was issued by DPI last week.

It’s also the first time the district broke the 72.9 “threshold” to move from “meets” to “exceeds” expectations, and that change was the subject of a brief but proud discussion at Monday night’s school board meeting.

District director of curriculum Kate Ahlgren said there is “much to acknowledge and celebrate within the district report.” She singled out the “hard work of staff and students” throughout the 2018-19 school year.

“One of the things we always say about our district report card is it’s an important measure,” Ahlgren said. “It matters to the community; it matters to us… to have this visibility.”

“It’s sort of like opening up the hood and seeing what’s going on.”

School board president Frank Sullivan told the Hub last week attaining the “exceeds expectations” rating “is a huge deal for us.”

“We’re really excited about this, and we’re really happy to see our staff and kids’ effort reflected in the results,” he said. “It’s wonderful the state has recognized the efforts that our staff have made to improve student outcomes.”

Looking ahead, Sullivan said the board has put a “ton of emphasis” on reading scores. As district officials work to upgrade the reading curriculum for next year, it’s an area they have targeted for continued improvement.

“They aren’t where we want them to be, and everybody knows that,” Sullivan said, ”Nobody in Dane County has really figured out how to move the needle on reading scores.”

Email Unified Newspaper Group reporter Scott De Laruelle at scott.delaruelle@wcinet.com.