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Messages from Our Principal

Dr. Leiseth

Barbara Leiseth, PhD

Jessup Elementary Principal

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Photograph of Principal Dr. Barbara Leiseth

What a fun week this has been! We celebrated Dr. Suess’s birthday, Read Across America Week, our students earned a PBIS schoolwide celebration for demonstrating safe, respectful, and responsible behavior, and our amazing PTO hosted the Scholastic Book Fair. Thank you to all the families who came to the family night. It was so fun to come together as a community, to share a meal, and to celebrate students and their joy of reading!

Guess what? March 25th marks the end of the third quarter. Between now and then staff and students will be working hard to finish up third quarter standards, assess present levels of performance, and plan for the final quarter of the year. Can you believe it? A Remind message will be sent our letting you know when to expect third quarter progress reports.

Spring Break begins on March 28th and school will resume on April 4th. I hope all students, staff, and fam lies enjoy a well-deserved break with their loved ones. Your children have been working really hard. When we return, we will jump back into the business of teaching and learning. The WY-TOPP assessment window opens on April 12th and will remain open through May 6th. During this time, all students in grades 3-6 will take the state standardized assessment in reading, writing, math, and fourth grade will take a science assessment. Next year, all students in grades 3-6 will take the science assessment.

You might wonder why we take these assessments. First, it is a federal, state, and district requirement. The rest is simple; we take assessments at school, much like we use a scale to monitor our weight, and we use a long ruler attached to a wall to measure our kids’ height. A scale, a ruler, and an assessment are all ways of finding out something important about ourselves or our students.

These assessments are important as they provide academic achievement data for individual students. We use them to identify strengths and areas where individuals or groups may need more instruction and/or additional opportunities for growth. We plan instruction to ensure all students are prepared to demonstrate proficiency on Wyoming State Standards, so they are ready for the next grade level, secondary and post- secondary learning, and for the military or the workforce. Every year we prepare students and share tips with families so they can help ready their children to do their best. We need the results to accurately portray what students know and are able to do.


First, students need to get adequate rest. Please ensure they go to sleep early and wake up refreshed and ready to go. Students need to eat a nutritious breakfast and drink plenty of water so they are hydrated and can think deeply. The district offers free breakfast for all students. Please arrive at school on time. If a test session is started, tardy students will need to wait in the office until their class is done testing. Teachers will send out grade level assessment schedules within the window.


Please help your students see the value in these assessments so they come with a positive attitude. This is an opportunity for students to show their parents and their teachers what they know and can do. Talk to them about their fall interim results. If you don’t have these, please contact your child’s teacher. Jessup Jaguars are very competitive; if they know how they scored in the fall, they will want to show improvement.


On assessment days, the most important thing a student can do is to relax his/her mind and stay focused.

WY-TOPP is just another assessment in their school day, and you know we take lots of assessments. During the standardized assessments, if a student’s mind goes blank and they start to get tense, it suddenly becomes much more difficult to remember. We suggest they take a mini brain break by using their MindUp strategies like wiggling their fingers and toes, taking four or five deep breaths, or they can picture themselves on a beach or some other calm place. Once relaxed, the information will come back. It hap- pens to adults all the time! We use our relaxation techniques, clear our minds, and start over.


When teachers know what each individual student knows and understands or does not understand, they can plan interventions and enrichments to help them learn and to be better prepared for the next learning opportunity. This is the business of schools! This is how to differentiate instruction for individuals. We need individual academic achievement data to inform instruction.


For instance, right now we have several fifth-grade students who are working on sixth grade math standards. Fifth graders scoring high enough on WY-TOPP and FastBridge math, are eligible to go to seventh grade math class at McCormick Junior High during their sixth-grade year. One of the things we look at before deciding to send students to work in a higher-grade level is their WY-TOPP scores. The opposite is true as well. We have students who might be required to take an additional reading class next year, while in junior high because their WY-TOPP reading scores indicate they have a need for more reading instruction at McCormick. The Trailblazer principal sends letters home to high scoring students inviting them to apply for the district’s gifted and talented program. Students need to put forth their best efforts,so they don’t miss out on those additional opportunities for enrichment or acceleration.


I believe Jessup teachers have prepared our students to do well. They’ve got this!! For more information about WY-TOPP Assessments, check the WDE website. We will send out one more Journal right before we leave for spring break. Stay tuned for more information.

With warmest regards,

Dr. Barbara Leiseth


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