Teton School Superintendent Monte Woolstenhulme reported at the school board meeting on Monday that he received a preemptive call from the Department of Education notifying him that Teton Middle School was set to receive a “low performing” score based on the state test performances.

The state released these findings on Wednesday this week. Specific information from the state was not available before the Teton Valley News’ Wednesday deadline.

Woolstenhulme appeared surprised as he reported the news to the public and assured the board that he was in contact with middle school principal Brian Ashton reassuring him and telling him this is an opportunity to showcase the middle school’s overall success.

Woolstenhulme said he guessed that the low performing marks may be found in the school’s math scores which has historically been identified as a trouble area. The school has been using a MAPP testing system that, unlike the ISAT test, provides teachers with real time feedback on student's math needs.

Woolstenhulme said the state is requiring that Ashton and his leadership team attend a variety of meetings that will work to create a plan moving forward.

“We have been down this road before,” Woolstenhulme said at Monday’s meetings.

School board member Mary Mello asked if the state has seen the middle school’s MAPP testing efforts. Woolstenhulme said he didn’t think so.

“Will they care?” asked Mello.

“My guess is no,” said Woolstenhulme.

Woolstenhulme explained that while the middle school is showing success with MAPP data, the state relies on ISAT scores to determine a school’s success.

“I think we need to focus on what matters,” Mello said. “I just want to put that out there. In my perfect world we focus on what matters and what teachers are teaching and not just taking tests in some other room.”

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