For those of us who live in Powell, we don’t need a statewide test to tell us that our kids are special. We see that everyday, not just in the classroom, but also in the ways they rally around …
For those of us who live in Powell, we don’t need a statewide test to tell us that our kids are special. We see that everyday, not just in the classroom, but also in the ways they rally around each other, especially to support a classmate who was severely injured in a recent wreck.
Confirmation of Powell’s exceptional kids came from the state last week, as the Wyoming Department of Education recognized Park County School District No. 1 for its high-achieving students. The department recently notified the Powell district that its students ranked in the top five in every subject tested in WY-TOPP, the new statewide assessment.
As Superintendent Jay Curtis noted, the district’s success is not an accident. It takes a lot of hard work — from students to a wide range of school staff — to achieve such high scores.
While it’s great news to celebrate, we’re also glad Powell schools don’t make WY-TOPP results their only focus.
“It’s just what kids choose to show us on one day of the year,” Curtis said last week, “and we’re worried about what they do 365 days of the year.”
Schools’ concern for the whole child — including their social and emotional wellbeing — is so vital. Great educators are those who strive to do what’s best for all kids, and not just what’s best for test scores. Powell schools show that when a student’s needs are put first, academic success often follows.
We’re also glad to see the state moving forward with a better assessment to track students’ progress. Educators said PAWS, the previous statewide assessment, had undergone so many changes over the years that it wasn’t an apples-to-apples comparison from one year to the next.
As former Superintendent Kevin Mitchell said in 2014, “They’ve changed this test [PAWS] enough so that the data is unreliable to us. There’s other data we look at trend-wise to see if we’re doing what we need to, but it’s never PAWS.”
With a successful second year of WY-TOPP in the books, we encourage state officials to maintain it as a consistent statewide assessment for Wyoming schools. While test scores aren’t everything, the results do help Powell educators better understand how they can assist students who are struggling academically.
We know student achievement comes in many forms — from academics to athletics to activities. It also comes in the form of character, and in the past week, we have seen many reasons why Powell students make us proud.