Education

WPM is committed to covering education issues in Wyoming in a thoughtful and thorough way. This page captures all education-related stories we've aired and updates you on broad issues.

Last winter, the Uinta County School Board voted to allow teachers and staff to carry guns in schools. But now a judge has blocked that decision, saying the school board didn’t follow Wyoming’s rules for policymaking under the Wyoming Administrative Procedures Act. Sweetwater County Judge Nena James ruled last week the board should have posted the proposal 45 days before voting on it.

A nine-year-old boy in Colorado took his own life on the first week of school this year. The tragedy highlighted a pervasive problem in the state and in the Mountain West region as a whole -- the high suicide rate -- especially among youth. Goal Academy in Pueblo, Colorado is a charter program with high schools around the state that focuses on both academic and mental wellbeing.   

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.

Angel Benavides, a lanky 14-year-old, dribbles down the basketball court of his school gym in Manvel, N.D. It looks like he's going for a layup, but when he realizes he's unguarded, he stops in his tracks and takes a three-pointer. It's a nice arching shot, but the ball bounces tenuously on the rim and doesn't go in.

It's late June and Angel is already thinking about playing for his high school basketball team in Texas, 1,700 miles away. But he doesn't know if he'll get there in time for November tryouts.

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.

Feeding Laramie Valley

Albany County struggles more than others in the state with hunger and access to healthy food. That’s why a group of AmeriCorps volunteers came to Laramie, to help grow vegetables and deliver them to food banks and soup kitchens in the community. Haley Ammons grew up in Michigan and is considering the idea of pursuing a career working with nonprofits. She said planting crops and harvesting produce for the organization Feeding Laramie Valley is helping her figure that out.

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.

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.

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.

Last week, Governor Matt Mead approved new social studies content and performance standards. The changes are the result of the 2017 Indian Education for All Act, which requires schools statewide to teach the history and culture of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho. 

Wyoming Humanities Council

For years, Wind River’s tribal advocates have suggested that Wyoming kids lack access to authentic education about the state’s Native American heritage. Some said that has led to insensitive or even racist encounters when tribal sports teams travel to other school districts.

A new music school is opening in Cheyenne, and it’s is different from most traditional music schools. 

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.

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.

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?  

Ivory Brien is Really Good at Basketball, Flathead Reservation, Montana, 2016 by Sue Reynolds.

The new website Everyday Native highlights the use of photography and poetry to help bridge the gap between Native and non-Native students alongside their teachers. 

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.

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.

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