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.

University of Wyoming enrollment numbers for the fall semester are down about 1.5 percent from the fall 2012 semester. The University’s enrollment report shows that freshman enrollment numbers have stayed steady, but Vice President for student affairs, Sara Axelson, says more significant were other changes in the class makeup. 

Three Wyoming schools have received Blue Ribbon School Awards from the U.S. Department of Education. The awards honor high performing schools as well as schools that demonstrate the most improvement in student achievement. This year’s recipients are Jackson Hole High School, Lovell High School, and Coffeen Elementary School.

David Holbrook, of the Wyoming Department of Education, says it’s a great honor for these schools.

Rebecca Martinez

In this time of job insecurity and a changing medical landscape, the University of Wyoming’s School of Pharmacy Education is graduating dozens of doctoral students who – for the most part – can count on a securing a good-paying job once they get their degree, if not before. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez reports.

(phone rings, “Thank you for calling Walgreens…”)

REBECCA MARTINEZ: Sarah Pence is a pharmacist at Walgreens in Laramie. She says her store fills hundreds of medications on a daily basis, and there’s a lot she loves about her job.

On October 2nd, the University of Wyoming College of Education will be hosting University of Southern California Professor Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang who will be the keynote speaker at the annual Ellbogen Symposium for teaching and learning. 

She will discuss how emotions shape learning, motivation and self.  Dr. Immordino-Yang is an expert on neuroscience and education.   She tells Bob Beck that emotions and our social experiences are a big part of learning.  

Wyoming's assessment system could use a tweak

Aug 20, 2013

Wyoming’s new Director of Education would like to make some changes to how the state uses assessment tests for students. 

Right now the tests take place in the spring and the results of those tests are not available until the fall.  Education Director Rich Crandall would like to speed that up, so that teachers can implement the results to better help students.

It is now up to the Wyoming Supreme Court to resolve a dispute between the Legislature and schools Superintendent Cindy Hill over statewide management of Wyoming's public school system.
 
     The court heard an hour of arguments Tuesday in Hill's lawsuit challenging a new law stripping the superintendent's office of many of its powers and duties.
 
     The change occurred in the middle of Hill's four-year term. The superintendent remains one of the five statewide elected officials but no longer oversees the Wyoming Department of Education.
 

Many in the state are concerned about the dropout rate in Wyoming’s schools.  State Director of Education Rich Crandall says in addressing the problem the goal should be to continue to engage and challenge students. 

Crandall says the best way to turn things around is to focus on improving the education experience.

www.uwyo.edu

Last month, Bob Sternberg took over as the new president of the University of Wyoming. In recent weeks, has explained that he wants UW to attempt to be an inclusive University that doesn’t focus on things like a student’s ACT scores, and rather looks more at the whole package. 

President Sternberg tells Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck that it’s more important to make sure students are properly prepared for higher education, and their future is much more important than test scores. 

Tom Laycock / Wyoming Department of Education

Officials from the Wind River Reservation discussed dropout rates, poverty issues, and the need for early childhood education during a panel that included two cabinet secretaries. 

The meeting in Riverton was intended to let Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Education Secretary Arne Duncan hear about issues on the reservation.  State Board of Education Member Scotty Ratliff was impressed that the discussion moved away from cultural issues and centered on key issues like poverty and jobs.         

Bob Beck

State Superintendent Cindy Hill says she has grave concerns about a legislative committee that is investigating possible wrongdoing within her administration.  The Committee is following up on a report that suggested possible misuse of funds and mistreatment of employees.  Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau says they want to determine if action needs to be taken against Hill or if the issue needs to be dropped.  Hill told the committee that she did nothing wrong and suggested that there may be reasons for the accusations.

Rebecca Martinez

Ever since the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado, law enforcement agencies across Wyoming have been have been preparing for how they might handle an active shooter situation.  

This summer, authorities from agencies across Albany County gathered in Laramie for some high intensity training… together. Rebecca Martinez reports.

OFFICER: Come out with your hands up.

UW provost will resign

Jul 26, 2013

University of Wyoming Provost Myron Allen has announced he will resign this fall.

A press release from UW President Bob Sternberg’s office says he accepted Allen’s resignation, which will go into effect on September 1. The release did not offer a reason for Allen's resignation.

Sternberg is asking the UW community and stakeholders to offer input and recommend an interim vice president for academic affairs. He invites anyone to send him an e-mail at uwpres@uwyo.edu.

Unless you are new to the state or have lived under a rock, you are aware that the state legislature passed a law that changed the powers of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and placed a Director in charge of Education.  Now lawmakers are investing a report that suggests possible wrong doing by Superintendent Cindy Hill…charges she denies.  It might lead people to worry about education in the state.  But lawmakers want you to know that they continue to try and make change for the better.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck has the story…

The Joint Education Committee wrapped up two days of meetings talking about everything from improving Native American education to better uses of technology in the classroom.  

Glenrock Senator Jim Anderson   says lawmakers have had some distractions in recent months with the controversy surrounding Superintendent Cindy Hill, but he says they are moving forward with some good ideas.

“If we are not doing it, at least we are starting to lay some framework and some discussion and open people’s minds to the idea of new options and new alternatives.”

