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Good outcome overall in District 25 on AYP; some schools listed

Oct 24, 2012 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

The Wyoming Department of Education released its final Adequate Yearly Progress results for 2012 last week after completing a quality assurance check on the process and waiting for districts to review the numbers.

AYP is the accountability mechanism for the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, through which school officials have tried to bring all students to proficiency in language arts and math by 2014 by working toward yearly goals.

RHS, Jackson look good

Fremont County School District 25 in Riverton was not identified for district improvement in 2012, based on students' overall results on the AYP test, and Jackson Elementary School and Riverton High School also met AYP standards for this year.

Several other Riverton schools were noted on WDE lists for failing to meet AYP requirements.

Ashgrove and Rendezvous elementary schools reportedly failed to meet AYP for the first time last year, so they received a warning from the WDE. If they fail to meet AYP again this year, they will be placed in "school improvement" status.

They would have to meet AYP requirements for two consecutive years to be removed from that category. WDE officials said each year under "school improvement" carries some consequences.

Aspen Park Elementary School was included in the school improvement list for five years until 2012, when its students reached their AYP standards. As a result of their success, the school has been upgraded to the "holding" category, indicating that improvement has been made and the school is making progress. If Aspen Park fails to make AYP this year, however, the school will return to its previous status.

Aspen improvements

Aspen Park principal Andrea Verosky said her school came under the "safe harbor" designation this year.

"If you look at state benchmark scores, we didn't make AYP, but you get safe harbor if you have improvement," Verosky said.

"We had a 10-point

improvement in reading and a 19-point improvement in math."

She plans to see similar gains this year based on her school's improvement plan, which identifies specific steps Aspen Park staff members will take to ensure students meet requirements.

"Our students, for example, have data notebooks, so they know where they're reading and how they're doing with that," Verosky said. "And even during parent conferences this year we plan to have the students tell their parents how they're doing instead of having teachers tell them. They'll graph their own little chart on how they're doing."

The notebooks and data processing are new this year, but Verosky pointed out that her students will not undergo AYP testing anymore, now that third-graders have been moved to Rendezvous Elementary School.

She added that Aspen Park teachers will continue to strive for student improvement, which will be tracked through district exams like the Measures of Academic Performance test that covers math, reading, writing and science.

"You just have to keep the children as your focus," Verosky said. "Doing what's right for the children is always what we do. ... Our first priority is the kids."

High expectations

Looking back on her time under AYP, Verosky said she appreciated the lofty goal of 100 percent proficiency that educators are expected to reach by 2014. But she said the experience was stressful too.

"When you look at the numbers across the state of elementary schools that make AYP, I think you'd be shocked," Verosky said. "There's quite a lot of schools that don't make it."

Nearly 80 Wyoming elementary schools failed to meet AYP standards this year.

"I think it's a stressor for students, and for teachers," Verosky said. "I don't think it's helpful to give 8-year-olds that kind of stress."

Of Wyoming's 349 total schools, 139 did not meet AYP in 2012. Twenty-seven schools are in the "holding" category, 80 received warnings and 59 are listed as needing school improvement.

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