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School accountability report reveals statewide improvement

CHEYENNE – A statewide school performance report released Monday revealed notable improvements among Wyoming schools, although little has changed in Laramie County.

The Wyoming Department of Education’s 2018-19 school accountability report found a reduction in traditional Wyoming schools not meeting expectations and an increase in those exceeding expectations. The report shows 56.1% of traditional Wyoming schools are meeting or exceeding expectations, up from last year’s 55.2%. Roughly 31% of traditional schools moved up in ratings this year, according to officials.

“It wasn’t a big improvement in one area, it was steady improvement across several areas,” said Wyoming Department of Education Chief Policy Officer Kari Eakins, adding that last year’s results provided a baseline for officials to narrow their focus and support more schools individually.

Last year’s results were the first following a new state assessment and the implementation of new accountability models. The scores are divided into four levels: not meeting expectations, partially meeting expectations, meeting expectations and exceeding expectations.

“It’s the second year that we have an accountability system that includes requirements from both state and federal accountability systems, and we’re excited to report the results are positive,” said Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “More schools are exceeding expectations, and fewer schools are partially or not meeting expectations.”

Laramie County schools saw results similar to last year, with slight deviations.

About 64% of Laramie County School District 1 elementary, junior high and high schools did not meet or only partially met expectations. Among LCSD1’s elementary and junior high schools, 21 did not meet or only partially met expectations. Another nine met expectations, while only Anderson Elementary and the Poder Academy charter schools exceeded expectations.

Both Johnson Junior High and Carey Junior High did not meet expectations, and McCormick Junior High partially met expectations.

Among the high schools, South High did not meet expectations, East High partially met expectations and Central High met expectations.

Alternative schools received a rating for the first time this year, too. The results are based on a modified scoring model. Triumph High did not meet expectations, scoring below average on multiple targets including growth and achievement.

Roughly 70.6% of Wyoming alternative schools met or exceeded expectations.

In Laramie County School District 2, about 33.3% did not meet or partially met expectations.

Most LCSD2 schools met or exceeded expectations, with only Pine Bluffs Junior/Senior High not making the cut. Albin Elementary again exceeded expectations.

The report comes just weeks after the Wyoming Department of Education released results of the state’s second Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress, also known as WY-TOPP. Laramie County school districts saw a wide variety of scores on the standardized tests.

Balow said the department worked with schools to reduce reporting errors similar to ones found in last year’s accountability report results.

“We’ve done a much better job as a state of making sure that reporting errors were cleaned up, on time and that the information in the accountability report is accurate,” she said.