Education

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

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.

Design: Tennessee Watson

Some colleges and universities do a better job than others at helping graduates advance financially so they can earn more than their parents. That’s according to the Equality of Opportunity Project, which studied anonymous tax data from 1999 to 2013, to create Mobility Report Cards. The project ranks colleges based on their impact on intergenerational mobility -- a term for when kids earn more than their parents.

Pexels

To save the state money, new rules were passed to increase the capacity of classrooms to 25 students for all grades. Statute previously recommended that kindergarten through 3rd-grade classroom capacity be capped at 16, and 4th through 12th grade at 21. Those numbers help determine when the state needs to fund the construction of new schools to accommodate growth.

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. 

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. 

Wyoming Education Association

Many teacher’s unions across the country are reeling from the Supreme Court’s ruling on Janus v. AFSCME; the case deciding whether non-union members have to pay fees to unions to cover contract negotiations.

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.

Each year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asks high schoolers about their risky behavior - anything from drug use to bringing weapons to school. For at least one behavior our region’s youth has a high score.

 


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.

USDA

Summer break means no tests and no homework, but for low-income kids, that can mean one less meal a day. Over 20 million kids in the U.S. are eligible for free or reduced-priced meals during the regular school year. 

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.

UW Board of Trustees June 13, 2018 Report

The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees approved close to a $500 million budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. That budget includes a $5.5 million allocation for salary adjustments. Eligible staff will see a pay bump in their August paycheck. 

Wyoming State Board of Education

Summer break is in full swing, and across Wyoming, high school graduates are rejoicing their accomplishments and preparing for what's next. But who determines what it takes to get that diploma? Wyoming Public Radio's education reporter Tennessee Watson reached out to the Wyoming State Board of Education, who selected vice chair Sue Belish to talk about how statewide standards get created. 

This month, Colorado became the first state in the nation to allow school nurses to administer medical marijuana to students. But not all nurses may be on board.

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.

Northern Wyoming Community College District

Northern Wyoming Community College District has announced its campus in Gillette will now be under new leadership. Janell Oberlander has been selected as the new vice president and CEO for Gillette College, replacing Mark Englert.

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.

Tennessee Watson / Wyoming Public Radio

The University of Wyoming Faculty Senate, the administration and the Board of Trustees have reached an agreement on changes to regulations regarding how the university will respond to financial challenges in the future.

WyoTech

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead has agreed to provide a $5 million loan to a private group to keep Laramie’s WyoTech open. The previous owners had planned to close the automotive college. During the 2018 budget session the state legislature supported efforts to keep the school open.

Investigators with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights are conducting interviews this week at the University of Wyoming. They’re following up on complaint filed in 2017 by a student who said her report of sexual assault to UW was not handled properly.

 

Tennessee Watson

Starting next fall, students at the University of Wyoming should find it easier to sequence classes without conflict and complete their degrees.

Tennessee Watson

When the University of Wyoming trustees met last week, the campus was abuzz with concern about proposed changes to the authority of the board. What the administration is calling a routine update to university regulations was seen by some as a power grab that would give trustees the ability to more easily eliminate academic programs and ax faculty.

WICHE

Efforts to increase the number of people in the state with advanced degrees has earned Wyoming support from the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE).

Economic Policy Institute

In honor of Mother’s Day, and with Father’s Day right around the corner, children, young and old, will pause to thank their parents for the sacrifices they’ve made. Across the country, child care is one of the biggest expenses families face. It can cost more to put an infant in daycare than it costs to send an 18-year-old to college. Wyoming Public Radio’s Tennessee Watson spoke with Linda Barton from the Wyoming Afterschool Alliance about access to child care in the state.

Tennessee Watson / Wyoming Public Radio

Uinta County School District #1 passed a policy in March that allows staff to carry guns in schools as a safety measure. But at this week’s meeting, the board was presented with a petition calling for a halt to implementation of the policy, which is currently set to take effect in July.

Despite warnings from President Laurie Nichols and her staff last June the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees voted to transfer close to $140 million in cash into reserve accounts. The cash was pulled from individual campus units like colleges and departments.

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 Community Colleges/ENDOW/University of Wyoming

Less than half of adults in Wyoming have completed education beyond high school, but Governor Matt Mead says for the sake of Wyoming’s economy that must change. In fact, his first executive order of 2018 called for 67 percent of Wyomingites to have advanced degrees by 2025. To address achievement gaps and to encourage underserved populations like first-generation college students and adult learners to pursue higher education, the governor's economic diversification committee ENDOW recommends the creation of a need-based state financial aid program

Tennessee Watson / Wyoming Public Radio

On the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High school shooting, students at Laramie High School joined young people across the country who walked out to make their voices heard on gun reform.  

Katie Kvenild was the first student in her 9th grade biology to stand up and head towards the door for the 10 am walk out. She said despite her strong commitment to her beliefs, she was still nervous.

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