WPM is committed to covering education issues in Wyoming in a thoughtful and thorough way. This main page captures all education-related stories we've aired, and updates you on broad issues.

Check out our Strengthening Education Reporting page for stories focused primarily on graduation rates and how to encourage an upward trend in education.

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School board members from across Wyoming met last week to vote on legislative priorities for the years ahead.

Wyoming School Board Association considered 22 resolutions. Many of those that passed addressed school accountability and funding.

Other resolutions include support for early childhood education efforts and stricter attendance policies. Association Executive Director Brian Farmer says the group’s calling to raise the mandatory school attendance age.

Since coal companies are no longer buying coal leases, Wyoming may need to find a new way to fund school construction.

Friday the legislature’s joint revenue committee was asked to support legislation that would increase either property or sales taxes to pay for school construction.  But several legislators say it’s too early to consider a tax.  Revenue Committee member Tom Reeder has voted against the last several budgets and he’s calling for lawmakers to stop spending first. 

“I have heard nobody talk about…we could make government more efficient by doing XYZ.”

Wyoming Legislature


This week, the Legislature’s Select Committee on School Finance Recalibration recommended that the state stick with the same school funding model it’s been using for the past decade. That means school districts would get basically the same amount of money they have been getting.


The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees voted Friday to raise student tuition by 4 percent next school year. The move is in line with a policy adopted by the Board last year to review a possible increase like this annually.  

UW spokesman Chad Baldwin says the approved hike will generate $2 million in revenue.

Wyoming Public Media

On November 18, Aaron Schrank hosted a live Twitter chat with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. He posed questions about career readiness, as WDE recently created its Wyoming Career Readiness Council and is working to create a strategic plan to improve career readiness in Wyoming schools. The hashtag #WPREdTalk allowed for anyone to tweet questions.

Read through the Twitter chat below.

Aaron Schrank/WPR

After months of work, a legislative committee decided Tuesday not to make any changes to the way schools are funded. 

The Select Committee on School Finance Recalibration voted not to draft a new school funding bill, but to stick with the model the state has used for the past decade.

Department of Education

This Wednesday, November 18, from 5:45pm to 6:30pm, Aaron Schrank will be hosting a live Twitter chat with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. He'll be posing questions about career readiness, as WDE recently created its Wyoming Career Readiness Council and is working to create a strategic plan to improve career readiness in Wyoming schools.

On Twitter, use the hashtag #WPREdTalk. Anyone can tweet questions using that hashtag, and Aaron will be picking some of those questions to pose to the Superintendent.

Photo by Ikhlasul Amal, Flickr Creative Commons


Inside the home of the Williams family, in Centennial, Wyoming, it looks like a cross between a classroom and a call center. Five children, ages six through 16 are wearing headsets and staring at computer screens.

“Mom, what are we doing next?” yells 6-year-old Selah Williams.

“I think we’ll do reading,” says Liz Williams. “Do you want to get your storybook out?”

The Williams kids are full-time students at Wyoming Virtual Academy—or WYVA—one of two statewide virtual public schools in Wyoming. Liz says WYVA allows her to be more hands-on with their learning.

Wyoming Arts Council

A national arts education organization has selected Wyoming to be part of a three-year program to strengthen the arts in schools. Americans for the Arts has awarded grants to ten states for pilot programs to improve arts education policies.

The Wyoming Arts Council’s Michael Shay says the first step is a survey to evaluate what resources art educators have and need.

Flickr Creative Commons, Photo by

Some community colleges in Wyoming are anticipating drops in state and local revenue, amid an oil and gas downturn.

Wyoming’s 7 community colleges receive about 60 percent of their funding from the state, 20 percent from local property taxes, and the other 20 from tuition.

While some colleges will see their local revenue impacted, Wyoming Community College Executive Director Jim Rose says the state has not announced it will cut any funding for community colleges.

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming is a step closer to finding a new President. The first committee involved in the search has approved a list of semifinalists for the job.

UW Trustees are keeping the names on that list private for now. They also would not share how many names are on it, but the original plan called for about 15 candidates.  

Trustee Jeff Marsh chaired the committee. He says they came up with a diverse pool, but there’s more work ahead.

Aaron Schrank

On September 26, six Native American high schoolers from the Wind River Reservation were visiting UW with 600 other prospective students for a weekend event called ‘Campus Pass.’ They planned to tour campus and watch a Cowboy football game.

“We got there in the morning, and we had some free time to go walk around and check things out, so we went to the campus bookstore,” says Kaleb Groesbeck.

Wikimedia Creative Commons

Campbell County School officials are considering whether junior high and high school students should start their school days later.

Many parents spoke out at a public meeting this week, saying the change would disrupt family routines.

Those students currently start their day at about 7:40 in Campbell County. But the American Academy of Pediatrics is calling on schools to push that back until 8:30 or later.

The District’s public relations director Jeff Wasserburger says the local school board is still in the discussion phase.

Wyoming wants to replace its standardized tests with something new, and lawmakers met in Casper Thursday to hear recommendations from a statewide testing task force.

The group presented before the Legislature’s Select Committee on Statewide Education Accountability. The final task force report calls for end-of-year testing in third through 10th grade that takes up no more than one percent of class time. They want a test that can be taken online and is offered in more than one state.

Results for the nationwide assessment known as the Nation’s Report Card were released Wednesday. Wyoming’s scores are consistent with how students here have done in years past.

