Education

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.

Willow Belden

  

A Wyoming legislative committee has been looking to trim education spending out of what is called the school funding model. A Denver-based consulting firm is in the process of reviewing the model to determine how much actually needs to be spent on education in the state.

Meghan Chapman Twitter: @mrs_chapman3

Teachers and educators globally are beginning to incorporate technology more in their classrooms. Microsoft’s Skype in the Classroom breaks the walls of classrooms, allowing students to take virtual field trips to museums, zoos, and other institutions. One of the facilities is the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody. The museum has situated itself to be one of the program’s most prolific partners.

Tennessee Watson

Lawmakers met in Casper this week to examine the current school funding model and to hear recommendations from APA, a Denver-based education consulting firm hired to help the state find efficiencies in education funding.

Wyoming Education Association

Teachers often spend their own money on classroom supplies. Currently, they can be repaid up to $250 of that through a federal tax deduction. But, that’s now up for debate in Congress. The Senate GOP tax plan would double the deduction to $500, but the House plan cuts it all together.

 

Kathy Vetter, president of the Wyoming Education Association, said the deduction is an important vote of support for teachers.

 

"New Hampshire open carry 2009" by Lucio Eastman is licensed under CC BY 2.0

During the Wyoming Legislature’s most recent session, lawmakers passed a bill to give school boards the option to allow guns in K-12 schools under certain circumstances, and the school board in Lander is beginning to consider what to do with the new option. 

 

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.

Kamila Kudelska

The Park County School District Six school board in Cody is considering allowing employees to carry concealed firearms in schools.

This comes after the Wyoming State Legislature passed a law this year allowing school districts to choose whether their employees can carry guns. The reasoning for the law was that it would better protect rural schools that are far away from law enforcement.

Vicky Morales

The National Scholastic Press Association has awarded a Wyoming high school student second place for Broadcast News Story of the Year.

Vicky Morales, a junior at Cody High School, won the award for a news story she produced last year on organ donation month.

Wikipedia

Students at the University of Wyoming will pay higher fees for academic programs after the Board of Trustees approved the increase. The fees will go towards program supplies and materials, enhanced advising and career preparation, and are meant to offset university-wide funding reductions. 

Starting fall of 2018, students will pay a fee per credit hour for each class they take, and the cost will depend on the course. Fees range from $3 to $25 per credit hour, and students in labs or visual and performing arts classes can expect to pay higher amounts.

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.

University of Wyoming

It’s been a rough couple of years for the University of Wyoming where budget cutting, layoffs, and reorganization have been themes. Lately, the focus has been on less stressful ventures like enhancing STEM teaching, diversity, and a variety of initiatives.

One issue for University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols is to try to address that lack of faculty and staff pay raises. She tells Bob Beck that those raises should be here by July.

UW College of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Women engineers face a lot of challenges, some of which begin as early as their college education, where they are highly outnumbered by their male peers in the classroom.

To address this disparity, the University of Wyoming has launched a new mentoring program, that pairs female engineering undergraduates with female alumni working in the field. Wyoming Public Radio’s Maggie Mullen spoke with Teddi Freedman, a Senior Coordinator for UW’s College of Engineering that is heading up the new program.

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.

Wyoming Department of Education

When lawmakers created the Hathaway Scholarship in 2005, it was meant to encourage all Wyoming high school students to go to college by making it easier to afford.

However, there is one group of Wyoming students that will never qualify for the Hathaway Scholarship: those without U.S. citizenship.

Isabel Perez entered the Wyoming public school system when she was ten years old, shortly after her family left Mexico City for Green River. Perez came to the U.S. without documentation, but said she grew up to be a regular American teenager.

University of Wyoming Geological Museum

The University of Wyoming Geological Museum and Coe Library are teaming up to digitize more than 5,000 specimens from the museum’s rare fossil mammal collection. The project was made possible by a $100,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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.

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