GILLETTE, Wyo. — Following legislation passed in 2022, the Wyoming Department of Education has invited the public to weigh in on some changes in the evaluation of early elementary school students’ reading skills.
The department has proposed rules for the changes for kindergarten through third-grade reading assessment and intervention. Wyoming law directs the state superintendent to consult with Wyoming school districts, professionals in the area of reading difficulties and other stakeholders for rules to help school districts administer a reading assessment and intervention program.
Director of Curriculum, Assessment and Professional Development Brandon Crosby said he has one concern regarding the changes: the professional development requirements. He thinks they involve very complex, specific time constraints that may not be sufficiently flexible to allow a district to focus on data-identified areas of growth and what students need.
“Elementary teachers are content experts in not only English Language Arts but also in all subjects,” he said. “As a district we have to provide professional development in all content areas, to support teaching and learning. With the current professional development opportunities it is going to be difficult to meet these requirements as we continue to work to keep teachers in classrooms with students as much as possible.”
He said he will submit comment regarding those requirements. He encourages community members and district staff to read the rules and share any concerns they may have through the state’s public comment meetings.
The department said those virtual meetings will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. July 27 and from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. July 28. Public comment may be submitted online or via email by 11:59 p.m. July 31. All public comments will be recorded verbatim, including the submitter’s name and city of residence, on the Secretary of State website as part of the rules promulgation process. The Chapter 56 public comment form and documents are available here.
“K–3 reading had been and will continue to be a focus in CCSD,” Crosby said. “We work every year to provide all staff with professional development and curriculum resources to support teaching literacy skills to all students. In addition to high-quality core literacy instruction, our district supports students who struggle with foundational reading skills in interventions throughout the grade levels.”
The Campbell County School District is also a Reading Recovery district, he said. In each school, a certified reading recovery teacher works with the classroom teacher to provide this intense reading intervention for the district’s most at-risk readers. The district has used FastBridge for several years as a universal screener.
“We communicate with our families the progress students make as they work to overcome reading difficulties on their road in becoming a skilled reader,” he said. “With all of that said, we are doing what this bill and the rules are going to require.”