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St. Stephens school opens under the Bureau of Indian Education

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Taylar Stagner
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Wyoming Public Radio
St. Stephens School on the Wind River Reservation was under the a federal investigation that resulted in the termination of the school board, many administrators, and many employees had to reapply for their jobs.

St. Stephens school on the Wind River Reservation will open with limited capacity after a federal investigation.

St. Stephens school is ready to open for limited capacity due to a shortage of teachers. There are 275 students enrolled in the high, middle and elementary schools.

According to Ben Rigley, the chair of the St. Stephens School board, the switch over to federal control has made background checks more stringent for administration and teachers.

“Because of the shortage right now, our teaching staff, we want to make sure we have enough ratio there for learning for each student,” he said. “I think, come springtime, they'll be able to start pick up the enrollment again and open it up for registrations.”

Ridgley said it’s a new beginning for the school, but it will still take some time to get people vetted correctly and hired.

“It is because the federal status is very…they just want to make sure everything is safe. Everybody is secured and everybody is qualified,” he said.

The superintendent is currently Lora Braucher who is the Education Program Manager. Teachers were at the schools this week to prepare for students coming to school on Sept. 19.

Currently, there are four school board seats open and applications will be accepted through Oct. 14.

St. Stephens is now a Bureau Operated School, one of around 25 in the country.

Taylar Dawn Stagner is a central Wyoming rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has degrees in American Studies, a discipline that interrogates the history and culture of America. She was a Native American Journalist Association Fellow in 2019, and won an Edward R. Murrow Award for her Modern West podcast episode about drag queens in rural spaces in 2021. Stagner is Arapaho and Shoshone.
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