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

TENNESSEE WATSON

One of the main goals of the University of Wyoming’s strategic plan is to positively impact Wyoming communities through learning outreach programs, and through collaborations that make academic expertise relevant in our daily lives. UW’s Biodiversity Institute is emblematic of this vision. But an administrative decision to close it down has raised doubts about the university’s commitment to its own goals.

The Federal Commission on School Safety will make a stop in Cheyenne for a public listening session. This is one of four sessions happening across the country to gather views on how to make schools safer. Similar events have already happened in Washington, DC and Lexington, Kentucky.

Graphics courtesy of the Wyoming Community Foundation

Why do more moms have access to prenatal care in Johnson County than other parts of Wyoming? Why does Crook County have the highest on-time high school graduation rates?  

University of Wyoming Education Abroad Office

The University of Wyoming's five-year strategic plan prioritizes faculty and student participation in international academic programs.

Wyoming Department of Education

In a feat of bipartisan cooperation, Congress has reauthorized the Perkins Act, which provides $1.1 billion for career and technical education CTE.

The UW Biodiversity Institute, known for its citizen science projects and K-12 science outreach, is closing. UW Communications Directors, Chad Baldwin, said the decision was made by university administration.

Wyoming State Board of Education

Most states don’t require teacher representation on the State Board of Education. But Wyoming is among the few that do, and give those teachers voting rights. That’s according to Education Weekly, which published preliminary research from the National Association of State Boards of Education.

Images from WDE. Layout by Tennessee Watson

Before kids go back to school, state officials and educators will gather in Cheyenne to discuss how to make schools safer. The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) is hosting a School Safety Summit on August 8.

Wyoming Department of Education

State lawmakers passed legislation during the 2018 session requiring school districts to offer computer science, but they did not appropriate funds to support the implementation of the new curriculum.

Wyoming State Board of Education

Updates to statewide content and performance standards in math and social studies, as well high school graduation requirements have been approved by the Wyoming State Board of Education. Those rules are now before Governor Matt Mead for final approval. He has 75 days to sign off.

Tennessee Watson


Over the last year, Wyoming Public Radio’s education reporter Tennessee Watson put together an award-winning series on sexual assault at the University of Wyoming. Watson’s conversations with students revealed confusion about the reporting process and uncertainty about the university’s willingness to take action. This spring UW conducted a campus climate survey to get a better handle on the prevalence of sexual violence and what happens in its aftermath. She sat down with UW President Laurie Nichols at her office to discuss the survey, the results and what's next.

WyoSayNo

A coalition to stop the construction of a privately-run immigrant detention center in Evanston is organizing events across the state called Fiestas de Familias. These parties celebrate kinship while drawing attention to policies that organizers say separate families. The effort is led by WyoSayNo and the American Civil Liberties Union of Wyoming.

Tennessee Watson / Wyoming Public Radio

The University of Wyoming (UW) officially launched its controversial new marketing plan with a presentation, Tuesday, to orient staff to the campaign's central slogan: “The world needs more cowboys.” But it’s raised the question: what about more cowgirls?

University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols pushed the need to upgrade aging dorms before the UW Board of Trustees at a recent meeting. She wrapped up her presentation on the implementation of the university’s strategic plan by telling the trustees that housing needs to be a top consideration.

Wyoming Department of Education

The Wyoming Department of Education is collaborating with the University of Wyoming to host the Week of Academic Vision and Excellence (WAVE) conference later this month.

Tennessee Watson

Farmworkers feed us, and to do so they travel around the country following the harvest. For their kids, that means moving from school to school. Wyoming Public Radio's education reporter Tennessee Watson found there’s a system in place to help these students, and brought us a story from North Dakota. To learn more about why we heard about one kid in North Dakota, Morning Edition host Caroline Ballard spoke with Tennessee about her reporting.

Tennessee Watson


Angel, a tall, lanky 14-year-old, dribbles down the basketball court of the school gymnasium in Manvel, North Dakota. Realizing he’s unmarked he goes for the three-pointer. It’s a nice arching shot, but the ball bounces tenuously on the rim and doesn’t go in.

Design: Tennessee Watson

Some colleges and universities do a better job than others at helping graduates advance financially so they can earn more than their parents. That’s according to the Equality of Opportunity Project, which studied anonymous tax data from 1999 to 2013, to create Mobility Report Cards. The project ranks colleges based on their impact on intergenerational mobility -- a term for when kids earn more than their parents.

Pexels

To save the state money, new rules were passed to increase the capacity of classrooms to 25 students for all grades. Statute previously recommended that kindergarten through 3rd-grade classroom capacity be capped at 16, and 4th through 12th grade at 21. Those numbers help determine when the state needs to fund the construction of new schools to accommodate growth.

Tennessee Watson / Wyoming Public Radio

Close to 100 people gathered outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office in Cheyenne Saturday evening to protest the separation of migrant families at the U.S. - Mexico border. The event was organized by Juntos, which means together in Spanish.

Bureau of Land Management

Look no further than the school cafeteria for choice cuts of locally raised meat. The School Nutrition Project, entering its second year, splits the processing costs with districts who receive donated animals from local farmers and 4-H clubs. 

Wyoming Education Association

Many teacher’s unions across the country are reeling from the Supreme Court’s ruling on Janus v. AFSCME; the case deciding whether non-union members have to pay fees to unions to cover contract negotiations.

Tennessee Watson / Wyoming Public Radio

Wyoming is in the process of changing what it takes to get a high school diploma, or what’s more formally known as Chapter 31 rules. In 2015, legislation did away with a tiered diploma system in favor of a more streamlined approach. It’s been a three-year process but the Wyoming Department of Education is hopeful the rules will go into place this summer.

https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5836/

The Badger Creek Fire in southern Wyoming’s Medicine Bow National Forest was downgraded to a Type 3 incident Thursday. That means the fire is less intense and requires less personnel. The fire, which started on June 10 caused the evacuation of several mountain communities. 

https://broadbandmap.fcc.gov/

The Wyoming Broadband Advisory Council meets for the first time next week. The Wyoming Legislature created the council during the 2018 session as a part of an effort to increase access to high-speed internet in unserved areas of the state.

Wyoming Department of Education

The Wyoming Department of Education is currently taking public comment on the Hathaway scholarship, following changes made to the program during the 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions.

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