Wyoming lawmakers are trying to make alternative virtual schools accountable for the students they serve.  Virtual schools are classes students can attend on-line.  One snag has been identified in Niobrara County where the local school district saw its graduation rate drop after a virtual school started in the area. Some lawmakers think that the Virtual School may have impacted the local district’s graduation rate.  House Education Committee Member Cathy Connolly of Laramie says they need to find a way to make virtual schools stand on their own.      

School officials from the Wind River Reservation admit they have problems graduating students and with educating students, but they also say they are slowly making progress.  School officials told a meeting of two legislative committees that more early education and more involvement with parents.  But they all say that socio-economic factors also play a role.  Wyoming Interim Education Director Jim Rose says resolving that issue will be tricky.

Photo Courtesy of the Wyoming Education Association

Monday the President of the Wyoming Education Association Kathy Vetter will join other colleagues from across the nation in Atlanta for the National Education Association Representative Assembly where they will discuss a number of education issues.  Kathy Vetter joined Bob Beck to discuss some issues that might come up and give us her thoughts on some education issues facing Wyoming.  One issue is on the agenda surrounds school safety and gun safety prevention.

Mead excited about new Education Director

Jun 27, 2013

Governor Matt Mead says the newly appointed Director of the Wyoming Department of Education will bring fresh ideas to the state. 

Rich Crandall will take over the day-to-day duties of running the Department after those duties were removed from Superintendent Cindy Hill.  Mead says state residents will be impressed with Crandall.

“He is focused like a laser on education, on students, on teachers, on principals, superintendents and importantly parents on what they want to see in the educational system.” 

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming House Speaker Tom Lubnau is asking for a special committee to be empanelled to investigate state schools Superintendent Cindy Hill's administration of the state Education Department.

Lubnau wants the House Rules Committee to handle the probe. It could be a step toward possible impeachment proceedings against Hill, depending on its findings and recommendation.

Lubnau, a Gillette Republican, made the request Tuesday to Republican Senate President Tony Ross, of Cheyenne.

wyoming.gov

 

Governor Matt Mead’s office interviewed current and former employees of the Wyoming Department of Education about Superintendent Cindy Hill’s administration there. The Legislature removed the superintendent as head of the Education Department in January. Mead’s office released a report compiling positive and negative feedback Tuesday.
 

What do you think about the proposal to improve early childhood education in the state?

WPM/NPR Community Discussion Rules

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead says he is still weighing the attributes of the three finalists for the state’s new Education Director.  The Director would run the State Department of Education.  

Mead has interviewed all three, but says he wants more time to consider them.

Wyoming Department of Education

Recent leadership and policy changes have caused upheaval in the Wyoming Department of education, but the collection and processing of data has been insufficient for years. An audit of the WDE’s Information Management unit is showing that there are major flaws in the system, and that an overhaul of the department is in order. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez reports.

In light of Wyoming’s high suicide rate, the state Legislature’s Joint Education Committee has voted to draft legislation that would implement the Jason Flatt Act in the cowboy state. It would require all school teachers to participate in a two-hour suicide prevention training every year to maintain their licenses.

Wyoming had the highest suicide rate in the country in 2012.  Joint Education Committee co-chairman Senator Hank Coe says it’s an especially tough issue in his district. Six people in Park County have taken their own lives so far this year.

A group of students from Fremont County School District 6 asked the Joint Education Committee to help crack down on school bus fly-bys in the state.

A fly-by is when a motorist illegally passes a school bus that has stopped to load or unload students, while raising a stop sign and turning on flashing warning lights.

Eleven-year-old Makayla Strahle of Crowhart was one of nine children killed in fly-bys nationally during the 2011 school year.

Fremont County District 6 Superintendent Diana Clapp says she was glad the committee was receptive to the students’ message.

A new report shows that the Wyoming Department of Education data collection and processing arm is needs serious improvements.

Today the Wyoming Board of Education begins the process of trying to find a Director of Education.  Board Chairman Ron Micheli said the board plans to interview a group of candidates this weekend and narrow the list to three by Saturday and submit that list to the governor for his consideration. 

The Director will be in charge of running the State Department of Education after Superintendent Cindy Hill’s duties were changed by the state legislature.  Micheli said that he’s looking for someone who will be a good fit for Wyoming.

A search firm says there is a lot of interest in Wyoming’s opening for a new Director of Education.  The position was created by the State Legislature to take over day to day operations of the State Department of Education. 

Associated Press

Fremont County School District 38 in Arapahoe has a new acting superintendent.

Former assistant superintendent Chantell Denson stepped in last week when former Superintendent Jonathan Braack left to take over the Niobrara County School District.

During the 16 months Braack was superintendent, the once struggling Arapahoe Schoo met No Child Left Behind’s requirements for Annual Yearly Progress for the first time under the Safe Harbor program.

Thirteen Jackson Hole High School students swept the preliminary rounds of a competition that will take them to Washington, DC next month, where they’ll represent Wyoming at the National History Day competition.

Fifteen-year old Bella Wood is a student in teacher Jeff Brazil’s Honors U.S. History class, which participated in the contest themed “Turning Points in History.” She says this is her second chance to take a project to the national competition. Wood says they’re experiences she’ll take with her into college and beyond.

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