WEST FARGO — In a rare occurrence for West Fargo School District, officials found their 2021 Choice Ready scores lower in some areas than the year before.

The district follows the statewide "Choice Ready" metrics which means it aims to have 100% of its students are ready to choose their path after high school graduation.

'We want to make sure they are post secondary ready, workforce ready or military ready when they graduate," Secondary Assistant Superintendent Vincent Williams. "The goal is to have 100% of students choice ready."

On Monday, Oct. 11, the West Fargo School Board examined its progress in Choice Ready by comparing its 2020 senior class of 648 students with the 2021 senior class, or 655 students.

The district saw its progress regress in two of eight areas that measure essential skills, completing 25 hours of community service and 21st Century skill competency.

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About 35% of the 2021 senior class met the community service standards while just 27 % met the criteria. However, Williams pointed out that was likely due to the pandemic.

"We know that COIVID prevented students from accessing the community," Williams said. He added schools are also working on ways to help students find volunteer opportunities.

"Some high schools are now building in the opportunity to volunteer into their schedule," he said. For example, some Sheyenne Students are able to head over to the elementary schools and help with recess or offer other volunteer work.

Test scores in some areas also saw a regression such as the English and math portions of ACT Tests, although nationwide, districts have reported lower test scores after the 2020-21 school year forced many into distance learning among other challenges presented by the pandemic.

"We saw a regression from the class of 2020," Williams said.

Overall West Fargo's Choice Ready metrics still rank high among state districts.

"I'm still amazed this many kids did as well as they did with this last year," Board Member Patti Stedman said.

She said the test attendance and scores were actually better than she expected given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic such as students who were forced into distance learning.

While the number of students who are considered workforce ready dipped slightly to 48.87%, the district's military ready scores increased in the 2021 data with test scores for military acceptance jumping.

"Our students did a phenomenal job on their that nearly doubled from the class of 2020," Williams said.

Williams said the district is taking steps to continue improvement where needed. The district has already used some of its federal COVID-19 relief funding to hire additional academic interventionists. The district is also adding flexible scheduling to provide intervention and enrichment for students.

The West Fargo School District also plans to work with the Fargo Moorhead Chamber of Commerce on the chamber's IGNITE program, which will help align students with businesses for job shadows and discussions of business opportunities.