The Albany County School District No. 1 Board of Education on Wednesday gave final approval to an updated anti-bullying policy and heard brief presentations on district test results and a new dual language immersion program.
For the past few months, the district has been working to bring its anti-bullying, intimidation and harassment policy into better alignment with statutory requirements. An updated draft that passed in June was later revised to include more specific information about documents needed to process complaints of bullying.
Employees would start with an incident report, then move into incident intake and analysis.
If an incident qualifies as harassment, officials would complete a complaint form and begin a formal inquiry process.
Superintendent Jubal Yennie said he recommended approval of the revised policy, and the draft passed with minor edits, such as capitalizing terms and ensuring all of the forms in the reporting procedure process were mentioned.
“I think we have a good product, and we certainly have a good procedure that I’m looking forward to rolling out with principals,” he said.
School Board Clerk Jason Tangeman said Albany County Attorney Peggy Trent was “very happy” with the revised policy. The Albany County Community Juvenile Services Board submitted a letter expressing support for the updated version.
“I think we’re all just really happy with the results,” School Board Vice Chairman Dona Coffey said in a phone interview Friday. “I think that would be the correct thing to say … everyone that was involved with it worked really hard to get it to this point and we are ready to live with it and see how it goes.”
John Weigel, assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction and accountability, gave a short presentation on the 2016 standardized test results for ACSD No. 1.
The PAWS, or Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students, annually evaluates reading and math proficiency for students in grades 3-8, and fourth- and eighth-graders are also tested on their science skills. In 2016, scores in ACSD No. 1 improved overall — particularly with fourth graders — while eighth-grade scores and some reading scores declined.
In his presentation, Weigel outlined some of the steps the district has taken to improve student performance.
“We worked on math specifically last year, K-fifth grade, but we really implemented that really, in February,” Weigel said. “So, we didn’t have a lot of time to really work through the work the teachers put in. So, this year’s the first full year we’ll really have to focus on those learning targets, to focus on the (professional learning community) process. We have the extra planning time so we think that could make a big difference in the number of successful students in the district.”
While the latest version of PAWS, which incorporates the Common Core standards, was implemented just a few years ago, Weigel noted the test changes “a little every time.”
“That first year we did really well, and last year, it was like, ‘Wow, we stepped back a little bit,’” he said. “But they do change the number of items per strand, so even though we’re trying to measure the Common Core, the Wyoming standards, they are changing the number of questions per strand. So, it’s really not the same test.”
Coffey said she was interested in seeing data on individual schools.
“I’m not interested in grade levels as much as are we moving forward,” she said. “And the only way I know that is looking at three different years.”
Weigel also gave an update on the Spanish dual-language immersion program approved by the School Board earlier this year. The program, which debuts at Indian Paintbrush and Spring Creek elementary schools this month, is designed to provide kindergarten students with instruction in both English and Spanish, helping them become proficient in both languages.
Teachers completed training in Salt Lake City last week, and student enrollment in the program increased — 18 students are in enrolled ach section at Indian Paintbrush and about 15 or 16 in the Spring Creek sections, Weigel said.
“Those numbers have grown quite a bit,” he said. “We’re excited about that.”