School performance ratings released by the Wyoming Department of Education today (Thursday) show most Wyoming schools are meeting or exceeding expectations.

"Across all grades and all indicators, we have more schools that are meeting expectations and fewer schools that are not meeting expectations," said State Superintendent Jillian Balow.

Balow says seven schools, including Davis Elementary and Central High School in Cheyenne, jumped up two levels in overall performance and 13, including Poder Academy and Gilchrist Elementary in Cheyenne, have exceeded expectations for three or more years.

"While it's pretty difficult to pinpoint why exactly we see this positive and upward trend, I'd like to think that our work at the WDE to support schools through our Statewide System of Support has contributed to this overall trend," said Balow.

"Since it was implemented a little less than three years ago, we have certainly focused on supporting schools, especially in the areas of understanding and using student data, professional development and strengthening the leadership in schools and in school districts," she added.

Under the Wyoming Accountability in Education Act, schools serving grades 3-8 are rated on achievement, growth and equity indicators. Indicators for high schools also include graduation rates, 9th grade credits earned and Hathaway Scholarship eligibility.

"We do have fewer high schools that are exceeding expectations," said Balow. "High schools are participating in testing at a much lower rate than grades 3-8 and we hope that as we transition to our new assessment system, WY-TOPP, our high schools will focus on increasing their participation rates."

As part of Wyoming's transition to the Every Student Succeeds Act, no federal accountability determinations were made for the 2016-17 school year.

"Starting next year, ESSA and Wyoming accountability reports will be one comprehensive report," said Balow.

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