I have spent the last two days in Casper at the Wyoming Spring School Improvement Conference (denoted on twitter at #WyEdCon). I presented two different times (which I don’t know I will do again-missed too much good stuff) and sat in on several different sessions. In this post, I will talk to 2 different thoughts I have coming away from the conference.
1. The most positive, powerful presentation I attended was done by Jackson Hole High School from Jackson Hole, WY. The focus of their session was how they have chosen to address career and college readiness. They have a four year plan and process that has all, I mean ALL, staff members involved in the process of preparing students for life in high school, life after high school, and the preparation necessary for post-secondary education. They do a very nice job of transitioning their freshman to the high school and connecting them to an adult in the building (mentoring program). They have a 21st century literacy focus they attend to with their sophomore students, an ACT prep with their late sophomore and the full junior year. Finally a senior project process that senior self select the project team they participate with, provided their grades are above the D’s and F’s (as here they need to attend the academic support class). Very intriguing and I am looking forward to going to Jackson and visiting their program.
2. Senate file 57 in Wyoming…this is also being referred to as the accountability act of 2012. It will be very interesting as this develops over the next couple weeks. The major changes that would take place in the accountability act are focused, from my very skewed point of view, at the secondary school level, specifically high schools. In this bill, the PAWS test will still be taken at grades 3-8 in reading and math, with science only being tested now at grades 4 and 8. The mandate for MAP testing two times per year stays in place, but most school/districts are MAP testing 3 times each year anyway. The change is really in the high school, first with testing and second with graduation accountability. In the testing scenario, the ACT suite of tests will be incorporated – with the ACT Explore taken in grade 9, ACT/PLAN at the 10th grade, and the ACT in 11. The final test at the high school level is the Compass test for college readiness in the senior year. There will be some form of work and employability assessment, probably the Work-Keys test of ASVAB. Graduation changes include a 5th year cohort count and the GED inclusion. I am curious to see what the final draft of the bill looks like, but so far this is the most encouraging and authentic accountability we have seen!!! Stay tuned I suppose…
enjoy the rest of your week
yours in education,