The Saratoga Sun -

CCSD No. 2 teachers tops in proficiency

Seven educators from around the district have classes that show competence or growth in standardized state assessments


Carbon County School District No. 2 (CCSD No. 2) Superintendent Jim Copeland had high praise for seven teachers in his district after the Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students (PAWS) results came out last week.

Copeland was effusive in his praise of Hanna teacher Jackie Jones saying, “Jackie Jones’, (class) scored both 100 percent on math and reading, which is very outstanding. Sometimes when you score so high on proficiency it is hard to score high growth because you are already performing at a high level.”

Despite the high proficiency score, Jones’ class’ maintained high growth rates with a reading average Student Growth Percentile (SGP) of 70.55 and an average SGP of 85.22 for math.

Jones was not the only teacher to have her students score high at Hanna Elementary.

Copeland added, “Her sister Sarah, who teaches fourth grade had 66.67 proficiency in reading with an average reading SGP of 71.55 and her math proficiency was 77.78 and the class had a average math SGP of 63.77, so we had really great results from that school.”

Copeland said commitment from teachers, parents and the communities that have smaller schools aid students in doing well.

Encampment fourth grade teacher Janice Peterson, fifth grade teacher Jake Johnston and sixth grade teacher Jordan Sietz all performed above the state average. Peterson’s class did not hit 100 percent, but her students performed with an amazing 90.91 in both reading and math PAWS proficiency/advanced in reading and math.

Saratoga’s sixth grade teacher Joe Johnston and seventh and eighth grade language arts teacher Larry Cloyd also had his classes score above state.

“Although we stress the big tests we get graded on every year, there are so many more things that I think are a part of whether you are a success or not. We look at the tests and look at growth and proficiency, but there are so many other pieces to having a successful school and learning. I think in smaller schools, I think those connections enhance those other areas.”

He said succinctly, “It is all a package deal.”

Copeland pointed out an advantage he feels a smaller school can have versus larger school.

“We take field trips because a lot of the teachers are dedicated and take the time for the students to experience some things that in bigger schools you lose some of that, which to me those experiences give a more well rounded education.”

Copeland is proud of what the teachers from Encampment, Saratoga and HEM did on the assessments, but he felt there was still more to be accomplished.

“We had seven teachers that we had right at or above the state proficiency or advanced average percentages for math and reading both, then in addition to that, those seven teachers had high growth in reading and math.”

Copeland did say, as happy as he is now with his educators in the district, he felt there was room for more growth.

“I’ll be honest, I am not going to be satisfied until we are number one in the state in everything, but we are not that far away as we usually are in top 25 to 30 percent of the state. We’ll keep moving up.”

He believes strongly the interaction the teachers have with each other is important to the success of education now.

“It is teamwork in education these days. If you don’t have a teamwork mentality, you are not going to be as near as successful. That is why we have pulled together this whole PLC (Professional Learning Community) initiative,” Copeland said, “So, like our three sixth grade teachers, Jackie at Hanna Elementary, Joe at Saratoga Elementary and Jordan at Encampment Elementary, they get together fairly regularly and talk about how it is going. Those three really got it going.”

The three sixth grade teachers were successful, but Copeland said it is not easy to get the relationships going the way these three did.

“We are just starting and we are still working out the kinks of PLC and it does take a while to develop those relationships and connections,” Copeland said. “Those sixth grade teachers have formed those strong connections and it is no coincidence that all three of those teachers are among the seven in the district who had great proficiency and great growth.”

Copeland believes it is a matter of time before all his educators will utilize PLC.

PAWS is not being used any longer to assess how well students are doing in school.

Copeland said the Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress (WY-TOPP) being entirely online, with the exception of narrative testing, could possibly pose some problems during testing due to the instability of the internet service Carbon County suffers all too frequently, but he also says it way too early to have unfounded fears.

“The availability of consistent technology makes me a little concerned, but the state is very aware and we are supposed to do a practice session on September 5 for the whole state and that is being done to test the backbone of the assessment being online all at the same time.”

Copeland credits the Wyoming Department of Education for meeting with him and listening to his concerns since Carbon County is so large and spread out with spotty internet service in areas that have schools.

“On a different note, all the juniors in Wyoming take the ACT (American College Testing) and Sinclair provides inancial help so that all our students can take a practice run in October,” Copeland said. “The test is in Spring and the practice they have before really helps.”

He said not only does The Sinclair Refining Company provide funding for the help on the ACT, but they help provide mentors that come out to the communities to assist the students.

“All three of our high schools were ahead of the state on their scores of the ACT, so that was pretty phenomenal,” Copeland said. He believes the help the students got made a difference. Of 48 districts, CCSD No. 2 ranked 13th last year on the ACT.

For PAWS, classes that were above state average in proficiency and advanced were the third grade reading with 6.73; fourth grade math with 8.91; fourth grade reading with 7.77; fourth grade science 14.11; fifth grade math with 3.35; fifth grade reading with 4.84; sixth grade math with 28.44; sixth grade reading 22.39; eigth grade reading 7.82 and eigth grade science 6.36.

Out of 48 districts, CCSD No. 2 ranked 12th in reading, 18th in math and 16th in science. Copeland is really proud of his seven teachers. “I would like to clone them,” he laughs. “I do want to honor these individuals, but along with a small school, you do have lots of skews in your percentages, so I am not trying to say these are the only great teachers in our system, but when we do have outstanding results, I do think it appropriate to honor those teachers,” Copeland said. “But we do have a lot of great teachers and administrators, and that is why the PLC is important where team work and sharing can only enhance them.

Copeland concludes he is happy with the past results, but he is even more excited in taking the data and making CCSD No. 2 even stronger in the years to come.


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