Category Archives: News Releases

News releases from the Wyoming Department of Education

Call for Participants: Social Studies Standards Review Committee

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) is seeking state residents interested in serving on the Wyoming Social Studies Standards Review Committee. The committee will review the state social studies standards to ensure the cultural heritage, history, and contemporary contributions of American Indians are addressed. This work will be done in cooperation with tribes of the region, including the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Indian tribes. The committee will begin meeting this fall, with 3-5 days of webinars and meetings from October through January.

Anyone interested in serving on this committee should complete the Call for Participants Survey. The survey will close at 11:59 p.m. on October 1, 2017.

Completing this survey expresses interest in participating, but does not commit anyone to serving on the Review Committee. Standards committee members will be chosen from the list of those interested, and will be contacted directly through email to confirm their participation.

In addition, the WDE is collecting feedback regarding possible revisions to the Wyoming Social Studies Content and Performance Standards addressing Native American history, culture, and contemporary contributions. The Social Studies Standards Review Committee will consider this input as they begin the standards review process. Input can be given online through the end of October.

-END-

Media Contact:
Kari Eakins, Communications Director
kari.eakins@wyo.gov
307-777-2053

ACT Results Available for the Class of 2017

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming graduating class of 2017 had an average composite score of 20.2 on the ACT according to The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2017, released today by ACT, Inc.

“The ACT is one of the measures that helps us see how well we are preparing our students for their future,” said State Superintendent Jillian Balow. “We’re in the top half of states that give the ACT to all of their students, and now the work continues to improve student outcomes.”

2017 Benchmarks and Average Scores: Average ACT Scores for English were 19.4 in 2017, 19.2 in 2016 and 19.4 in 2015. Average ACT scores in Mathematics were 19.8 in 2017, 19.6 in 2016 and 19.9 in 2015. Average ACT Scores in Reading were 20.8 in 2017, 20.4 in 2016 and 20.4 in 2015. Average ACT Scores in Science were 20.6 in 2017, 20.0 in 2016 and 20.2 in 2015. The average composite ACT Scores were 20.2 in 2017, 20.0 in 2016 and 20.2 in 2015. In 2017, the percentage of students who met college readiness benchmarks were 58% in English, 34% in Mathematics, 42% in Reading, 34% in Science, and 21% meeting all four benchmarks. In 2016, benchmarks were met by 58% in English, 34% in Mathematics, 38% in Reading, 31% in Science, and 20% meeting all four benchmarks. In 2015, benchmarks were met by 60% of students in English, 36% in Mathematics, 40% in Reading, 34% in Science, and 22% in all four benchmarks.

Near Attainment of College and Career Readiness: Percent of 2017 ACT-tested high school graduates by ACT College Readiness Benchmark attainment and subject. In English, 30% of students were below the benchmark by 3 or more points, 12% were within 2 points of the benchmark and 58% met the benchmark. In Math, 44% of students were below the benchmark by 3 or more points, 13 percent were within 2 points of the benchmark and 42% met the benchmark. In reading, 57% percent of students were below the benchmark by 3 or more points, 9% of students were within 2 points of the benchmark, and 34% of students met the benchmark. In science, 50% of students were below the benchmark by 3 or more points, 16% were within 2 points of the benchmark, and 34% met the benchmark.

Wyoming state law requires all students to take the ACT as juniors. The results released today represent the most recent score for students that graduated in 2017. Beginning with the graduating class of 2013, all students whose scores are college reportable, both standard and extended time tests, are now included in the reports.

Wyoming is among 17 states that has results for 100 percent of graduating seniors.

A map of the US with the 2017 State Average Composite Score listed for all states who tested 100% of students with the ACT. State composite scores are listed in the following graph.

 

2017 State Average Composite ACT Score: Average Composite ACT Scores of States with 100% of graduates tested. Minnesota: 21.5, Colorado: 20.8, Wisconsin: 20.5, Missouri: 204, Montana: 20.3, Utah: 20.3, Wyoming: 20.2, Kentucky: 20.0, Tennessee: 19.8, Arkansas: 19.4, Louisiana: 19.4, Oklahoma: 19.4, Alabama: 19.2, North Carolina: 19.1, South Carolina: 18.7, Mississippi: 18.6, Nevada, 17.8

 

The Wyoming Readiness Report and ACT Profile Report can be found here.

