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

Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies

With Thanksgiving comes images of heaping piles of food, but one in eight Wyomingites struggle with hunger and uncertainty about the source of their next meal. The Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies counts more than 20,000 children and 14 percent of seniors in the state as being affected by hunger and poverty.

 

Shanna Harris, who directs the food bank, said when families are struggling to cover multiple expenses, food is often the first item to take a cut.

 

The WYO Theater Facebook page

The WYO Theater has been a mainstay of downtown Sheridan for decades, hosting live theater, music, and films. Now, after a series of renovations in neighboring buildings, the theater is part of the WYO Performing Arts and Education Center.

Tennessee Watson

Students walked out of class at the University of Wyoming Monday to draw attention to the administration’s handling of sexual assault. The organizers believe the school should be doing more, so they drafted a letter to UW President Laurie Nichols outlining a list of actions that should be taken to improve safety on campus.

 

This follows a recent report of sexual assault by an unknown perpetrator in a UW parking lot.

 

Sheridan College

In late September, two Native American women enrolled at Sheridan College were the target of multiple incidents of racist hate speech. Thursday, Sheridan College President Paul Young announced an action plan to address inclusion and safety for all students on campus.

 

Wyoming Legislature

Wyoming’s energy sector seems to be bouncing back, but years of uncertainty have prompted lawmakers to take a look at spending. For the last eight months, a legislative committee has been trying to wrap their heads around the true cost of K-12 education.

Senator Dave Kinskey is part of that effort, and he’s become well known for saying he wants to see Wyoming get the most bang for the buck. Wyoming Public Radio’s Tennessee Watson visited Kinskey in Sheridan to ask him what that means.

Tennessee Watson

The University of Wyoming Police received a report that a woman was tackled and sexually assaulted by an unknown suspect walking across the East Stadium parking lot Friday evening.

 

According to a statement issued by UW, the victim would like to remain anonymous at this time, but evidence has been collected should the victim choose to make a formal report in the future.

Photo by Cqfx via CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en

For six hours a day for the last five days straight, volunteers have read off the names of the six million Jewish and five million other victims of the Nazi regime, as a part of Holocaust Remembrance Week at the University of Wyoming. But the week also wrapped up with a letter from President Laurie Nichols to the campus, addressing recent issues of free speech and inclusiveness at UW.

 

WyoTech

For over 50 years, students from Wyoming and across the country have come to Laramie to learn automotive skills. But on November 8, the Zenith Education Group, which owns colleges across the country announced plans to close 21 campuses, including WyoTech.

Tennessee Watson

November 8 is the first annual First-Generation College Celebration. The national event recognizes the anniversary of the Higher Education Act of 1965, and honors the achievements of first-generation students.

Around 30 percent of college and university students are the first in their family to pursue higher education. Research says first-generation students are significantly less likely to complete a bachelor’s degree than their non-first-generation peers.  

Wyoming Department of Education

The Wyoming Department of Education is bound by law to gather stakeholder input on how well schools meet the needs of low-income students, and the agency is stepping up those efforts by forming a statewide committee.

 

Tennessee Watson

Both private and public institutions are bound by federal law to respond to reports of sexual harassment and abuse. In the workplace, it’s Title 7. In educational settings, it’s Title 9. But this fall the U.S. Department of Education announced it plans to overhaul the guideline. In response, UW law students organized a panel of university administrators to discuss potential changes. A Laramie attorney — who has represented a student facing sexual misconduct violations — spoke out at the event.

wikipedia.org

Five U.S. soldiers lost their lives just in the month of October. And their names will be among the 7,000 read aloud on November 10 outside the University of Wyoming student union as a part of the National Roll Call in honor of Veterans Day.

The event, which happens on university campuses across the country, recognizes the service members who have died in military operations since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The event begins at 8 a.m. with the presentation of the colors and will conclude with a performance of “Taps” around 7 pm.

