education

Tennessee Watson


For years Wyoming lawmakers have been grappling with how to ensure kids are safe at school. In 2009 they passed anti-bullying legislation. Last year they granted districts the right to decide whether to arm teachers and staff as a defense against violent intruders.

This session school violence is once again on the docket. Senate File 64  School Safety and Security passed out of the Senate this week and is now being considered by the House. The legislation would require all districts to develop comprehensive school safety and security plans.

Wyoming Public Radio's education reporter Tennessee Watson sat down with Cheyenne Senator Affie Ellis to discuss why she thinks this legislation is needed.

Bob Beck

A private school with some notable political ties has gotten into a fight with Teton County over whether it can build a new campus to accommodate a growing population. The Jackson Hole Classical Academy teaches a back-to-basics curriculum with a slight religious bent. After repeatedly being denied a chance to build to a scale school officials say is needed, the fight has come to Cheyenne and legislators are involved.

Flickr Creative Commons/Meal Makeover Moms

Three schools on the Wind River Reservation are offering free lunches to people affected by the government shutdown.

Wyoming Legislature

A bill that would have taken away local zoning policies when it comes to private schools was changed to place private facilities on equal footing with public schools.

Taylar Dawn Stagner

How the University of Wyoming hopes to increase Native American student enrollment, and how public school curricula represent indigenous peoples.

Milken Family Foundation

A Jackson second grade teacher won the Milken Educator Award. It's the second year in a row that a Wyoming teacher has received one of the 40 national awards, which comes with an unrestricted cash prize of $25,000.

Federal lawmakers are pushing to bankroll the Secure Rural Schools Act before Congress gavels out for the year. That money can be a lifeline for districts across our region that are surrounded by untaxable public land.

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.

A paper published in BioScience looks at how poetry can be used to teach scientific concepts and how researchers can use poetry to gain a new perspective.

Education Commission of the States

State-funded pre-k is coming up in the Mountain West. More states than ever are funding programs across the country. But of the handful that don't, three are in our region.

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.

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. 

thecuriositycube.com

Pharmaceuticals and biosciences company MilliporeSigma is stopping in Laramie this week to showcase its “Curiosity Cube.” What used to be a 22 by 10-foot shipping container is now a mobile science lab with interactive experiments. The Curiosity Cube allows kids to experience different technologies like high-tech microscopes, virtual reality, and 3D printers. 

Wyoming Equality


Starting this fall, Wyoming Equality will offer scholarships specifically for LGBTQ students. Melanie Vigil, the Co-Chair for the organization’s board, spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Maggie Mullen about how the scholarships will be the first of their kind in the state.

Megan Goodner

Award-winning musician Gaelynn Lea is a one-woman show. The NPR’s 2016 Tiny Desk Concert winner plays whimsical and haunting violin lines, looping them while she sings both hopeful and somber lyrics over top. As she sings, Lea holds the violin in an original way—upright, like a cello—to accommodate her small frame.

Two Native Americans were pulled out of a college tour this week when a parent told campus police the young men were making her nervous.

Milonica at English Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs will host trainings and listening sessions in the coming months, in response to a study by a consultant that found dissatisfaction among employee groups.  

Tennessee Watson

Laramie High School students were transported to the future Tuesday and asked to handle life as an adult; paying for groceries, housing, health insurance, and childcare just to name a few expenses. The activity, facilitated by Laramie County Community College, is called "Reality Town," and it’s designed to help teach financial literacy.

State school administrators oppose funding cuts during a 2018 legislative hearing.
Bob Beck

Education was a main topic of discussion during most of the legislative session. As the legislature comes to a close, K-12 education took a $30 million cut and a couple of constitutional amendments that could have done further damage failed. Senate Education Chairman Hank Coe and Senate Minority Leader Chris Rothfuss join Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck to size up what happened.

Wyoming Department of Education

Following the recent shootings in Florida and Kentucky, educators and policymakers across the country are asking questions about school safety and security. Last year Wyoming’s state legislature made it possible for local school boards to decide as a community whether or not to arm trained staff.

Tennessee Watson

The Wyoming House of Representatives wrapped up week one of the 2018 Budget Session on Friday shortly before 3:30 p.m., which has some policymakers disappointed.

 

The last day to introduce bills, the early adjournment meant there were over 15 bills that got the ax without even being discussed. House Minority Leader Cathy Connolly said the House never got to discuss a tobacco tax, a sales and use tax rate and changes to a real estate tax, among others.

 

Wyoming Department of Education

In his State of the State address, Governor Matt Mead urged the legislature to find ways to stabilize education funding, which relies heavily on revenues from the energy industry. But attempts to diversify the tax base — to protect school finance from booms and busts — have gone nowhere. Lawmakers who oppose generating new revenue sources say school finance is too opaque. They want more time to settle their uncertainty.

 

Ten months and $800,000 later, the Select Committee on School Finance Recalibration has completed its in-depth look at how Wyoming finances education. Members of APA Consulting, who were tasked with examining the equity and adequacy of the school funding model, told lawmakers the state’s current approach works but pointed out areas for improvement. Despite a recommendation to spend more, lawmakers are opting to spend less.

Kamila Kudelska

As lawmakers are discussing whether to add computer science and computational thinking to the state educational curriculum, they are looking to Powell as an example. Powell is one of only five school districts teaching computer science. Wyoming Public Radio’s Kamila Kudelska takes a deeper dive into how their curriculum has developed and persisted throughout the years.

Tennessee Watson

Despite 10 months of work, a legislative committee has rejected changes to the school funding model. After examination, APA Consulting produced a similar price tag for funding K-12 education as what the state was spending before the last round of cuts.

 

In its last meeting before the legislative session, the Select Committee on School Finance Recalibration refused to adopt the new model suggested by APA.

 

As policymakers head into the 2018 Budget Session, education is a topic many will be watching. Wyoming Public Radio's Tennessee Watson joined Morning Edition Host Caroline Ballard to examine what might be in store after education consultants hired by the state recommended giving more money to education instead of implementing cuts.

Graphics from Education Week. Layout by Tennessee Watson

Wyoming was given a B-minus score for its education quality, according to recently released data in Education Week’s report Quality Counts 2018. That puts it above the national average of a C, and the seventh best in the nation.

 

The grades are based on three criteria: chance for success, K-12 achievement, and school finance.

commons.wikimedia.org

A proposal to increase the recommended average class size in Wyoming schools is part of what lawmakers are reviewing in preparation for the 2018 Legislative Budget Session. Increasing class size has been discussed by policy makers as way to reduce costs.

 

The Park County School District #6 school board in Cody voted Tuesday to table the first reading of a policy which would allow employees to carry firearms. The decision to postpone further action comes with the condition that the board send out a survey to teachers and the community within the next month.

During the meeting, board members expressed concern that budget and insurance questions posed by the public were still unanswered.

Tennessee Watson

The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act was one of the bipartisan triumphs of 2017. Referred to as the “Forever GI Bill,” it makes significant changes to education benefits for service members and veterans, like no longer requiring them to use their benefits within 15 years of active-duty service. But supporting veterans in higher education is more complicated than just giving them more time.

 

Marty Martinez spent 29 years in the military before coming to the University of Wyoming.

 

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