– END –

Media Contact:
Kari Eakins, Communications Director
kari.eakins@wyo.gov
307-777-2053

2017 School Performance Ratings Released for Wyoming Schools

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) released school performance ratings today. The state accountability measure shows that the majority of Wyoming schools are Meeting or Exceeding Expectations, and the number of schools Not Meeting Expectations is dropping.

“Schools are starting to make the progress they have been asked to make,” said State Superintendent Jillian Balow. “Especially when you look at our elementary and middle schools, they are focusing on growth and equity, and getting results. As we put our state plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act into motion, and include post-secondary readiness for high schools, I hope to see even more progress.”

The 2016-17 School Performance Level Accountability table shows that in the 2016-17 school year, there was a grand total of 337 public schools in Wyoming. During that school year, 41 schools were rated at the level of Exceeding Expectations, 147 schools were rated as Meeting Expectations, 90 schools were rated as Partially Meeting Expectations, 35 schools were rated as Not Meeting Expectations, and 24 schools will undergo a Small School Review. In grades 3-8 there were a total of 268 schools. Of those schools, 40 schools were rated at the level of Exceeding Expectations, 112 schools were rated as Meeting Expectations, 68 schools were rated as Partially Meeting Expectations, 25 schools were rated as Not Meeting Expectations, and 23 schools will undergo a Small School Review. In grades 9-12 there were a total of 53 schools. Of those schools, 1 school was rated at the level of Exceeding Expectations, 30 schools were rated as Meeting Expectations, 12 schools were rated as Partially Meeting Expectations, 9 schools were rated as No Meeting Expectations, and 1 school will undergo a Small School Review. There were also 16 K-12 schools. Of those, no schools were rated at the level of Exceeding Expectations, 5 schools were rated as Meeting Expectations, 10 schools were rated as Partially Meeting Expectations, 1 school was rated as Not Meeting Expectations, and no schools will undergo a Small School Review.

This data does not include school performance ratings for alternative high schools. The alternative high school accountability model is in its final pilot year for the 2017-18 school year.

A graphic for Wyoming School Performance for Grades 3-8 shows that during the 2014-15 school year, 16.3% of those schools were Exceeding Expectations, 35.0% were Meeting Expectations, 33.5% were Partially Meeting Expectations, and 15.2% were Not Meeting Expectations. In the 2015-16 school year, 16.9% of those schools were Exceeding Expectations, 40.4% were Meeting Expectations, 29.6% were Partially Meeting Expectations, and 13.1% were Not Meeting Expectations. In the 2016-17 school year, 15.3% of those schools were Exceeding Expectations, 44.8% were Meeting Expectations, 29.9% were Partially Meeting Expectations, and 10.0% were Not Meeting Expectations.

A graphic for Wyoming School Performance for Grades 9-12 (Does not include data from alternative high schools) shows that during the 2014-15 school year, 9.0% of those schools were Exceeding Expectations, 50.7% were Meeting Expectations, 22.4% were Partially Meeting Expectations, and 17.9% were Not Meeting Expectations. In the 2015-16 school year, 7.2% of those schools were Exceeding Expectations, 60.9% were Meeting Expectations, 15.9% were Partially Meeting Expectations, and 15.9% were Not Meeting Expectations. In the 2016-17 school year, 1.5% of those schools were Exceeding Expectations, 51.5% were Meeting Expectations, 32.4% were Partially Meeting Expectations, and 14.7% were Not Meeting Expectations.

Thirteen Wyoming schools have exceeded expectations for three consecutive years, and will be recognized at the State Superintendent’s 2018 Policy Summit.

