On America's educational landscape, states are ultimately judged at the national level by what percentage of its schools are proficient their respective state assessment. While some states are struggling, Wyoming is performing well.
Wyoming had 82 percent of its schools make adequate yearly progress in state assessments compared to the national average of 52 percent.
Sheryl Lain has taught for more than 40 years in the state. She is an Instructional Leader under state superintendent Cindy Hill with the Wyoming Department of Education.
Lain wrote an article in response to an Associated Press story on the same issue - how states are performing and struggling nationally in terms of the statistic. Lain believes the Cowboy State's AYP accomplishment is worth mentioning.
No Child Left Behind asks states to reach 100 percent proficiency by 2014. Wisconsin being one of the highest performing states with just 11 percent not proficient, while Georgia had 27 percent missing the mark. While some states worry if they will be able to meet AYP and the requirements of No Child Left Behind, Lain says Wyoming has the ability to focus on itself and use its own resources to make itself better.
The legislature has brought in out-of-state consultants and examples from neighboring states in working toward better education. Lain says that since Wyoming has just 500,000-some residents, 95,000 of those being students, it has the ability to centralize its high-performing educators.
Sheridan County school districts had multiple classes and schools with those 100 percent proficiencies in PAWS this year. District 2 superintendent Craig Dougherty in the past has said he wants District 2 schools to set the example for others across the state. Lain agrees.
Representatives from the Wyoming Department of Education traveled around the state this fall introducing their Initiative T2T, or teacher to teacher, centered around sharing reading strategies. They visited 20 different towns in the state and about 1,000 teachers received the training, Lain said. They also have spread the concept to special education and literacy, and plan to launch more regarding how to do better on the ACT and improve in mathematics, she said.