University of Wyoming

#metoo started flooding social media following the news about film producer Harvey Weinstein. Now the campaign has extended beyond women in Hollywood  inspiring millions of people to speak out about their experiences with sexual harassment and assault. But what happens when students come forward at the University of Wyoming? This is the third story in a series looking at Title IX and schools responsibility to respond to sexual misconduct.

Annie E. Casey Foundation

A new study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds kids from immigrant families, as well as children of color, face persistent challenges that hinder their economic future.  

Natrona County Schools

With close to 1,000 empty seats across the school district, Natrona County will close four schools next fall. Administrators say the decline in enrollment is due to a downturn in the energy industry, which has also brought reductions in state funding for education.

 

Tennessee Watson

A lab devoted to tinkering, playing and experimenting has opened its doors in the Coe Library at the University of Wyoming. There among stacks of books is the Makerspace — with large worktables, an electronics bench and four 3D printers.

www.brianlonerart.com

Writing has only been around about 5,000 years, so it’s the work of archaeologists to figure out the stories of early humans before there was a written record. Laramie-based archaeologist Rich Adams has just published the World Prehistory Coloring Book, relaying those 3.5 million years.

 

After working in Wyoming for 24 years he started teaching university courses, and he said he found students would get overwhelmed and intimidated because there’s just so much to learn.

UW College of Law

From immigration policy to environmental regulations to sexual harassment, Law Week at the University of Wyoming tackles timely and contentious legal topics. Starting October 16, the week of panel discussions hosted at the College of Law is open to the public.

Celebrating its 17th year, the Wyoming Latina Youth Conference hosted young Wyoming women of Hispanic descent for two days of programming in Laramie on October 13 and 14. The theme this year was, “embracing leadership, science, and creativity.”

Over 200 female students in 5th through 12th grade attended workshops on science, technology, and creativity, in order to foster a belief in the power to choose their future.

Wyoming Afterschool Alliance

Across the nation, kids are getting caught up in the juvenile justice system more than they should be. That’s according to advocates who say more could be done to intervene before law enforcement get involved.

 

In Albany County alone, there are over 700 incidents involving juvenile offenders every year. But Peggy Trent, the county’s prosecuting attorney, said at least 70 percent of those cases could be handled by schools.  

 

Tennessee Watson

The Wyoming Department of Education has announced it must change how it accredits school districts — yet another consequence of budget cuts mandated by the state legislature.

 

The department was contracting with AdvancED, an independent accreditor, to ensure districts were adhering to standards, but that work will now be handled internally.

 

pixabay.com

As Wyoming’s energy industry continues to stay relatively stagnant, state leaders have been looking at alternate ways to boost the state’s economy. Governor Matt Mead is hoping technology will become a vibrant part of Wyoming’s economy, alongside energy, agriculture and tourism.  And this message has caught on. In June the Joint Education Committee requested that the Wyoming Department of Education convene a Computer Science Education Task Force, to look at what it would take to prepare Wyoming students to be leaders in the technology field.

 

Tennessee Watson

In August we reported on a University of Wyoming student who filed a Title IX complaint with the federal government about the handling of her sexual assault. Since then Education Secretary Betsy Devos initiated an overhaul of the Title IX guidelines, bringing concern about higher education’s handling of sexual violence to national attention.

University of Wyoming

Obama era regulations, which increased protections for campus sexual assault survivors, are in the process of being removed. The U.S. Department of Education recently announced it intends to overhaul federal Title IX guidelines regarding how schools should respond to sexual violence.

 

 

The U.S. Department of Education has ended an agreement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, the agency tasked with investigating financial fraud and mistreatment. In partnership with the Department of Education, the CFPB has been working to investigate complaints about student lenders and for-profit colleges.  

 

Manitos -- the word for Hispanic New Mexicans -- have a rich but untold history in Wyoming. That’s why a team of researchers from Wyoming, Arizona and New Mexico created the exhibit “Following the Manito Trail.” Using oral history, artifacts and photography the project documents Manitos’ influence on the West.

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