July 15, 2008
The Honorable Jim McBride
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Wyoming Department of Education
2300 Capitol Ave, 2nd Floor
Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002-0050
Dear Superintendent McBride:
I am writing in response to Wyoming's request to amend its state accountability plan under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Following discussions between the Department and your staff, you made certain changes to your state accountability plan, which are now included in the amended state accountability plan that Wyoming submitted to the Department on July 7, 2008. I am pleased to fully approve Wyoming's amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website. A summary of the amendments submitted for the 2007-08 school year is enclosed with this letter. As you know, any further requests to amend the Wyoming accountability plan must be submitted to the Department for review and approval as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I of the ESEA.
Please also be aware that approval of Wyoming's accountability plan for Title I, including the amendments approved herein, does not indicate that the plan complies with Federal civil rights requirements, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
I am confident that Wyoming will continue to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. I wish you well in your school improvement efforts. If you need any additional assistance in implementing the standards, assessment and accountability provisions of NCLB, please do not hesitate to contact Lauren Prehoda (Lauren.Prehoda@ed.gov) or Don Watson (Don.Watson@ed.gov) of my staff.
Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.
cc: Governor Dave Freudenthal
Amendments to Wyoming's Accountability Plan
The following is a summary of the state's amendment requests. Please refer to the Department's website (www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html) for Wyoming's complete accountability plan.
The following amendments are aligned with the statute and regulations.
Including all schools in accountability (Element 1.1)
Revision: Wyoming designates with which school a newly opened school with grades kindergarten through grade 2, Lincoln Elementary, will be paired. Because Lincoln does not have any tested grades, it must be paired with an existing elementary school with tested grades for accountability purposes.
Full academic year definition (Element 2.2)
Revision: Beginning in 2008-09, Wyoming will define a student meeting the "full academic year" definition as one enrolled October 1 through the 15th day of the testing window.
Determining adequate yearly progress for English/language arts (Element 3.2a)
Revision: Wyoming will calculate whether a school or district has met its annual measurable objectives for English/language arts by taking a weighted average of the number of students scoring proficient or above on the reading test and on the writing test measured against the annual measurable objective for English/language arts.
Annual measurable objectives (AMOs) (Element 3.2c)
Revision: Wyoming will leave its current AMOs in place for 2007-08 and will revisit them in 2009-10.
AYP determinations (Element 4.1 & 10.1)
Revision: Wyoming will no longer provide a January test window for any of its assessments. Beginning in 2008-09, high school English/language arts scores may only be "banked" for accountability purposes if the reading and writing portions are taken in the same testing window and 9th-graders will not be permitted to take the English/language arts high school assessments.
Inclusion of students with disabilities (Element 5.3)
Revision: Wyoming will include students who exit the special education program in the students with disabilities subgroup for an additional two years.
Revision: Wyoming revised the description of its alternate assessment based on alternate academic achievement standards, the PAWS-ALT.
Please note that approval of this amendment by the Department does not constitute approval of the PAWS-Alt or the Wyoming alternate academic achievement standards. In approving this amendment, the Department expresses no opinion on the sufficiency of either the PAWS-Alt or the Wyoming alternate academic achievement standards. Approval of the PAWS-Alt will continue to be handled through the assessment peer review process that is separate and distinct from the amendment approval process.
Determining participation rates (Element 10.1)
Revision: Beginning in 2008-09, Wyoming will calculate participation rates using enrollment data collected 15 testing days into the testing window.