Teaching children

According to a WalletHub annual report, Wyoming schools rank sixth in the country in student-teacher ratio.

Alta Elementary work begins

Minor construction has started at Alta Elementary School, and it may continue into the school year.

The small school needs more storage for items that are not used on a regular basis, Teton County School District No. 1 Information Coordinator Charlotte Reynolds said. The things in question are gym and athletic equipment and a stage that is used when the school puts on performances.

“It’s to give some of those infrequently used items a more appropriate space in the building,” she said.

Though the construction is relatively minor, Reynolds expects that it won’t be completed before school starts in the fall.

If that is the case, she said, the school district will send parents a notice that the construction workers will be on-site until the work is done.

New middle school curricula

Computers and education are set to come together at Jackson Hole Middle School.

Teton County School District No. 1 announced earlier this month that it hired Discovery Education to create digital curricula for middle school classrooms. Discovery Education bills itself as “the global leader in standards-based digital curriculum resources for K–12 classrooms worldwide.”

The company creates digital “techbooks” that incorporate real-world examples for students and strategies for educators that help them implement the curricula.

The need for new curricula arose because the state of Wyoming instated new science and social studies learning standards that the school district has two more years to meet, Teton County School District No. 1 Information Coordinator CharlotteReynolds said. The Discovery Education curricula will be one piece the district uses to help students meet expectations.

Discovery Education is a subscription service, so the district will pay an annual fee of $6,327 for each subject area. Using a subscription service means the district can continually look at Discovery Education’s curricula to see if they aid learners.

The change in standards is meant to better prepare students by increasing their required skills and knowledge. As standards increase, curricula that are not only different but also more challenging are necessary.

Wyoming schools 10th best

It’s official: Wyoming has the 10th-best school system in the country, at least according to WalletHub, a personal finance website that also aggregates educational data into an annual report.

The site said Wyoming overperformed its average rank in the educational quality category, placing eighth, though it scored less well in school safety at 29th. The report took in a variety of data in developing its list.

“Unlike other research that focuses primarily on academic outcomes or school finance, WalletHub’s analysis takes a more comprehensive approach,” the report says. “It accounts for performance, funding, safety, class size and instructor credentials.”

The state ranked in the top 10 in a variety of categories: math test scores (fifth), reading test scores (eighth), student-teacher ratio (sixth), median SAT score (fifth) and percentage of licensed or certified teachers (fourth). Areas for improvement include the aforementioned school safety, retention rate (25th) and percentage of threatened or injured high school students (20th).

Go to WalletHub.com to read the entire report

Comment on school reviews

The Wyoming Department of Education is seeking public comment on proposed rule changes.

The first change is to the regulations that govern when a school can request an informal review of its performance rating. The review examines “whether the school’s overall performance rating was improperly computed and reported.” It can also determine whether a school had good cause if it was unable to administer the statewide assessment.

The second change outlines the process “whereby a citizen may petition a review of current education rules.” Both changes result from House Enrolled Act 43, which passed in the last legislative session and modified accountability requirements and procedures.

Go to Edu.Wyoming.gov and go to the News Releases section to read the proposed changes or to leave public comment.

Comments can also be mailed to the Wyoming Department of Education, Attn: Julie Magee, 122 W. 25th St., Suite E200, Cheyenne, WY 82002.

— Tom Hallberg

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-5902 or thallberg@jhnewsandguide.com.

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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