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GreatSchools Rating

Thoreau Elementary School

Public | PK-5 | 453 students

 

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Last modified
Community Rating

4 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
Based on 1 rating
2013:
Based on 4 ratings
2012:
Based on 4 ratings
2011:
No new ratings

Teacher quality

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Parent involvement

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11 reviews of this school


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Posted May 23, 2014

Our second and first grader love Thoreau. The teachers care about the kids, and there are a ton of events that build community among the kids, teachers, and parents that really make it feel like a community. A lot of parents walk their kids to school too, so they chat, share information and experiences, and form friendships that way. One review complained about drop offs, but I've never had a problem with this and there are two crossing guards stationed nearby as well as a newly installed light at the corner. The music and art teachers are also just great and there is a lovely park right next to the school in addition to the usual playgrounds. In the winter, the city floods a small part of the park to for a little ice rink. Girl Scouts meet just up the street in the neighboring church's basement, and after school care is available for working families. I would like to see a greater TAG presence in the school, as we have some gifted kids that would surely benefit, but I think that was just bureaucratic bumbling they'll work out. Overall, we love Henry David Thoreau! and, as the school song says, "We care about you and the feelings you show at Henry David Thoreau!"
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 27, 2013

In a word; amazing. One of the most significant achievement gaps in the city of Madison and Thoreau Elementary is tackling this head on with their eyes wide open. Our experience has been terrific.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 23, 2013

Invisible principal and overall poor management. One example is the unsafe drop-off and pick-up procedures. The Madison School District does not provide bus service for families living within 1 1/2 miles of schools. Thoreau is located on a very busy street and has no drop-off zone. Parking is extremely limited at this and other schools. Without bus service, parents have to shuttle kids back and forth daily (sometimes to multiple schools) dragging younger children along and limiting work schedules. Not sure how other raters decide on higher ratings, given this and other management issues, but more importantly the school's poor academic performance.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 3, 2013

Experienced, skilled, and caring teachers and a vibrant community have made our daughter's years at Thoreau wonderful. She is eager to learn and her needs have been met both academically as well as emotionally and socially. The leadership of the school is adept even as the socioeconomic diversity of the student body requires constant creativity. Rather than shy away from the challenge, the principal and staff consistently find ways to address the needs of ESL students, special needs students, and students facing economic hardship. The kids do what kids do best: learn and play and make memories together. Thoreau's diversity is its strength. I also tutor in the school every week. Despite the economic challenges that most of my tutorees face, their eagerness to learn and persistence shines through in every session. I was surprised to read one review referring to serious behavior problems. Thoreau uses a "catch them while they're being good" system of positive reinforcement for behavior that has been amazingly effective. Information is available here: http://www.thoreauschool.org/pbs I recommend Thoreau without reservation. It's a great school that fosters joyful learning.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 7, 2013

This school, and perhaps the district in general, has a real problem with managing significant behavioral issues and ensuring the safety of ALL children. This, of course, interferes not only with the emotional well-being of the student, but it also hampers learning. There are many issues that seem to be related to the school's leadership or lack thereof.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 24, 2012

We absolutely LOVE Thoreau! It has such a caring and dedicated group of teachers, along with a great principal. Our 3 children are thriving and continue to be well above average in both math and reading. I love the focus on the environment, community and a healthy body(yoga in the classroom). They have exceeded our expectations!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 22, 2012

My child's needs have not been met this year and we are looking for another school and perhaps another district. Not impressed with MMSD.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 7, 2012

Thoreau is a wonderful community of learners. We are always trying to find the best ways to reach our students.
—Submitted by a teacher


Posted February 6, 2012

My family and many of our Dudgeon-Monroe Street neighbors have attended Thoreau for the past decade. It has been a very positive experience for both my daughter and my son. The current principal is amazing. Our teachers (like most in Madison) are the cream of the crop. They care about the entire community. The community at Thoreau is amazing. Because families are at our school from K-5, most families have multiple children pass through the school. Our parents are so supportive and involved in many aspects of the school day. Together this community of families, teachers and others has created a school that has welcomed and educated my children very well. I am sad to be leaving Thoreau when my son graduates this fall. I feel like it is at it's best point ever and will continue to soar. It has recently been adopted by GHC, has numerous volunteer tutors, classroom yoga instruction, dedicated teachers, a beautiful park setting, modern facilities, committed parents and a wonderful leader at the helm.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 28, 2009