Seven schools raised their performance rating by two:

  • Burlington Middle School, Big Horn #1
  • Glenrock Middle School, Converse #2
  • Davis Elementary, Laramie #1
  • Desert Middle School, Sweetwater #1
  • Harrison Elementary, Sweetwater #2
  • Torrington High School, Goshen #1
  • Central High School, Laramie #1

Under the Wyoming Accountability in Education Act, schools serving grades 3-8 are rated on achievement, growth, and equity indicators. Indicators for high schools also include graduation rates, 9th grade credits earned, and Hathaway Scholarship eligibility.

As part of Wyoming’s transition to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), no federal accountability determinations were made for the 2016-17 school year. Starting in the 2017-18 school year, school performance will be published on a report card that includes information required by both state and federal law.

School Performance Ratings can be found here.

-END-

Media Contact:
Kari Eakins, Communications Director
kari.eakins@wyo.gov
307-777-2053

Wyoming’s ESSA State Plan Submitted to USED

State Superintendent State Superintendent Jillian Balow signs Wyoming's ESSA state plan on Thursday, August 17, 2017 at Laramie County Community College

State Superintendent Jillian Balow signs Wyoming’s ESSA state plan on Thursday, August 17, 2017 at Laramie County Community College.

CHEYENNE – Today State Superintendent Jillian Balow has submitted Wyoming’s consolidated state plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to the U.S. Department of Education (USED).

ESSA reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and replaces No Child Left Behind as the principal federal law affecting K-12 education. To meet the requirements of ESSA, the plan includes achievement and graduation rate goals for schools, measures for how well schools are doing, and priorities for the use of federal funds to support schools, students, and educators.

State Superintendent Jillian Balow says ESSA gives Wyoming education a call to action to examine its strengths and challenges, “With this plan we double down with how we create opportunities for students as they prepare for success in college, careers, workforce training, or military service. Our charge is clear: school needs to be relevant for all students, and we can do better than we did under No Child Left Behind. As we implement this plan, we will continue to rely on the people of Wyoming to weigh in on how we are doing.”

Extensive stakeholder input was gathered through listening sessions, town halls, public meetings, individual stakeholder meetings, and online feedback opportunities to ensure that the plan puts Wyoming’s priorities first. Stakeholder input directly impacted the alignment of the state plan to the Wyoming Accountability in Education Act, the post-secondary readiness indicator for high schools, how the statewide assessment will be utilized, how funds will be utilized to support and prepare teachers, and how funds will be used to offer a well-rounded education.

States are required to submit plans for meeting the requirements of ESSA by September 18, 2017in order to receive federal funds. USED will have 120 days to conduct a peer review, evaluate the plan and offer feedback. More information on Wyoming’s ESSA state plan is available at edu.wyoming.gov/essa.

-END-

Audio from Superintendent Balow

Wyoming’s ESSA State Plan

ESSA in Wyoming Fact Sheet

Accountability FAQ

Media Contact:
Kari Eakins, Communications Director
kari.eakins@wyo.gov
307-777-2053

2017 Statewide High School Assessment Results Available

CHEYENNE – Results are now available online from the 2017 statewide high school assessments administered to students in grades 9 through 11. The results show similar performance to prior years with statistically insignificant increases in grades 9 and 10, and statistically insignificant decreases in grade 11.

“We have the privilege of offering the ACT to every student and will continue to do so as we add WY-TOPP to our assessment system,” said State Superintendent Jillian Balow. ”This is not the time to be complacent. At the state level we will continue to focus on every measure for student success and support schools helping students succeed in school and in life.”

In the spring of 2017, students in grades 11 took the ACT, and for the second year, students in grades 9 and 10 took the ACT Aspire online. Schools had the option to offer the ACT online this past spring, marking the first time that option was made available in Wyoming. The tests are intended to predict college readiness. These results will be used to determine school performance ratings.

9th Grade ACT Aspire Results. Two-Year comparison and benchmark. The Aspire has possible composite scores from 400-452.

10th Grade ACT Aspire Results. Two-Year comparison and benchmark. The Aspire has possible composite scores from 400-452.

The Wyoming Department of Education established new performance levels for the ACT in 2014 delineating Advanced, Proficient, Basic, and Below Basic performance in the subject area tests. Current results are not directly comparable to years prior to 2014 because they represent a much higher set of expectations for Wyoming students.

