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Testing put off for a day after death of school staff member

Mar 17, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

State testing was delayed by one day at Riverton Middle School last week due to the death of RMS paraprofessional Liz Erickson.

Erickson died Monday afternoon at the scene of a traffic accident on U.S. Highway 20/26 west of Casper. According to reports, she had been driving west when she lost control of her 2006 Chevrolet HHR and struck an eastbound pickup truck.

Reports state Erickson's stepdaughter was in the vehicle as well and was hospitalized at the Wyoming Medical Center in Casper to be treated for injuries from the crash.

Liz Erickson also has a son who attends RMS, according to Fremont County School District 25 superintendent Terry Snyder.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to that family, and the middle school," Snyder said Tuesday during a meeting of the FCSD25 Board of Trustees. "Virtually all of the kids at the middle school knew Liz. (This was) a tough morning for them."

Counselor Lars Flanagan said Erickson served as a tutor for many students who were "hit hard" by her death.

"And her son's friends obviously were hit hard," Flanagan said Wednesday. "We're still kind of dealing with that."

No formal memorial has been planned, but Flanagan said supports are in place for students affected by the incident.

"We addressed it at the beginning of school (Tuesday), and we continued to talk" later in the week, he said.

PAWS delay

RMS was supposed to start Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students on Tuesday, but Snyder said the atmosphere at the school that morning did not lend itself to a "good testing environment." Flanagan said administrators decided to push testing back one day.

"It was a 24hour delay," he said Wednesday. "(Now we'll) go back to our normal schedule. It'll work out fine."

He said sixth- and seventh-graders devote portions of five school days to PAWS, with an extra two days of testing scheduled for eighth-graders.

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