This is our daughter's 3rd year at Thoreau. Every teacher she has had has exceeded our expectations. We know many others in our neighborhood who feel the same. The kids at Thoreau are somewhat socioeconomically divided - some very poor, some very rich. Thoreau does an excellent job of making everyone feel at home, closing the achievement gap, and really benefits from all groups. The rich kids benefit from things like small class size due to grants we get for the population of more disadvantaged children. And the poor kids benefit from having lots of parents coming into the school to volunteer, even though many of their parents are not able to come due to work constraints. Kids from all sides of the neighborhood do have parents coming along at drop-off and pick-up. And many, many kids walk to school each day. It is really a great urban neighborhood!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 16, 2008

I have mixed feelings about this school. I was not happy with my daughter's kindergarten experience (partially teacher-related and partially due to behavioral issues of other children in class); however, her first grade teacher has been excellent. She is learning, doing well in class, and has been offered stimulating opportunites to keep her challenged. The new principal has been a great addition to the school. I believe we are on our way to once again creating an excellent learning atmosphere for kids. In the meantime, there are children at the school that have a lot of issues that need to be dealt with. I'm not sure the school can make up for the exposures these kids have to deal with. On the plus side, Thoreau is an extremely diverse school with a lot of cultures represented. I love that and appreciate how the school tries to recognize and applaud the diversity.
—Submitted by a parent


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

The test results by subgroup show how the designated group of students is performing in comparison to the general population.
Math

The state average for Math was 49% in 2014.

64 students were tested at this school in 2014.

2014

 
 
64%

2013

 
 
47%

2012

 
 
63%

2011

 
 
74%
Reading

The state average for Reading was 34% in 2014.

64 students were tested at this school in 2014.

2014

 
 
52%

2013

 
 
39%

2012

 
 
63%

2011

 
 
78%
Scale: % proficient or advanced

About the tests


In 2013-2014 Wisconsin used the Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS), which includes the WKCE and WAA, to test students in grades 3 through 8 and 10 in math and reading, and in grades 4, 8 and 10 in language arts, science and social studies. The WSAS is a standards-based test, which means it measures how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Wisconsin. The goal is for all students to score at or above the proficient level. In private schools, only voucher program participants are tested.
GreatSchools' ratings currently reflect 2012-13 testing data.



Beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction implemented new definitions of what it means to be proficient on the WSAS test. As a result of these changes, proficiency scores for Wisconsin schools are lower than they were in previous years.

Source: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Language Arts

The state average for Language Arts was 75% in 2014.

69 students were tested at this school in 2014.

2014

 
 
71%

2013

 
 
64%

2012

 
 
71%

2011

 
 
53%
Math

The state average for Math was 51% in 2014.

69 students were tested at this school in 2014.

2014

 
 
52%

2013

 
 
38%

2012

 
 
78%

2011

 
 
60%
Reading

The state average for Reading was 36% in 2014.

69 students were tested at this school in 2014.

2014

 
 
44%

2013

 
 
38%

2012

 
 
74%

2011

 
 
62%
Science

The state average for Science was 75% in 2014.

69 students were tested at this school in 2014.

2014

 
 
75%

2013

 
 
60%

2012

 
 
74%

2011

 
 
71%
Social Studies

The state average for Social Studies was 91% in 2014.

69 students were tested at this school in 2014.

2014

 
 
89%

2013

 
 
79%

2012

 
 
92%

2011

 
 
84%
Scale: % proficient or advanced

About the tests


In 2013-2014 Wisconsin used the Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS), which includes the WKCE and WAA, to test students in grades 3 through 8 and 10 in math and reading, and in grades 4, 8 and 10 in language arts, science and social studies. The WSAS is a standards-based test, which means it measures how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Wisconsin. The goal is for all students to score at or above the proficient level. In private schools, only voucher program participants are tested.
GreatSchools' ratings currently reflect 2012-13 testing data.



Beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction implemented new definitions of what it means to be proficient on the WSAS test. As a result of these changes, proficiency scores for Wisconsin schools are lower than they were in previous years.

Source: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Math

The state average for Math was 50% in 2014.

43 students were tested at this school in 2014.

