District 1 Experiences PAWS Technical Struggles

The March Sheridan County School District 1 board meeting was held on the Big Horn side Tuesday evening. Two student groups gave presentations. The first were students from the Big Horn High School Entrepreneurship Class, led by instructors Kathy Hecker and Bret Layher. Each year the class learns what it means to form, develop and run a company that sells a product. This year, the "company" is Big Horn Reflections, and they produce laser-etched mirrors which they hand-frame and market. In fact, the group will have a booth at the upcoming Homebuilders Home Show this weekend at the Sheridan Holiday Inn, and will be taking orders to be ready by mid-May.

Next the trustees heard from three of 29 members of Brett Burtis' Big Horn Middle School group that recently returned from their Teton Science trip. The girls, who are 8th graders, all indicated they were reluctant to go at first, but by the end of the week, they didn't want to come home. Accompanied by four parent volunteer chaperones, the students learned about snow science and animal adaptations. A telling statement of the trip -- "we grew closer as a class."

The rest of the board meeting was predominantly informative in nature, with a fair amount of conversation about the PAWS testing frustrations in some of the District schools. Tongue River Middle School has not been having any struggles, but others are, says Superintendent Sue Belish.

The PAWS tests are given each year to 3rd graders, a junior high grade and 11th graders in all Wyoming school districts to test them on reading, writing and math competency.

Also from last night's meeting -- while construction prices are lower, the District is taking advantage to get several major summer maintenance projects done at both Tongue River Elementary and Tongue River Middle School and will put those out for bid; the board approved payment of dues to the Wyoming School Boards Association in the amount of $5,669.70; $8.7 million was just appropriated in Cheyenne for them to complete the Big Horn school construction; a public meeting will be held May 1st to go over maintenance and construction options with the School Facilities Commission to determine ultimate square footage on the new Big Horn Elementary School; and trustees renewed all administrative contracts for the 2010-2011 school year.

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