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

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security wants more lay people trained to control life-threatening blood loss. They're spreading the word through a national awareness campaign and a course called Stop the Bleed.

Tennessee Watson

Last week a grand jury decided not to indict Albany County Sheriff's officer Derek Colling for shooting 39-year-old Laramie resident Robbie Ramirez in November. On Monday, Albany County Attorney Peggy Trent announced her intent to take a look at why this incident happened and if it could have been avoided.

Mary Beth Coyne


Last February, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort launched a new extreme skiing and snowboarding competition. 18 men and seven women competed to be crowned the King and Queen of Corbet's. At the awards ceremony, the top male won $5,000 more than the top female finisher. The incident drew attention to the fact that there's nothing in place to guarantee equal prizes in big mountain freeskiing.

Tennessee Watson / Wyoming Public Radio

Thursday a grand jury decided not to prosecute Corporal Derek Colling for killing Robbie Ramirez. The grand jury was considering a charge of involuntary manslaughter.

The conversation about school safety has largely focused on defending students from a violent attack. That can mean installing new locks and bulletproof glass, but it can also mean creating a different kind of culture. TCSD Kind is a yearlong initiative of the Teton County School District #1 focused on providing safe, healthy and caring communities at all its schools.

Kari Eakins

The Wyoming Department of Education is starting off 2019 with a new chief policy officer. But Kari Eakins is no stranger to K-12 education in the state. Before stepping into her new role, Eakins served as the WDE's communications director for close to four years.

Wyoming Department of Education

When we think about whether our public schools are performing well, there's a tendency to get hung up on test scores. But a new tool will help educators, parents and communities to take a more nuanced look at education.

Council of Chief State School Officers

Only 23 percent of 8th graders in the United States are proficient in social studies. That's according to the National Assessment for Education Progress — or NAEP. Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow said she has heard from Wyoming citizens and educators who are concerned about how well prepared students are to be civically engaged as adults.

Wyoming Department of Education

 

While Wyoming's overall population saw a slight decline this year, the number of students enrolled in the state's K-12 schools saw a slight increase. An additional 53 students brought statewide fall enrollment to 93,029.

Tennessee Watson


Sixteen years ago, the Cheyenne Police Department received a report that a former Catholic Bishop had sexually abused a teenage boy in the 1970s. The lead detective told the prosecutor there was no evidence and the case was closed. Earlier this year that case was reopened and multiple victims have since come forward. This second chance at justice reflects how law enforcement attitudes toward sexual abuse are starting to change.

Screen shot from http://www.uwyo.edu/aist/index.html

The University of Wyoming has released a draft strategic plan designed to better meet the needs of Native American students and their communities.

yr.media

An essay has drawn national attention to how University of Wyoming faculty address difficult topics like racism when they come up in the classroom. It was written by Taylar Stagner, a Native American graduate of the University of Wyoming, who is also a part-time reporter at Wyoming Public Radio.

Safe2Tell Wyoming

Wyoming's Safe2Tell program has received over 1,500 tips from students since its implementation two years ago.

Andrew Graham/WyoFile


Wyoming's prisons are exceeding capacity, and as a result, state prisoners are held indefinitely in county jails, and this past year the state paid to house 88 prisoners at a private facility in Mississippi. State lawmakers are at a crossroads: spend $50 million to house more prisoners or figure out how to reduce the incarceration rate. Wyoming Public Radio's Tennessee Watson sat down with WyoFile reporter Andrew Graham to discuss his reporting on solutions to the problem.

Wyoming State Legislature

The Wyoming Legislature is moving forward on policy that would require all schools to engage in training and create safety plans in the event of a violent intruder. The bill crafted by Cheyenne Senator Affie Ellis was approved by the legislature's joint education committee nine to four.

Melodie Edwards

This week Wyoming Public Media engaged in a bit of an experiment. Reporters Tennessee Watson and Melodie Edwards set up a pop-up newsroom at the third annual Wyoming Conference for Violence Prevention and Response hosted in Riverton. They joined Caroline Ballard for a conversation about the newsroom and its goals.

Wyomingites working to reduce violence gathered this week for the 3rd Annual Conference for Violence Prevention and Response. A major portion of the conference was devoted to spreading awareness about the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, or ACES for short. Wyoming Public Radio's Tennessee Watson sat down with Jennifer Davis from the Wyoming Children's Trust Fund and Todd Garrison from the Montana-based not-for-profit ChildWise to understand why ACES could make a difference in Wyoming.

University of Wyoming College of Education

The Wyoming legislature's Joint Education Committee received an update Tuesday from the University of Wyoming concerning efforts to better prepare teachers for the state's classrooms.

Safe Project

The Albany County-based SAFE Project is heading up a new effort to engage men in the movement to end violence against women.

School board members from across the state gathered earlier this month at the Wyoming School Boards Association delegate assembly. The group set policy goals for the upcoming legislative session, and for the coming year.

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming Trustees have approved a new academic program in Construction Management. The program will offer a major and a minor, as well as a certificate for non-degree seeking students who want to enhance their construction management skills.

Tennessee Watson

The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees delayed action on the future of the Biodiversity Institute. Its funding runs out at the end of December. The UW administration originally announced it would shut down the institute, and its science education and outreach efforts, and turn to a heavier focus on biodiversity research.

Taylar Dawn Stagner


Across the country, Native American students are severely underrepresented in higher education . Only 16 percent of Native Americans have a bachelor's degree. That's compared to 42 percent of white students. But a collective effort — that spans from the Wind River Reservation to the University of Wyoming — is helping to close that achievement gap.

The Albany County Sheriff's Department released body cam and dash cam footage from Corporal Derek Colling, who fatally shot 39-year-old Laramie resident Robert Ramirez following a traffic stop earlier this month. The body cam footage cuts off before Colling fired the fatal shots.

Wyoming Department of Education

The transition from the No Child Left Behind Act to the Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA) has been a multi-year affair, and Wyoming is nearing the completion of the process.

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