2014

 
 
44%

2013

 
 
56%

2012

 
 
61%

2011

 
 
83%
Reading

The state average for Reading was 33% in 2014.

43 students were tested at this school in 2014.

2014

 
 
30%

2013

 
 
49%

2012

 
 
70%

2011

 
 
81%
Scale: % proficient or advanced

About the tests


In 2013-2014 Wisconsin used the Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS), which includes the WKCE and WAA, to test students in grades 3 through 8 and 10 in math and reading, and in grades 4, 8 and 10 in language arts, science and social studies. The WSAS is a standards-based test, which means it measures how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Wisconsin. The goal is for all students to score at or above the proficient level. In private schools, only voucher program participants are tested.
GreatSchools' ratings currently reflect 2012-13 testing data.



Beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction implemented new definitions of what it means to be proficient on the WSAS test. As a result of these changes, proficiency scores for Wisconsin schools are lower than they were in previous years.

Source: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Math

All Students64%
Female76%
Male52%
Black, not of Hispanic originn/a
Asiann/a
Hispanic28%
American Indian/Alaskan Nativen/a
White, not of Hispanic origin91%
Economically disadvantaged22%
Not economically disadvantaged88%
Students with disabilitiesn/a
Non-disabled67%
English learners31%
Proficient in English75%
Non-migrant64%

Reading

All Students52%
Female63%
Male39%
Black, not of Hispanic originn/a
Asiann/a
Hispanic7%
American Indian/Alaskan Nativen/a
White, not of Hispanic origin80%
Economically disadvantaged4%
Not economically disadvantaged78%
Students with disabilitiesn/a
Non-disabled53%
English learners19%
Proficient in English63%
Non-migrant52%
Scale: % proficient or advanced

About the tests


In 2013-2014 Wisconsin used the Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS), which includes the WKCE and WAA, to test students in grades 3 through 8 and 10 in math and reading, and in grades 4, 8 and 10 in language arts, science and social studies. The WSAS is a standards-based test, which means it measures how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Wisconsin. The goal is for all students to score at or above the proficient level. In private schools, only voucher program participants are tested.
GreatSchools' ratings currently reflect 2012-13 testing data.



Beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction implemented new definitions of what it means to be proficient on the WSAS test. As a result of these changes, proficiency scores for Wisconsin schools are lower than they were in previous years.

The different student groups are identified by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. If there are fewer than 5 students in a particular group in a school, the state doesn't report data for that group. Subgroup scores for each school are only reported for students who were enrolled as of the fall enrollment count. The All students score includes results for all students who took the test, regardless of when they first enrolled in the school.

Source: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Language Arts

All Students71%
Female87%
Male50%
Black, not of Hispanic originn/a
Asiann/a
Hispanic45%
American Indian/Alaskan Nativen/a
White, not of Hispanic origin97%
Economically disadvantaged50%
Not economically disadvantaged94%
Students with disabilitiesn/a
Non-disabled82%
English learners43%
Proficient in English78%
Non-migrant71%

Math

All Students52%
Female61%
Male40%
Black, not of Hispanic originn/a
Asiann/a
Hispanic34%
American Indian/Alaskan Nativen/a
White, not of Hispanic origin77%
Economically disadvantaged31%
Not economically disadvantaged76%
Students with disabilitiesn/a
Non-disabled60%
English learners36%
Proficient in English56%
Non-migrant52%

Reading

All Students44%
Female56%
Male26%
Black, not of Hispanic originn/a
Asiann/a
Hispanic17%
American Indian/Alaskan Nativen/a
White, not of Hispanic origin77%
Economically disadvantaged14%
Not economically disadvantaged75%
Students with disabilitiesn/a
Non-disabled50%
English learners7%
Proficient in English53%
Non-migrant44%

Science

All Students75%
Female80%
Male70%
Black, not of Hispanic originn/a
Asiann/a
Hispanic66%
American Indian/Alaskan Nativen/a
White, not of Hispanic origin96%
Economically disadvantaged53%
Not economically disadvantaged100%
Students with disabilitiesn/a
Non-disabled84%
English learners71%
Proficient in English76%
Non-migrant75%