The National Assessment for Education Progress (NAEP) is a federal program that tests a sample of fourth and eighth graders in reading and math every two years.

Flickr Creative Commons via Jacob Edward

Wyoming does not do a great job teaching students how to manage their money, according to an annual report card released this month by Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy.

Wyoming earned a ‘D’ grade on its efforts to produce high school graduates with financial literacy skills. Wyoming does not require any specific personal finance classes for graduation and the state’s content standards don’t address the area much either.

Aaron Schrank

Most people on the Wind River Reservation have seen Craig Ferris on the sidelines of the basketball court at Wyoming Indian High School. As head coach, he’s led the Chiefs to four state championships. But most days, Ferris can be found driving around and knocking on doors—putting the full-court press on a major problem for reservation schools: attendance. Ferris works for Wyoming Indian Elementary. Wyoming Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank spent a day on the job with him, and has this report.


A State Board of Education task force report is calling for a standardized testing system that better aligns with Wyoming’s content standards. It also recommends that Wyoming adopt a test that is used by more than one state, to allow for more comparison.

Wyoming is looking at replacing its current year-end test, PAWS, with something new. The task force has met 7 times since June to study testing needs.

The group wants a unified testing system for third through 10th grade, rather than PAWS for grade-schoolers and the ACT in 11th grade.

Aaron Schrank

Inside a Casper art gallery, a few dozen teachers are seated in a circle, listening to a presentation chock-full of teambuilding buzzwords.

This is a “design camp” for Natrona County’s new academy-based learning center. These educators get together weekly to plot a reinvention of the high school experience for kids in Casper.


“When we open our school, it’s going to be the first time for a whole new way of learning,” says Bryan Aivazian, a coach at one of four career academies that will be housed in the new center, which opens in one year.


As Wyoming faces declining revenue, lawmakers revising the funding model for the state’s K-12 schools are facing some tough decisions. The model determines how much money each school district will get.

Wyoming’s per-student funding is among the highest in the country. Lawmakers on the Select Committee on School Finance Recalibration Committee say dwindling funds may cause the state to hold the line on education spending.

Ted Dawson via Facebook.

Jackson Hole High School is getting some national attention for excluding something called “America day” from its homecoming festivities this year.

School administrators are defending and clarifying their decision—which drew protest from students and even garnered a reprimand from cable TV’s Fox & Friends.

“America day was never canceled,” says the school's activities director Mike Hansen. “It was never something that had been planned.”

Wyoming Public Media

Tonight at 8:00 pm, Wyoming PBS will broadcast ‘Steps To Success For Wyoming’s Native American Students,’ a co-production with Wyoming Public Media.

For information on where to find Wyoming PBS in your area, click here. You can also be part of the discussion online. Share your questions and comments throughout the broadcast on Twitter, using the hashtag #WindRiverEducation.

Courtesy The Guild Charter School

The Natrona County School Board voted unanimously Monday to deny an application for a new Casper charter school.

The proposed Guild Charter School would focus on classical education and use individualized learning plans for all K-12 students. Co-founder Tiffany Leary says she started the application process last year.



The National Outdoor Leadership School, or NOLS, turns 50 years old this Fall. The organization teaches outdoor safety and wilderness medicine and also has programs for leadership, networking, and general adventure in the outdoors.

NOLS was founded in Wyoming and is still headquartered in Lander, where it serves tens of thousands of students each year. Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard caught up with John Gans, the executive director at NOLS, to hear his take on the school’s 50-year legacy.

Maria Elena via Flickr Creative Commons

A proposed bill from the Wyoming Legislature’s Task Force on Digital Information Privacy would bar school district employees from requiring students to provide them access to social media accounts, smart phones or other personal digital information.

Thursday, the 8-member group put the finishing touches on the policy, which will be sent on to the Legislature’s Joint Education Committee.

Senator Chris Rothfuss says some school districts consider demanding a student’s Facebook login information an acceptable way to investigate bullying or other discipline issues.

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming is looking to find more space for the WWAMI medical program. The program is run by the University of Washington and trains students from Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho to be doctors. 

Joanne Johnson via Flickr Creative Commons

Wyoming is waiting on federal approval for its plan to improve equal access to high-quality teachers across the state.

These plans are required under the No Child Left Behind education law. Last year, the U.S. Department of Education ordered all 50 states to revamp them.

Wyoming submitted its new proposal last month. Wyoming Department of Education Chief of Staff Dicky Shanor says the state’s equity planning committee found two major gaps to address.

U.S. Department of Agriculture via Flickr Creative Commons

Homelessness among Wyoming students grew 40 percent from the 2012-2013 to 2013-2014 school year, according to data released this week by the U.S. Department of Education.

That’s more than four times the average increase seen around the country—and means the number of homeless students in the Cowboy State has doubled since the recession.

Courtesy University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming and the state’s 7 community colleges are celebrating the success of the GEAR UP college access program with events around Wyoming this week—as part of national GEAR UP week.

GEAR UP—or ‘Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs’—is a federal program that provides low-income families with support and resources for college success.

University of Wyoming

This summer, the University of Wyoming’s College of Education welcomed a new dean. Dr. Ray Reutzel was hired amid a major effort by the University’s Board of Trustees to boost the College to national prominence in teacher training. Reutzel himself attended the College decades ago. Wyoming Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank sat down with Reutzel—and began by asking him what impact his experience as a student at UW's College of Ed has on his approach as its dean.