education

Catherine Wheeler

In Cody, Park County School District Number 6 Superintendent Peggy Monteith said with all the uncertainty going on in the world, she was just happy to see kids climb onto a school bus on the first day of school?

"I stopped behind the bus with their red lights on and watched these little, little guys get on the bus with their masks. And I was an emotional mess by the time I got to the school because I was so happy to see them back on buses, but also so sad that they had to get on buses in masks," Monteith said. "What a world! It's turned upside down."

For days now, wildfire smoke has degraded the air quality in much of the Mountain West, and that unhealthy air is forcing tough decisions for schools that are trying to reopen.

 


Wyoming Virtual Academy

The Wyoming Virtual Academy (WYVA) offers free, public education to K-12 students in the state seeking an alternative to in-person classrooms. And with the pandemic still surging across the country, many Wyoming families are taking advantage.

Tennessee Watson

Across Wyoming, students are returning to schools armed with masks, hand sanitizer, and the knowledge that their next day in class might be taught from a screen. In most districts teachers, staff and administration are determined to provide their students' education face-to-face.

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming has changed its plans and will begin the fall semester on August 24 and will only have limited in-person classes beginning September 7.

Creative Commons CC0

Wyoming Department of Education's State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow said as of Wednesday, August 12, more than half of the state's 48 school districts have had their returning to school plans approved.

Enoch Leung / flickr CC BY-SA 2.0


There's a lot to consider with schools reopening this fall. That's especially true for teachers and other staff members. Take Ken Hilton—he's a middle school counselor in Laramie, Wyoming. He also has a daughter going into the seventh grade. He says he's not sure what the best approach is. This piece was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau's Maggie Mullen and was made possible with the support of America Amplified.

Arapahoe School District

 

Hundreds of students on the Wind River Reservation will begin the school year online. This week the Fort Washakie, Wyoming Indian and Arapahoe districts, as well as St. Stephen's Indian School, became the first in the state to officially opt for virtual instruction.

Yale School of Public Health researchers created a simulation: a hypothetical campus of 5,000 students where 10 are asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19. They found the safest way to reopen a campus like that was to enforce strict guidelines like distancing and mask-wearing. But that wasn't enough.


Kristen Landreville

According to a Pew Research Center study, scientist is one of the most trusted professions in the U.S., second only to the military. Trust levels are lower for K-12 principals, religious leaders, the media, and elected officials. So why do we hear so many people question scientific findings?

Northwest College

Northwest College in Powell will reopen it's campus for fall semester with some modifications due to COVID-19. Students will be welcomed back with options to take online and in-person classes. 

President Stefani Hicswa said the college is trying to figure out how some more hands-on classes can offer online instruction or social distancing in person. 

Wyoming Department of Education

State agencies and local officials are working together to come up with plans on how to reopen schools this fall after the coronavirus pandemic required them to shut down in the spring.

The Smart Start working group is part of a COVID-19 task force started by Gov. Mark Gordon. It includes representatives from the local school districts, the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) and the state's education department.

AnukEvo / Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)

The University of Wyoming and the state's department of education are co-hosting a virtual literacy conference this summer.

At the Embracing Literacy conference, teachers will brush up on the best tools and strategies for teaching kindergarteners through third graders how to read.

Wyoming Department of Health - State of Wyoming


In early 2020, very few people had ever heard of Dr. Alexia Harrist. Since that time, the State Health officer has become a well-known and important figure as she tries to guide the state through the COVID-19 pandemic. Harrist has lately been opening things up. She told Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck that she's optimistic as the state deals with tourists and other challenges.

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming has released a flexible plan to reopen this fall that will allow students to choose between in-person and online classes. With this plan, professors will offer in-person classes that follow the restrictions on large gatherings, as well as online versions of the same classes for students who opt to stay at home.

Buffalo Bill Center of the West

As we focus on suffrage in Wyoming, we are taking this opportunity to preview a new podcast that Wyoming Public Media and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West are in the process of creating. The KidsAskWhy podcast amplifies the voices of kids who want to ask questions. And it turns out Wyoming kids want to know about women's suffrage as well. Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck spoke to producer Kamila Kudelska.

Catherine Wheeler

The coronavirus pandemic has upended everyone's lives. But as Wyoming Public Radio's Catherine Wheeler found out, for high school seniors across the state it's been especially impactful. She collected their voices and brings us this collage.

Three-quarters of U.S. states have now officially closed their schools for the rest of the academic year. While remote learning continues, summer is a question mark, and attention is already starting to turn to next fall.

Recently, governors including California's Gavin Newsom and New York's Andrew Cuomo have started to talk about what school reopening might look like. And a federal government plan for reopening, according to The Washington Post, says that getting kids back in classrooms or other group care is the first priority for getting back to normal.

Idaho State University has accepted more students for next year than it did for this year, but that doesn't mean it'll have more students enrolling.


sheridanwyoming.com

This story is part of a two-part series on how schools across the state are handling the switch to adapted learning.

When Superintendent Craig Dougherty first heard Gov. Mark Gordon's orders extending closures of public places through the end of April, he knew the district would have to switch to virtual learning.

Arapahoe School District

This story is part of a two-part series on how schools across the state are handling the switch to adapted learning.

This week, all 48 Wyoming school districts launched their adapted learning plans. For some, that means leaning more heavily on online tools that had already been incorporated into the curriculum. But other districts, including many on the Wind River Reservation, are starting from scratch.

Wyoming Department of Education

Top state officials are requiring Wyoming schools stay closed through April 17. State Superintendent Jillian Balow and the Wyoming Department of Education have been working with districts across the state to help figure how schools will work for all students if closures persist.

Wyoming Public Radio's Catherine Wheeler spoke with Balow first about how statewide exams have been canceled for this year.

Samira Caamano

On Friday, Governor Mark Gordon and Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow extended a recommendation for all Wyoming schools to shut down until at least April 17 in hopes of slowing the spread of coronavirus. Some schools have been on Spring Break and the closures just felt like an extra-long vacation…at first.

But lots of parents were left wondering whether they were now responsible to homeschool.

Bob Beck

The Wyoming Legislature wrapped up its work this week with concerns about the future. A downturn in oil prices and worries about a drop in investment income has lawmakers thinking that they may need to make some difficult decisions in the not-too-distant future.

CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION

Top state officials on Thursday said the risk for the coronavirus in the state remains low.

The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) said there is still only one reported case of COVID-19 in the state. A woman in Sheridan County was confirmed to have the coronavirus on Wednesday, March 11.

Associated Press

The State Senate has passed a bill that sets up a process for legislators to review the school funding model and take a close look at education requirements.

Wyoming State Senator Affie Ellis.
LINDSAY LINTON BUK

Cheyenne Senator Affie Ellis successfully added an amendment to include more non-politicians in discussions over how Wyoming spends its education money.

Bob Beck

The Wyoming Legislature will be undertaking what is called a recalibration of its school funding system. It's a process where lawmakers look at what they require of educators and the state is paying enough for education. But for the first time since it was developed, the committee will study what is in Wyoming's basket of goods. Those are the skills and content areas students are required to learn, such as math and science.

Tennessee Watson

Wyoming lawmakers are still looking for ways to pay for education funding. A variety of tax proposals have been rejected and the long term forecast shows a major deficit in funds used for education.

whytoread.com

During his State of the State message, Gov. Mark Gordon indicated that there is a need to reduce education spending.

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