Midwest lagging as Casper high schools see performance improvements - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Midwest lagging as Casper high schools see performance improvements

(Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Natrona County School District has four high schools.

Natrona County, Kelly Walsh and Midwest High Schools are considered traditional high schools while Roosevelt High School is following an alternative model.

The NCSD Board of Trustees Academic Steering Committee discussed high school performance indicators for each of these schools over the past few school years during their Monday, Oct. 14 meeting.

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NC, KW, and Roosevelt all saw improvement in overall school performance comparing the 2017-2018 school year to the 2018-2019 school year.

Midwest saw a drop.

NC, KW and Roosevelt are all considered to be “partially meeting expectations” overall while Midwest is “not meeting expectations,” according to Wyoming Department of Education standards.

NCSD Associate Superintendent Walt Wilcox pointed out that Midwest tends to have small enrollment numbers. Due to this, having just a few students struggle can significantly impact their overall school achievement numbers.

Trustee Clark Jensen asked whether a four-day school week model may also be contributing to some of Midwest’s struggles.

Midwest Principal Chris Tobin said she didn’t think this was the case, but rather the school’s smaller enrollment size was at the root of the changes.

“We know that 3-5 students make a huge difference either way,” she said. “I don’t think our four day school week has a huge impact.”

The school district looks at a slightly different set of indicators for traditional and alternative high schools.

The following indicators for KW, NC and Midwest are used when there is a sufficient number of students for such data:

The school district explains the meaning behind each of these indicators:

  • Achievement: The score that a school receives to indicate the level of proficiency towards the Wyoming Content and Performance Standards in: 9-10 Grade Math and English Language Arts, Grade 10 Science
  • Growth: The change in the achievement for students as they progress from year-to-year
  • Equity: This is the measure that is designed to measure the achievement gap for students who have low performance based on the WY-TOPP assessment.
  • English Language Progress: Percent of students meeting expected annual progress towards becoming English proficient.
  • Extended Graduation: Percent of students that graduate in 4-, 5-, 6-, and 7- years.
  • Postsecondary Readiness: The percent of students that are college, career or military ready
  • Grade 9 credits: Percent of Grade 9 students that have earned 1⁄4 of the credits required for graduation.

Here is a breakdown of whether traditional schools saw improvement or decline on each of these indicators between the last two school years and whether they are below, meeting, or exceeding expectations on each criteria (a more detailed look at this is included in school board documents online):

  • NCHS
    • Achievement: 11 point improvement (Meeting expectations)
      Growth: 7 point improvement (Meeting expectations)
      Equity: 10.3 point improvement (Meeting expectations)
      English Language Progress: 25 point improvement (Meeting expectations)
      Extended Graduation (over last three years): 2.5 point improvement (Below expectations)
      Postsecondary Readiness: 6 point improvement (Below expectations)
      Grade 9 credits (over last three years): no change (Below expectations)
  • KWHS
    • Achievement: 9.3 point improvement (Meeting expectations)
      Growth: 4 point improvement (Meeting expectations)
      Equity: 3 point improvement (Meeting expectations)
      English Language Progress: 43.7 point decline (Meeting expectations)
      Extended Graduation (over last three years): 4.1 point improvement (Below expectations)
      Postsecondary Readiness: 7 point improvement (Below expectations)
      Grade 9 credits (over last three years): 4 point improvement (Meeting expectations
  • Midwest:
    • Achievement: 1 point decline (Below expectations)
      Growth: 7 point decline (Below expectations)
      Equity: data insufficient
      English Language Progress: data insufficient
      Extended Graduation (over last three years): 19.4 point decline (Below expectations)
      Postsecondary Readiness: data insufficient
      Grade 9 credits (over last three years): 6 point decline (Below expectations)

Some of the criteria that apply at Roosevelt are different since it is an alternative high school:

Here is an explanation of what each of these criteria refer to:

  • Achievement: The score that a school receives to indicate the level of proficiency towards the Wyoming Content and Performance Standards in: 9-10 Grade Math and English Language Arts, Grade 10 Science
  • Growth: The change in the achievement for students as they progress from year-to-year
  • Graduation Credential Rate: Percent of students that graduate in 4-, 5-, 6-, and 7- years or earn a GED in 5-, 6-, 7- years.
  • College Career Readiness: An index score that measures the level of post secondary preparation for college, career, or military.
  • Credits Earned: Percent of students in grades 9, 10, and 11 who earned 1⁄4 credits each year required for graduation.
  • Climate Survey: Average score on a 24-item student climate survey in 3 domains: Staff Support and Respect, Student Support and Respect, High Expectations

Here is a look at whether Roosevelt improved on each of these criteria between the last two school years:

  • Achievement: 1 point improvement (Below expectations)
  • Growth: 0.04 point improvement (Meeting expectations)
  • Graduation Credential Rate: 5 point decline (Below expectations)
  • College Career Readiness: 3 point improvement (Meeting expectations)
  • Credits Earned: 7 point improvement (Meeting expectations)
  • Climate Survey: 0.14 point decline (Meeting expectations)

The school district as well as the individual schools use such data to identify areas they would like to target for improvement.