Enrollment up 2 as Shoshoni school term starts; PAWS changes eyedAug 27, 2017 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer
The new academic year got under way Wednesday in Shoshoni, giving solar eclipse visitors ample time to clear out of the community before students returned to school.
Enrollment in District 24 has remained stable this year, superintendent Bruce Thoren said, even tallying a slight increase from the spring and fall.
As of Aug. 15, 392 students were signed up for classes for fall 2017, up from 390 who were registered at the end of the school year this spring.
Last fall enrollment totaled 386.
"So we're seeing very small growth," Thoren said.
He offered a few comments about the size of Fremont County School District 21, which allows administrators, instructors and staff to develop close relationships with local students.
"It's very family oriented because of that," Thoren said. "Nobody really slips through the cracks, because everybody knows everybody."
PAWS no more
Children in third through eighth grades took their last Proficiency Assessment for Wyoming Students (PAWS) last year.
Though the test will no longer be administered in the state, Thoren said he will use the results from last year to inform daily instruction in Shoshoni, comparing PAWS scores to those earned in regular Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessments taken throughout the year.
"We try to keep track of that from the perspective of, 'Are kids taking it seriously or not, are they doing their best effort on the PAWS assessment," he said.
PAWS can also reveal any "holes" that might exist in the local curriculum, Thoren continued.
"If we have a large group of kids not performing well in a certain area we can dive into our curriculum, take a look (and ask), 'Are we covering hat? When? Is it pre- or post-PAWS?'" he said.
"We had some scope and sequence things killing our kids on some of those assessments - when they were taught, at what grade level - that we changed in years past, because they were being taught at a different grade level than they were being assessed."
This year's PAWS results showed 46 percent of third-graders were proficient or advanced in math, with 71 percent proficient or advanced in reading.
Sixty-four percent of Shoshoni fourth-graders were proficient or advanced in math, 46 percent were proficient or advanced in reading, and 32 percent were proficient or advanced in science.
Results for the fifth grade showed 57 percent of students were proficient or advanced in math, with 53 percent proficient or advanced in reading.
Fifty-two percent of sixth-graders were proficient or advanced in math, and 56 percent were proficient or advanced in reading.
In the seventh grade, 31 percent of students were proficient or advanced in math, and 41 percent were proficient or advanced in reading.
Forty-eight percent of eighth-graders were proficient or advanced in math, 56 percent were proficient or advanced in reading, and 52 percent were proficient or advanced in science.
The biggest complaint about PAWS had to do with the time it took to get results, Thoren said. This year, he is looking forward to implementing the new Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress (WY-TOPP) that will provide "interim, modular on-demand" assessments in reading, math and science, according to the Wyoming Department of Education.
"We'll be able to use it throughout the year to get a better handle on where kids are," Thoren said, adding, "Kids will see the context of how test items are laid out, and they'll be comfortable with the assessment format. It won't be anything new when it comes to the high stakes, end-of-year test."
WY-TOPP assessments will be administered in fall for grades three through 10, in winter for grades one through 10 and in spring for grades K-2, according to the WDE; reading and math will be assessed each year in grades three through 10, with science tests in grades four, eight and 10 and writing in grades three, five, seven and nine.