11th Grade ACT Results. 3-year comparison..

2016-17 11th grade performance levels. Data includes students who took the ACT and alternate assessments.

Starting in the 2017-18 school year, students will take the Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress (WY-TOPP). The new test will assess proficiency in reading and math for students in grades 3-10, science for students in grades 4, 8, and 10, and writing for students in grades 3, 5, 7, and 9. It will be an online, adaptive assessment with various item types such as multiple choice, technology enhanced, and constructed response. The results will be comparable to students’ scores from other states and will be used for accountability purposes.

-END-

Media Contact:
Kari Eakins, Communications Director
kari.eakins@wyo.gov
307-777-2053

NEW CHIEF POLICY OFFICER JOINS WDE

CHEYENNE – State Superintendent Jillian Balow is pleased to announce the hiring of Megan Degenfelder as the new Chief Policy Officer at the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE). Megan previously worked in government affairs for Cloud Peak Energy in Gillette. Megan is a Casper native, former UW Student Body President, and was a classroom teacher in Beijing while she got her master’s in economics from the Beijing University of International Business and Economics.

Megan is exactly the kind of strategic thinking leader we need heading up our policy group at the WDE,” said Superintendent Balow. “Her experience in the classroom and the Wyoming legislature make her a great fit for where we are headed in Wyoming education. I also like the fact that she has deep roots in our state and is coming to WDE from the energy industry with a deep understanding of the fiscal challenges we face in education and as a state.”

WDE Chief of Staff Dicky Shanor added, “Because this position demands long hours and challenging issues, we really wanted to find someone with a solid policy background and a passion for education and Wyoming’s future-Megan fit this mold well. We are happy to have her on the team.”

Megan’s official start date was August 1. She is in charge of all legislative and other policy work including accountability, standards and assessment at the WDE.

“I am thrilled to take on this opportunity at the Department of Education. I look forward to working to overcome budgetary and other policy challenges facing our state in education, and hope to bring a fresh perspective to the team,” said Degenfelder.

-END-

Media Contact:
Kari Eakins, Communications Director
kari.eakins@wyo.gov
307-777-2053

2017 PAWS Results Available

CHEYENNE – Spring 2017 statewide testing results were released today by the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE). School, district, and state results are available on the WDE’s Fusion site. These include results for the Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students (PAWS) and alternate assessments in reading and mathematics for students in grades 3 through 8, and in science for grades 4 and 8.

Wyoming PAWS Results - All Students, All Grades by Subject, 3 Year Trend. In mathematics, the percent of students who were proficient or advanced was 48.9 in 2014-15, 52.0 in 2015-16, and 52.3 in 2016-17. In reading, the percentage of students who were proficient or advanced was 57.5 in 2014-15, 59.5 in 2015-16, and 58.8 in 2016-17. In Science, the percentage of students who were proficient or advanced was 46.7 in 2014-15, 48.3 in 2015-16, and 50.3 in 2016-17.

“Wyoming schools have demonstrated a solid foundation of learning that we need to build on and continue to improve,” said State Superintendent Jillian Balow. “The growth that we saw in two of the three areas is a credit to a continued focus on high quality teaching and student learning. Now, each school will look carefully at this data to help set instructional goals for the upcoming year. I anticipate these goals will be ambitious with a continued focus on superb instruction and improved student outcomes.”

Notable increases in scores took place in eighth grade science, which had a 3.7 percent increase to 45.3 percent of students proficient or advanced, and fourth grade math, which had a 2.6 percent increase to 57.8 percent of students proficient or advanced.

For the first time, a breakdown of the performance of full-time virtual education students on PAWS is included in the results. They were added as an additional student group for reporting as part of the 2017 Virtual Education Act.

Starting in the 2017-18 school year, students will take the Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress (WY-TOPP). The new test will assess proficiency in reading and math for students in grades 3-10, science for students in grades 4, 8, and 10, and writing for students in grades 3, 5, 7, and 9. It will be an online, adaptive assessment with various item types such as multiple choice, technology enhanced, and constructed response. The results will be comparable to students’ scores from other states and will be used for accountability purposes.

