Linford Elementary in Laramie is Best of the Best
Linford Elementary is the Best of the Best.
The Laramie K-5 school is one out of 12 schools to Exceed Expectations for three years in a row, as defined by the Wyoming Department of Education. Only 13 percent of Wyoming schools received the designation.
This continued top-of-performance success marks huge overall growth for the elementary school, which was Not Meeting Expectations in 2015.
Principal Dave Hardesty has been at the helm of Linford for the past 10 years, starting in 2013. In February of this year, he was selected as Wyoming’s 2023 National Distinguished Principal.
“We are very excited about the news of exceeding expectations once again,” he said. It has been a school-wide effort, with teachers, staff, and students participating in the exponential achievement. Hardesty detailed the process, which raised the school from Not Meeting to Exceeding Expectations.
“Our teachers meet with our Instructional Facilitator multiple times per week to review data, plan instruction, and determine essential material. This has created a culture of collaboration and focus on learning,” he said.
The school implemented Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS). “Our students' academic and social/emotional needs are reviewed regularly by our teachers and support providers. Appropriate interventions are implemented, monitored, and modified as needed to support all learners.”
Having a positive school culture makes a big impact, too. “Our staff believes that all students should be held to high standards and should have equal access to tier I instruction. This has allowed our entire student body to have access to grade-level standards and content,” Hardesty said.
Schools are ranked by four performance levels of Exceeding, Meeting, Partially Meeting, and Not Meeting expectations by calculating four areas of data: Achievement, Growth, Equity, and English Learner Progress (ELP).
The WDE states: Achievement is measured using the statewide assessment, the Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress (WY-TOPP). Growth is measured by comparing how students did on WY-TOPP compared to how they did on prior statewide assessments. Equity is measured by focusing heavily on the growth of the students who scored the lowest on prior statewide assessments. English Learner Progress (ELP) is measured by how well students learning the English language improve on an assessment of the English language.
In 2015, Linford was Not Meeting Expectations. They were below targets for Growth, Equity, and Achievement. In 2016 and 2017 the school moved up to Partially Meeting Expectations. They met targets for Growth and Equity but were still below targets for Achievement. In the 2018-2019 year, the school exceeded targets for Growth and Equity, and met the targets for Achievement, placing the school in the Exceeding Expectations category.