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.

J. Stephen Conn via Flickr Creative Commons

Last week, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead mobilized state agencies to respond to layoffs of nearly 500 coal workers in the Powder River Basin.

Two community college campuses served as sites to connect dislocated miners with services, Gillette College and the Eastern Wyoming Community College Campus in Douglas.

But Wyoming Community College Commission executive director Jim Rose says the state’s 7 community colleges will continue to be a long-term resource for displaced workers amid the downturn.

The energy industry downturn is sure to have ripple effects throughout many Wyoming communities. Campbell County School District was bracing for large enrollment declines even before this week’s layoffs of nearly 500 area coal workers.

The district’s business manager, Don Dihle, predicts a three percent drop in students next school year.

Pasco County Schools via Flickr Creative Commons

Wyoming’s four-year high school graduation rate saw a slight increase last year, according to data released Monday by the Wyoming Department of Education.

In the 2014-2015 school year, 79.4 percent of Wyoming high schoolers graduated on time. That’s up from 78.6 percent the previous year, but the state still trails the most recent record-high national average of 82 percent.

The State Board of Education voted Friday to put a set of proposed science standards out for public comment.

The standards were developed by a committee of teachers, parents and others over the past year. They are based on the controversial Next Generation Science Standards, whose treatment of climate change raised the ire of lawmakers.

State Board Chairman Pete Gosar says the committee tweaked the standards to be less explicit about human-caused climate change.

Micah Baldwin, Flickr Creative Commons


Last year, when Tongue River High School students Taylor Holiday and Kylee Knobloch were asked to come up with a project for their leadership club, they decided to tackle a real-world problem.

“There was a few kids in our school that seemed to be struggling with drugs a little bit,” says Holiday. “So we thought, ‘what if we could make the change in this school that helped kids get away from issues like that?’”

Miles Bryan

Sandra Cuadrado spends most of her time studying dentistry at a university in Peru. But right now it is the 21-year-olds’ summer vacation, and Cuadrado has spent these last few months living and working the winter season  in Jackson on a J-1 Exchange Visitor student visa.  

“The idea of traveling here in the United States was to know more about this culture,” Cuadrado said. “And improve [my] English.”

Tom Kelly via Flickr Creative Commons

UPDATE: Carbon County School District One Board of Trustees voted unanimously Thursday to close Sinclair Elementary.

The Carbon County District One school board will decide Thursday whether or not to close Sinclair Elementary School. 

Superintendent Fletcher Turcato recommended closing the school, which would save the district about $100,000 a year, due to legislative cuts to school funding.

Turcato says it’s not an easy recommendation to make, but it’s necessary after lawmakers cut funding by 1.2 percent over the next two years.

Jeremy Wilburn via Flickr Creative Commons

A state committee made up of parents, teachers and community members has proposed a new set of science standards for Wyoming.


The University of Wyoming received funding for some major initiatives in the recently approved state budget, but administrators say cuts to UW’s block grant will put a strain on existing programs.

Lawmakers cut that funding by about $5.8 million for 2017 and 2018, and did not approve funding for UW employee pay raises.

Wyoming Public Media

On Wednesday, March 9, Aaron Schrank hosted a live Twitter chat with Wyoming Education Association President Kathy Vetter. He posed questions about the 2016’s legislative session’s impact on education in the state—including school funding cuts and education-related bills that passed and failed this year.

WEA has been monitoring the session closely. How will the Legislature’s 2016 decisions impact Wyoming’s K-12 education in the years ahead?

The hashtag #WPREdTalk and #wyoedchat allowed for anyone to tweet questions.

Aaron Schrank

Six of the state’s seven family literacy centers expect to close their doors, after lawmakers voted to eliminate the statewide program’s $3.3-million budget.

Jim Rose is executive director of the Wyoming Community College Commission, which oversees the statewide family literacy program.

Rose says the centers pair early childhood learning with adult education, essentially helping multiple generations build literacy skills together.

Campbell County School District

The 2016 Legislative budget session wraps up this week. One of the big things lawmakers have been discussing over the past month is funding for Wyoming’s K-12 schools. The House and Senate have agreed to a budget that will cut about $36 million dollars from education in the next two school years.

A bill intended to keep school officials from requiring students to turn over their Facebook, Twitter, or phone passwords has passed the House of Representatives. The controversial bill has received mixed reviews from school officials and lawmakers who say it could put schools in danger. 

Bob Beck / Natrona County High School

A bill that would set up a student safety call center which people could use anonymously to give information about threats to school and student safety has passed the Wyoming House of Representatives.

Supporters say call centers in other states have been very successful, but some lawmakers are not convinced. Torrington Republican Cheri Steinmetz said there are plenty of hotlines and tip lines already in existence. 

But Pinedale Republican Albert Sommers said he believes this effort is necessary.


On Wednesday, March 9, from 5:00pm to 5:45pm, Aaron Schrank will be hosting a live Twitter chat with Wyoming Education Association President Kathy Vetter. He'll be posing questions about the 2016’s legislative session’s impact on education in the state—including school funding cuts and education-related bills that passed and failed this year.