– END –

Media Contact:
Kari Eakins, Communications Director
kari.eakins@wyo.gov
307-777-2053

Community Input Meetings on American Indian Education

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education will conduct community input meetings on Wyoming’s Social Studies Content and Performance Standards as they pertain to Wyoming’s new “American Indian education program” legislation. These meetings will inform the public of the standards review process and gather public input to be shared with the Social Studies Standards Review Committee for their consideration prior to their work.

A presentation will discuss House Enrolled Act 119 and the process to ensure the cultural heritage, history, and contemporary contributions of American Indians are addressed in the review of the Social Studies Standards.

Participants will be asked to respond to two questions:

  • Why is it important for everyone to learn about American Indians?
  • What do you want the review committee to know about the cultural heritage, history, and contemporary contributions of American Indians as they review the Social Studies Standards?

The meetings will take place from 6-8 p.m.

  • June 12, Frank B. Wise Building, Main Conference Room, 3 Ethete Road, Fort Washakie
  • June 13, Central Wyoming College, Intertribal Education Center Room 116, 2660 Peck Avenue, Riverton
  • June 15, Park #6 Administration Office Board Room 2nd Floor, 919 Cody Avenue, Cody
  • June 22, Sheridan # 2 Administration Office Board Room, 201 North Connor Street, Sheridan
  • June 29, Laramie #1 Administration Office Board Room, 2810 House Avenue, Cheyenne

Those unable to attend can respond online through September 8, 2017.

– END –

Media Contact:
Kari Eakins, Communications Director
kari.eakins@wyo.gov
307-777-2053

Public Comment for Chapter 43 Rules: School Nutrition Pilot Project

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) is seeking public comment on the Chapter 43 Rules, School Nutrition Pilot Project, which can be viewed online along with the Statement of Reasons. These rules establish the minimum requirements that districts must meet to be eligible for financial assistance in acquiring Wyoming-grown meat for school lunches. Eligible districts can apply to the WDE Child Nutrition Program in order to receive financial assistance to offset processing costs for donated Wyoming poultry, lamb, pork, beef, or bison.

Public comment on the proposed rules is open from June 2 to July 17, 2017. Comments will be posted on the Secretary of State website, and may be submitted online or by mail to:

Wyoming Department of Education
Attn: Susan Benning
2300 Capitol Avenue
Hathaway Building 2nd Floor
Cheyenne, WY 82002-2060

– END –

Media Contact:
Kari Eakins, Communications Director
kari.eakins@wyo.gov
307-777-2053

Cheyenne Student Wins Contest to Name New Statewide Assessment

State Superintendent Jillian Balow and winner Aiden Weinzerl stand in front of a poster made by Aiden's classmates which reads, "Congrats Aiden!!! You made it to the TOP!!" and has a stick figure of Aiden standing on top of the world.

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) announced today that Aiden Weinzierl, a sixth-grade student at Anderson Elementary School in Cheyenne, has won the contest to name the new statewide assessment with his submission, WY-TOPP, for Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress.

WY-TOPP will replace the Proficiency Assessment for Wyoming Students (PAWS) in grades 3-8 and ACT Aspire in grades 9-10. The ACT will continue to be administered to students in grade 11.

“With 99 submissions from across the state, we had several good options to choose from,” said State Superintendent Jillian Balow. “We went with WY-TOPP because it reflects the quality of the assessment as well as where Wyoming is with respect to its student and teachers.”

WY-TOPP will assess proficiency in reading and math for students in grades 3-10 and science for students in grades 4, 8, and 10. It will be an online assessment with various item types such as multiple choice, technology enhanced, and constructed response. The results will be comparable to students’ scores from other states and will be used for accountability purposes.

The WDE is currently in contract negotiations with the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The Wyoming State Board of Education approved them as the vendor for the new statewide assessment in February. Further information including testing dates and technology specifications will be available once contracts are in place.

– END –

Media Contact:
Kari Eakins, Communications Director
kari.eakins@wyo.gov
307-777-2053