Social Studies

All Students89%
Female95%
Male80%
Black, not of Hispanic originn/a
Asiann/a
Hispanic83%
American Indian/Alaskan Nativen/a
White, not of Hispanic origin100%
Economically disadvantaged77%
Not economically disadvantaged100%
Students with disabilitiesn/a
Non-disabled95%
English learners79%
Proficient in English91%
Non-migrant89%
Scale: % proficient or advanced

About the tests


In 2013-2014 Wisconsin used the Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS), which includes the WKCE and WAA, to test students in grades 3 through 8 and 10 in math and reading, and in grades 4, 8 and 10 in language arts, science and social studies. The WSAS is a standards-based test, which means it measures how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Wisconsin. The goal is for all students to score at or above the proficient level. In private schools, only voucher program participants are tested.
GreatSchools' ratings currently reflect 2012-13 testing data.



Beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction implemented new definitions of what it means to be proficient on the WSAS test. As a result of these changes, proficiency scores for Wisconsin schools are lower than they were in previous years.

The different student groups are identified by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. If there are fewer than 5 students in a particular group in a school, the state doesn't report data for that group. Subgroup scores for each school are only reported for students who were enrolled as of the fall enrollment count. The All students score includes results for all students who took the test, regardless of when they first enrolled in the school.

Source: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Math

All Students44%
Female56%
Male36%
Black, not of Hispanic origin18%
Asiann/a
Hispanicn/a
American Indian/Alaskan Nativen/a
White, not of Hispanic origin75%
Economically disadvantaged15%
Not economically disadvantaged70%
Students with disabilitiesn/a
Non-disabled50%
English learnersn/a
Proficient in English50%
Non-migrant44%

Reading

All Students30%
Female34%
Male28%
Black, not of Hispanic origin9%
Asiann/a
Hispanicn/a
American Indian/Alaskan Nativen/a
White, not of Hispanic origin50%
Economically disadvantaged5%
Not economically disadvantaged52%
Students with disabilitiesn/a
Non-disabled35%
English learnersn/a
Proficient in English32%
Non-migrant30%
Scale: % proficient or advanced

About the tests


In 2013-2014 Wisconsin used the Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS), which includes the WKCE and WAA, to test students in grades 3 through 8 and 10 in math and reading, and in grades 4, 8 and 10 in language arts, science and social studies. The WSAS is a standards-based test, which means it measures how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Wisconsin. The goal is for all students to score at or above the proficient level. In private schools, only voucher program participants are tested.
GreatSchools' ratings currently reflect 2012-13 testing data.



Beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction implemented new definitions of what it means to be proficient on the WSAS test. As a result of these changes, proficiency scores for Wisconsin schools are lower than they were in previous years.

The different student groups are identified by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. If there are fewer than 5 students in a particular group in a school, the state doesn't report data for that group. Subgroup scores for each school are only reported for students who were enrolled as of the fall enrollment count. The All students score includes results for all students who took the test, regardless of when they first enrolled in the school.

Source: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Breaking down the GreatSchools Rating

GreatSchools Ratings for this school are based on 2012-2013 test results. Use the breakdown ratings below to compare types of students at this school. Learn more »


Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White, not Hispanic 48% 73%
Hispanic 25% 10%
Black, not Hispanic 18% 10%
Multiracial 6% 2%
Asian 2% 4%
American Indian/Alaskan Native 0% 1%
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 0% 0%
Source: WI Dept. of Public Instruction, 2012-2013

Student subgroups

  This school District averageState average
Disabled students 10%N/A14%
Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch program 50%N/A41%
Limited English proficient 21%N/A6%
Source: WI Dept. of Public Instruction, 2012-2013

Teacher experience

  This school District averageState average
At least 5 years teaching experience 61%N/A83%
Source: WI Dept. of Public Instruction, 2011-2012

Teacher education levels

  This school District averageState average
Master's degree and above 37%N/A55%
Source: WI Dept. of Public Instruction, 2011-2012

Teacher credentials

  This school District averageState average
Teachers with valid license 99%N/A98%
Source: WI Dept. of Public Instruction, 2011-2012

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School basics

School Leader's name
  • Kathy Costello
Fax number
  • (608) 204-0519

Resources

Extra learning resources offered
  • Title I Targeted Assistance program (TAS)
School leaders can update this information here.

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3870 Nakoma Rd
Madison, WI 53711
Website: Click here
Phone: (608) 204-6940

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