Tennessee Watson

Education Reporter

Phone: 307-766-5064
Email: twatso17@uwyo.edu

Tennessee -- despite what the name might make you think -- was born and raised in the Northeast. She most recently called Vermont home. For the last 15 years she's been making radio -- as a youth radio educator, documentary producer, and now reporter. Her work has aired on Reveal, The Heart, LatinoUSA, Across Women's Lives from PRI, and American RadioWorks. One of her ongoing creative projects is co-­producing Wage/Working (a jukebox­-based oral history project about workers and income inequality). When she's not reporting, Tennessee likes to go on exploratory running adventures with her mutt Murray.

Ways to Connect

http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/visualizations-data/ycom-us-2018/?est=happening&type=value&geo=state

A new report from a United Nations' committee predicts climate change will wreak major havoc if action isn't taken by 2030. To ward off the catastrophic wildfires, severe weather and the displacement of millions of people, the report calls for an immediate reduction in the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Wyoming Department of Education

Last year the Wyoming Department of Education changed the statewide assessment it uses to gauge the health of the state's K-12 education system. The results of the 2017-18 WY-TOPP exam are the baseline for statewide assessment moving forward. Around 50 percent of students performed at proficient or advanced in language arts, mathematics and science.

Tennessee Watson

There are two communities in Wyoming with anti-discrimination ordinances: Jackson and Laramie. Outside city limits and across the rest of the state, LGBTQ individuals who face discrimination aren't protected by the law. But that didn't stop Kassi Willingham from moving back to her hometown of Rock Springs after a few years in Colorado.

Biodiversity Institute

In its remaining months, the Biodiversity Institute is gearing up for a regional conference on citizen science. In late July, the University of Wyoming announced plans to shut down the institute, which promotes the study of living organisms by learners of all ages, from pre-schoolers to Ph.D. students.

As stories continue to surface from survivors of sexual violence so do questions about how to reduce the rate at which assault happens. The Equality State Policy Center is hoping to help empower Wyomingites to seek solutions by offering a one day workshop called SHAPE #metoo.

Annie E. Casey Foundation

Eight thousand children in Wyoming have young parents ages 18 to 24. Close to 60 percent of those families are low income, according to the Opening Doors for Young Parents report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Wyoming Department of Education

Back in 2005 the Wyoming legislature set up the Hathaway Scholarship to help make higher education more accessible to Wyoming high school graduates, but data requested by Wyoming Public Radio indicates low-income students aren't reaping the same benefits from the program as their higher income peers. Bailey Nowak's story offers a glimpse of why.

Wyoming's Joint Education Committee is considering a proposal to consolidate the administration of early childhood education in the state.

University of Wyoming

For the second year in a row, the University of Wyoming has seen an overall increase in enrollment. Kyle Moore, UW's Associate Vice Provost for Enrollment Management, said the most notable increase is the freshman class. At 1,850 students, that's a 9.5 percent increase from last year.

Screen shot from http://www.wyomingbusiness.org/broadband

Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr sees accessible, affordable, high-speed broadband as critical to the city's prosperity and future. Back in January, she announced the formation of a broadband task force. The City Council recently adopted a resolution drafted by the task force following several months of research.

University of Wyoming

Governor Matt Mead has appointed Laura Schmid-Pizzato to the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees following John MacPherson’s resignation. MacPherson, who was appointed to the board in 2011, said he hoped his replacement would bring fresh perspective to the board.


A Pennsylvania Grand Jury report found that leaders in the Roman Catholic Church there persuaded victims not to report sexual abuse and convinced law enforcement not to investigate it either. News of the cover up, which protected over 300 abusive clergy, has sparked a call for increased accountability nationwide. Catholics in Wyoming are also reckoning with allegations of clergy abuse.

As part of an ongoing effort to root out inefficiencies in public education, lawmakers have asked the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) to draft rules that strengthen guidelines for special education spending. Wyoming is the only state to reimburse school districts 100 percent for special education services.

Volunteers of America

Earlier this summer, the Governor's Advisory Council on Juvenile Justice gave Albany County the Neal D. Madson Award for its groundbreaking work with juvenile offenders. Since 2014, Albany County says it's reduced the number of young people who end up in secure detention by 34 percent. That's when the county formed a Community Juvenile Service Board and started a diversion program, which advocates say has been good for kids and the state's bottom-line.

Tennessee Watson

Voters turned out in strong numbers for Wyoming’s 2018 primary election. Several counties reported a significant uptick in Republican voters and an increase in voters switching party affiliation.

Wyoming Public Radio

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow will run unopposed in the November general election. She’s already defined an agenda for her second term that includes implementing computer science, strengthening measures for post-secondary readiness and addressing school safety and security.

curtmeierfortreasurer.com

State Senator Curt Meier won the Republican primary for Wyoming State Treasurer defeating fellow Senator Leland Christensen by five percent. With no Democratic candidate for treasurer, he’s entering November’s general election unopposed.

Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

The spotlight is on Pennsylvania where a grand jury reported roughly 300 priests abused more than 1,000 identifiable victims over a period of 70 years. Yet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sexual abuse is a national epidemic that transcends cultures and religions, impacting 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys across the United States.

Tennessee Watson

As a land-grant institution, the University of Wyoming is charged with providing accessible and affordable higher education. In keeping with that mission the UW Board of Trustees is seeking public input regarding ongoing tuition increases.

University of Wyoming College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

The University of Wyoming was found in violation of the Animal Welfare Act during a routine inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in early July.

The University of Wyoming

The UW board of trustees approved a proposal to create a $20 million endowed scholarship specifically for students from Wyoming.

Brett Levin / www.flickr.com/photos/scubabrett22/6153306342

Educators, district administrators, law enforcement and public officials from across the state came together for a summit in Cheyenne Wednesday to discuss school safety.

Tennessee Watson / Wyoming Public Radio

President Trump's Commission on School Safety conducted a listening session Tuesday in Cheyenne to gather input from the Mountain West region. Educators, officials and students came from states across the region, as far as Albuquerque, to share diverse perspectives before the commission.

Tennessee Watson

Wyoming’s gubernatorial and congressional races are in full swing, and starting Wednesday things are heating up for those interested in a seat on their local school board. Candidates have until August 27 to declare their intention to run in November.

Tennessee Watson / Wyoming Public Radio

The town of Medicine Bow — population roughly 200 — nearly doubles in size every August for the Battle of Old Wyoming. It’s not a reenacted gunfight as the name might suggest, but a music festival where 24 bands play back-to-back 30-minute sets for 12 hours. 

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