Wyoming Department of Education

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.

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.

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.

Wyoming Department of Education

Earlier this month, the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) released its most recent set of school performance reports. Just over half of Wyoming's schools are meeting and exceeding expectations. But close to a quarter are only partially meeting expectations and the other quarter are not at all. The WDE says determining who's on target and who's behind is a tool to help schools.

Wyoming Department of Education

For the first time the Wyoming Department of Education, Wyoming's community colleges and the University of Wyoming are teaming up to share data that will reveal what helps and hinders students on their journey through the state's education system.

Wyoming Department of Education

Last year the Wyoming Department of Education changed the statewide assessment it uses to gauge the health of the state's K-12 education system. The results of the 2017-18 WY-TOPP exam are the baseline for statewide assessment moving forward. Around 50 percent of students performed at proficient or advanced in language arts, mathematics and science.

Wyoming's Joint Education Committee is considering a proposal to consolidate the administration of early childhood education in the state.

As part of an ongoing effort to root out inefficiencies in public education, lawmakers have asked the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) to draft rules that strengthen guidelines for special education spending. Wyoming is the only state to reimburse school districts 100 percent for special education services.

Brett Levin / www.flickr.com/photos/scubabrett22/6153306342

Educators, district administrators, law enforcement and public officials from across the state came together for a summit in Cheyenne Wednesday to discuss school safety.

The Federal Commission on School Safety will make a stop in Cheyenne for a public listening session. This is one of four sessions happening across the country to gather views on how to make schools safer. Similar events have already happened in Washington, DC and Lexington, Kentucky.

Wyoming Department of Education

In a feat of bipartisan cooperation, Congress has reauthorized the Perkins Act, which provides $1.1 billion for career and technical education CTE.

Images from WDE. Layout by Tennessee Watson

Before kids go back to school, state officials and educators will gather in Cheyenne to discuss how to make schools safer. The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) is hosting a School Safety Summit on August 8.

Wyoming Department of Education

State lawmakers passed legislation during the 2018 session requiring school districts to offer computer science, but they did not appropriate funds to support the implementation of the new curriculum.

Wyoming State Board of Education

Updates to statewide content and performance standards in math and social studies, as well high school graduation requirements have been approved by the Wyoming State Board of Education. Those rules are now before Governor Matt Mead for final approval. He has 75 days to sign off.

Wyoming Department of Education

The Wyoming Department of Education is collaborating with the University of Wyoming to host the Week of Academic Vision and Excellence (WAVE) conference later this month.

Tennessee Watson

Farmworkers feed us, and to do so they travel around the country following the harvest. For their kids, that means moving from school to school. Wyoming Public Radio's education reporter Tennessee Watson found there’s a system in place to help these students, and brought us a story from North Dakota. To learn more about why we heard about one kid in North Dakota, Morning Edition host Caroline Ballard spoke with Tennessee about her reporting.

Tennessee Watson


Angel, a tall, lanky 14-year-old, dribbles down the basketball court of the school gymnasium in Manvel, North Dakota. Realizing he’s unmarked he goes for the three-pointer. It’s a nice arching shot, but the ball bounces tenuously on the rim and doesn’t go in.

Bureau of Land Management

Look no further than the school cafeteria for choice cuts of locally raised meat. The School Nutrition Project, entering its second year, splits the processing costs with districts who receive donated animals from local farmers and 4-H clubs. 

Tennessee Watson / Wyoming Public Radio

Wyoming is in the process of changing what it takes to get a high school diploma, or what’s more formally known as Chapter 31 rules. In 2015, legislation did away with a tiered diploma system in favor of a more streamlined approach. It’s been a three-year process but the Wyoming Department of Education is hopeful the rules will go into place this summer.

Wyoming Department of Education

The Wyoming Department of Education is currently taking public comment on the Hathaway scholarship, following changes made to the program during the 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions.

Layout by Tennessee Watson

School staff in Wyoming can now carry concealed weapons, on a district by district basis. A bill passed during the 2017 state legislative session gave school boards the power to decide if guns should be a part of security protocol. So far two communities, Cody and Evanston, have taken advantage of the new law. But in Evanston people like Sheila McGuire are pushing back.

Wyoming schools are a place of linguistic diversity, and students whose primary language is other than English are guaranteed access to the same academic content as their peers.

The Wyoming Department of Education tracks the progress of English Learners (EL), and provides online resources and face-to-face workshops to support districts.

WDE Consultant Antoinette Hallam said the state has seen a steady increase in such students over the last decade.

“We have about 28 – or 58 percent – of our districts with an increase,” said Hallam.

A focus on the educational needs of foster kids increased with the implementation of Every Student Succeeds: the federal act that replaced No Child Left Behind. The new guidelines required Wyoming school districts to implement foster care plans. Districts now have foster care liaisons and collaborative agreements with local representatives from the Department of Family Services (DFS).

Wyoming Department of Education

Wyoming continues to lead the nation in math and reading. That’s according to the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which tests fourth and eighth-grade students across the country on reading and mathematics every two years.

Wyoming has scored above average across the board since 2013. In 2015, two states scored higher on fourth-grade math, but on the 2017 assessment, Wyoming was among the nation’s top performers.

Wyoming Department of Education

By 2022, all Wyoming school districts are mandated to offer computer science courses. To help make this possible, the Wyoming Department of Education has launched a new program to create standards, develop curriculum and train teachers. It’s called Boot Up Wyoming 2022.

Aaron Schrank

The Wyoming State Superintendent of Public Instruction announced she’s running for a second term. Jillian Balow said there’s more she wants to do.

Jack, his mom Sarah Chatfield and his teacher Tia Reed pose with the cookies he's brought for the teachers at his IEP meeting. A team works with Jack and his family to create an individualized learning plan to accommodate his low vision.
Tennessee Watson

In an effort to curb the rising costs of K-12 education, the state legislature voted to cap spending on special education during the 2018 Budget Session. Lawmakers also directed the Wyoming Department of Education to come up with efficiencies. While educators agree there’s room for improvements, they say Wyoming’s rural nature complicates things.

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