School board members and district superintendents gathered recently to discuss the changes underfoot in Wyoming’s education system with an eye toward reforms they would like to see during the 2018 legislative session.
Brian Farmer, Executive Director for the Wyoming School Boards Association, said his organization held a joint meeting with the Wyoming Association of School Administrators, and the topic of teacher accountability was high on everyone’s list.
Currently, student performance is used to evaluate teachers. A piece of 2017 legislation that would have changed that, failed, but Farmer would like to see it reintroduced. He said the current system isn’t fair.
“If you have your very best teacher and you put your best teacher in your highest needs class those students may have a tremendous amount of growth but you may have a number of them that are not proficient,” said Farmer. “You don’t want to penalize that teacher for growing them but perhaps not getting them across that line of proficient.”
Farmer said how schools that are in need of improvement get support was also one of the major issues discussed, because a new system is being implemented.
“Being sure that we are assisting those schools that are not meeting expectations,” is a focus, said Farmer. “And rather than being punitive and saying that’s a bad school often times it’s about the utilization of resources and making sure that that school has the resources that it needs, so we are monitoring that.”
At the meeting, the implementation of secondary readiness indicators, which educators use to measure how well students are prepared for college, careers and military service, was also discussed. And Farmer said school funding came up in anticipation of the next meeting of the Select Committee on School Finance Recalibration on July 25.