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

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.

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.

Snapchat

The Powell police department said it received a report that some middle school-aged students were discussing shooting up schools on the social media app Snapchat over the weekend.

Law enforcement notified Powell Middle School administrators, and on district superintendent, Jay Curtis sent a press release to parents and teachers. He said, “action has been taken, the threat has been averted.”

Screen shot from March 21-23, 2018 UW Board of Trustees' Report

A new effort at the University of Wyoming is designed to turn academic research into businesses. The creation of the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship got a vote of approval from the UW board of trustees last week.

Screen shot from March 21-23, 2018 UW Board of Trustees' Report

The University of Wyoming board of trustees has increased tuition by 4 percent again this year. In 2014, the board passed a policy to increase tuition every year unless they voted not to. This year the administration and the student government recommended against charging students more.

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.

This Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people are expected at rallies for gun control across the country. And no one is speaking louder than those who inspired the rallies and who feel they have the most at stake: teens.

school board meeting
Kamila Kudelska

The Park County School District #6 School Board's proposed policy to allow school employees to conceal carry is now up for a third and final reading. 

Cortney Borer in Centennial, Wyoming.
Maggie Mullen

This weekend, hundreds of thousands of teens are expected to march on Washington D.C. and around the country, calling for gun control. The Mountain West News Bureau spoke with two students in Montana and Wyoming who do not plan to march, and are worried gun control reform could change their way of life.

Tennessee Watson

Students across Wyoming participated Wednesday in the #NationalSchoolWalkout movement. At Central High in Cheyenne, over 200 students gathered at 10 a.m., occupying the school’s commons for 17 minutes;  one minute for each student who died in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida last month.

Screenshot from the UCSD#1 Board YouTube

Uinta County School District #1 voted late Tuesday evening to put guns in the hands of teachers and staff. The district is the first in Wyoming to act on legislation passed last year to let local school districts decide whether to permit concealed carry in schools.

Wyoming Legislature Senator Eli Bebout
Bob Beck

The Wyoming Legislature still has work to do. Despite working for 20 days the House and Senate will reconvene later this week to hopefully reach a compromise on one bill that funds building projects and another that trims school funding. 

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.

Cody School District Logo
park6.org

As the question of arming school staff enters the national debate, Park County District #6 School Board is pushing forward in seeing whether this is the right policy for its community.

The board will vote this month on a second reading of the CKA Personnel Authorized to Carry policy, which allows school employees to conceal carry. At the first reading, the board chair, Kelly Simone, said it would be premature and unfair to vote against the policy until the board reviewed the results of a community survey.

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.

WyoTecg logo
WyoTech

The future of WyoTech, the automotive school in Laramie, has been in limbo for five months, following the Zenith Education Group’s announcement it would be downsizing. But lawmakers have earmarked $5 million in the budget bill to help WyoTech stay open under new management.

 

Wyoming State Legislature

As the budget session comes to a close, there’s still no conclusion on how to fund education. The House wants to use sales tax from online purchases and other new sources of revenue, while the Senate prefers to dip into reserve funding and reduce spending on education.

 

Wyoming Legislature

The Senate Education Committee stripped out innovative school funding amendments out of a bill after committee members declared the ideas move not germane to the original bill. They also amended the bill so that it resembled a measure that died in a house committee earlier this year.   

Speaker of the House Steve Harshman and House Education Chairman David Northrup were frustrated with the move. They disagreed that the funding proposals didn’t belong in the bill. Northrup says new revenue for education is needed.

Tennessee Watson

A senate bill proposing over $40 million in cuts to education over the next several years died in the House Education Committee Friday.

 

Committee members raised concerns about proposed increases in class sizes, as well as, a change to how the state adjusts funding when districts have declining enrollment. Currently, if districts lose students, their funding decreases based on a three-year rolling average. The proposed legislation wanted decreases to take effect within one year.

 

istockphoto.com

Representatives from the University of Wyoming and the state’s community colleges testified before the Senate Education Committee Friday asking lawmakers to approve a bill that would create a common transcript.

 

Currently, UW and the community colleges use separate systems for awarding course credits. Casper Senator Bill Landen said that means students end up losing credits and having to retake classes. He said his own daughter brought this issue to his attention.

 

A school classroom with desks and a chalkboard
CC0 Creative Commons

When school shootings occur, the country collectively asks: what needs to happen to keep students safe? What does it take to identify students who are struggling and get them support? Wyoming Public Radio’s education reporter Tennessee Watson sat down with University of Wyoming Professor of Counseling's Mary Alice Bruce and graduate student Ken Hilton to talk about how school counselors fit into the conversation about safe schools.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/lupuca/8720604364

If the Wyoming Department of Education has its way, kids across the state will be guaranteed access to computer science education. Bills have passed in both the House and Senate, which would require districts to offer computer science courses.

 

But those bills differ slightly. Dicky Shanor, Chief of Staff for the Wyoming Department of Education, said the Senate’s version of the bill is stronger because it treats computer science has a stand-alone knowledge area, where as the House places it under career and technical education.

DACA Symposium At UW

Feb 22, 2018
Dreamers at UW: A DACA Symposium's Facebook page

On Saturday, the University of Wyoming will host a symposium on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. The event comes as the date March 5th looms over the immigration debate—that’s the deadline President Donald Trump gave Congress to find a solution for the almost 700,000 undocumented immigrants covered by the program.  

 

 

Tennessee Watson

Legislation to further cut education funding is making its way through the Wyoming legislature. Wednesday a bill sponsored by Senator Ray Peterson proposing approximately $140 million in cuts was discussed in committee.

 

Those reductions would be achieved through increased state control over district expenditures. Currently school districts have block grants, which they spend how they see fit. State accountability measures are in place to guarantee that spending benefits the educational needs of kids.

 

 

graphic elements from erinslaw.org with modifications by Tennessee Watson

Survivors of child sexual abuse and advocates testified before the Senate Education Committee Wednesday. They urged lawmakers to support the implementation of Erin’s Law in Wyoming. The legislation first passed in Illinois following the advocacy of survivor Erin Merryn, and has now passed in a total of 31 states.

 

school board meeting
Kamila Kudelska

Park County District #6 school board in Cody approved a policy allowing employees to carry firearms to the second reading. By a 5-2 vote, trustees are moving closer to implementation.

During a meeting Tuesday night, over 20 members of the community spoke to the board. The majority were against the policy expressing that guns should stay in the hands of law enforcement.

CC0 Creative Commons

An effort to better coordinate early childhood education is underway in the Wyoming legislature. It’s part of policymakers’ efforts to streamline funding for education.

 

What’s the best way to keep schools safe from violence?

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code.org

Wyoming is poised to be the first state in the country to require its schools to offer computer science education. Friday, the State Senate passed a bill to add computer science to the basket of goods as a common core knowledge area.

 

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