The Wyoming legislation and department rules (W.S. § 21-3-401 Reading Assessment and Interventions and the Wyoming Department of Education Rules Chapter 6, Section 5(i)&(ii) W.S. § 21-3-4) were enacted in 2017 and require local education agencies (LEAs) to select and implement evidence-based reading programs, assessments, and interventions for K–5 students. The Region 11 Comprehensive Center (R11CC) and the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) are collaborating with two Fremont County LEAs to meet the statute and department rule requirements. The goal of this project is to help WDE improve access to programs and educators trained in evidence-based practices and to improve K–3 reading outcomes for struggling readers. Under federal law, schools in need of support must be identified for improvement. There are three types of support:
- Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) is for Title I schools performing among the lowest in the state and any school with a graduation rate below 67 percent.
- Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) is for any school that has a specific group of students who are not performing well.
- Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (ATSI) is for schools that have a specific group of students who are chronically not performing well.
In Wyoming, there are currently 20 schools designated as CSI, 32 schools designated as TSI, and 16 schools designated as ATSI.
The R11CC is supporting WDE as they build state capacity through partnership development and create these improved policies, practices, and systems to develop, implement, monitor, and evaluate K–3 comprehensive reading programs.
To begin the project, the WDE, with national and state literacy content experts, developed the Wyoming Literacy Guidance Framework based on evidence-based practices. Nineteen educators from small, medium, and large LEAs participated in the final development and approval of the policy document. The policy document provides the foundation for districts and schools to meet the Wyoming statutes and department rules. From there, the R11CC supported the University of Wyoming Literacy Research Center and Clinic (UW LRCC) as they conducted literacy needs assessments and developed English Language Arts Leadership Team charters for two pilot schools, Arapahoe Elementary School and Wind River Elementary School. Then the R11CC and UW LRCC assisted both pilot schools to identify literacy improvement goals based upon the schools’ needs assessments; co-developed customized professional development plans; worked to identify evidence-based literacy practice resources; and developed Literacy Knowledge Management Google Drive sites at both schools to provide staff with easy access to archived project evidence-based resources.
In the remaining project years, the R11CC is supporting UW LRCC as they prepare for and provide professional development activities for the pilot elementary schools.
Long term, the project goal is to support WDE with improving accessibility to programs and educators skilled in evidence-based practices and to advance K–3 reading outcomes for struggling readers. Within the pilot schools, the goal is to work with the UW LRCC partner to provide evidence-based professional development for teachers in order to improve students’ reading performance.
The R11CC is also helping the UW LRCC standardize their processes related to professional development by creating knowledge management sites to archive resources and assisting the pilot schools in identifying literacy goals based on each school’s needs assessment. Also key to Wyoming’s project is teacher coaching and creating a process for teachers to evaluate the training they receive. With this in mind, the R11CC team has partnered with WDE, UW LRCC, district/school staff, and project stakeholders to develop an evaluation plan.
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The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) and the Region 11 Comprehensive Center (R11CC) have partnered to improve K–3 reading for struggling readers by increasing the effectiveness of Tier 1 instruction so that all students gain foundational reading skills.