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Dubois school enrollment up by 12 as fall term began

Sep 10, 2017 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

School in Dubois got under way this semester with 158 students enrolled as of Aug. 21.

The total represents an increase from the 146 enrollees last fall, and from the 152 enrolled at the end of the last school year.

Principal Brandon Farris said the numbers will continue to fluctuate throughout the semester.

"I know we've already probably lost a few," he said Wednesday. "It's week to week. (But) generally it stays within 10 from where we start."

Classes began Aug. 28.

PAWS

Though 2016-2017 was the final year that students throughout the state took the Proficiency Assessment for Wyoming Students test, Farris said staff in Dubois still will use the results of the exam to try to measure academic progress.

"We use it as a piece of the puzzle just to see how we're doing," he said.

This year, he was excited to see that most Dubois grade levels ranked above the state average in reading, especially in the fourth, sixth and eighth grades.

In the fourth grade, 82 percent of Dubois students were proficient or advanced in reading compared to 64 percent statewide; in the sixth grade, 75 percent of Dubois students were proficient or advanced in reading compared to 58 percent statewide; and in the eighth grade, 80 percent of Dubois students were proficient or advanced in reading compared to 54 percent statewide.

Other grade levels exceeded the state average, but by fewer percentage points: Sixty-nine percent of fifth graders in Dubois were proficient or advanced in reading compared to 62 percent statewide, 58 percent of seventh graders in Dubois were proficient or advanced in reading compared to 56 percent statewide, and 47 percent of 11th graders in Dubois were proficient or advanced in reading compared to 34 percent statewide.

Only the third grade scored lower than the state average, with 55 percent of third-graders in Dubois proficient or advanced in reading compared to 59 percent statewide.

"Our reading looked very solid - really overall it looked really good," Farris said. "We're not completely satisfied of course, but we're happy with the progress."

He attributed the success in reading to the incorporation of language arts throughout the school curriculum.

"We have a number of reading-specific programs that can be used through our social studies classes, our art classes, our music classes (and) math classes," he said. "Everybody (was) kind of trying to focus on that ... technical, non-fiction reading."

Dubois students didn't do as well on the math portion of the PAWS tests, but Farris said the district's small size can skew the numbers.

"One student can make up 20 percent of the class," he said. "We take those things into consideration too."

In math, only 27 percent of third graders, 45 percent of fourth graders, 38 percent of fifth graders, 50 percent of sixth graders, 17 percent of seventh-graders, 60 percent of eighth-graders and 29 percent of 11th graders were proficient.

or advanced. Almost all of those percentages were below the state average. The sixth grade score matched the state average, and the eighth grade exceeded the state average of 49 percent proficient and advanced.

Only the fourth, eighth and 11th grades take the PAWS science test. In Dubois those classes scored 73 percent, 70 percent and 35 percent proficient and advanced, respectively - all above the state average of 55 percent, 45 percent and 30 percent proficient and advanced, respectively.

"We try to celebrate those things," Farris said.

WY-TOPP

He is looking forward to implementing the Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress (WY-TOPP) this year, as he believes the new assessment will provide more specified information in a more timely manner than PAWS did.

"We're hopeful WY-TOPP is going to just be a better tool," Farris said. "PAWS gave us ... some valuable information, (but) we go into WY-TOPP with higher expectations."

The Wyoming Department of Education says WY-TOPP will provide "interim, modular on-demand" assessments in reading, math and science, with tests administered multiple times throughout the year.

By contrast, students took PAWS once, in the spring, and teachers didn't get results until the middle of the summer.

"That was one of the problems with PAWS," Farris said.

He thinks WY-TOPP will be similar to the Measures of Academic Progress tests, which also are taken multiple times throughout the year and offer more detailed information about the specific subject areas in which students may be struggling.

In fact, he said, it's possible WY-TOPP will replace the MAP assessment in the future.

"We could see a time when we could maybe move away from MAP and move to WY-TOPP if they're very similar and doing the same thing," he said.

For now, though, he plans to introduce students to parts of WY-TOPP this winter so they can "get a feel for it." Then in the spring he'll "full-on test" third through 10th grades.

"We'll get a chance to look at it and know more about it," Farris said.

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