WEA has been monitoring the session closely. How will the Legislature’s 2016 decisions impact Wyoming’s K-12 education in the years ahead?

Photo Courtesy Wyoming Catholic College via Facebook

Wyoming Catholic College in Lander is steadily growing, and administrators say it’s been difficult to find housing for new students. 

Wyoming Catholic College President Kevin Roberts says enrollment is currently at 150 students. That’s up from 110 a few years back.

"What we’ve seen in the last 3 years is record enrollment growth," says Roberts. "Each freshman class has been larger than the previous one."

Wyoming State Science Fair

This weekend, students in grades 6-12 will compete in the Wyoming State Science Fair. The Science Fair is a competition where students conduct original scientific research - and collect and analyze data. The students present their findings on a poster and are interviewed by judges in their respective fields. The earlier rounds include individual school competitions, followed by regionals. About 900 students enter in the earlier rounds, but only a third advance to the final round, the State Science Fair.

Courtesy Sherman Indian High School

This is part two of a series. Listen to part one here.

At the start of his senior year at Wyoming Indian High School, Tim O’Neal was struggling.

“I was just drinking, partying, trying to be cool,” says O’Neal. “It messed with my schoolwork. My whole class schedule—all seven classes—I was failing and there was no way I could make up the grades, so I just asked my parents if I would be able to go to a boarding school.”

Melodie Edwards

It’s standing room only in a large conference room in Riverton, Wyoming. Up front, people mill around a display of old photographs of Arapaho children sent to Carlisle Boarding School in the late 1880’s. One is a before-and-after photo of a boy in braids wearing feathers and jewelry; a second, same boy, now in a starched suit and short Ivy League haircut.

Miles Bryan

In a classroom at a Riverton activity center kids are sitting in a “connection circle.” They toss a ball around, and whoever has it has got to say what makes them happiest.

“I’m happiest when I am around my family,” one girl says before bouncing the ball to a boy. “I’m happiest when I’m riding my dirt bike,” he replies.

The idea is that if two kids are happy when they are doing the same thing, they make a connection. It wouldn’t feel out of place at an  alternative high school–it’s actually an alternative to juvenile detention.

Courtesy Wyoming Community College Commission

The Wyoming Community College Commission is considering changes to tuition policy for the state’s seven community colleges.

The discussion comes as lawmakers propose cuts to state funding for community colleges. The Commission decided last week to undergo a two-stage examination of tuition. Executive director Jim Rose says the first stage will be reacting to lawmakers’ likely budget cuts. 

Wyoming Education Association

The Wyoming House of Representatives added an eleventh hour amendment to the state budget that could be a big topic of discussion when the budget conference committee meets this week. 

The Senate voted down three amendments to restore some of the nearly 46 million dollars in budget cuts to education, but the House adjusted how the budget reductions will be handled. The plan was originally to take the money out of what school districts use to pay for rising classroom costs and teacher salaries, but the House restored those cuts and instead reduced funding for Transportation.  

Christopher Sessums via Flickr Creative Commons

As lawmakers debate Wyoming’s budget this week, a group of school superintendents is urging them to keep school funding intact.

The Joint Appropriations Committee cut school funding by $45 million over the next two years. The superintendents say lawmakers have not accounted for decreases within the school funding model.

“The amendment by the JAC would really exacerbate the problem caused by shrinking enrollment in the communities across our state and cut school funding much more severely than intended,” says Don Dihle, business manager at Campbell County School District.

Alvin Trusty via Flickr Creative Commons

A national survey of middle and high school science teachers has found that educators’ confusion about climate change leads to misinformation in the classroom.

The National Center for Science Education and Penn State University surveyed 1,500 teachers across the country on their views about climate change—and how they present the topic to students. The average teacher spent one or two hours per year on the topic.

USDA via Flickr Creative Commons

The Wyoming Department of Education is looking for local sponsors for a federal program that provides free meals to low-income students over the summer.

When school’s out, kids can get meals at 83 different sites across the state. The program is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the sites are run by school districts or community groups like YMCAs.

WDE nutrition programs consultant Amanda Anderson says those sites alone can’t serve all of the state’s students who get free and reduced school lunches during the year.


Around 12,000 years ago, hunter gatherers began to settle in one place and farm the land. It’s widely thought to be the first time the human population began to grow at a faster rate. However, a recent study published in the scientific journal PNAS and funded by the National Science Foundation is challenging that idea.

Laramie artist Tara Pappas is well known for colorful, whimsical art that looks like it’s lifted from the pages of a story book or fairy tale. The public has an opportunity to learn her style and techniques at a painting workshop in Laramie on February 19. Pappas is also an elementary school art teacher, and as she tells Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer, it was her students who inspired her to get back to work as a studio artist.

Wyoming State Historical Society

This spring, the Wyoming State Historical Society plans to launch a new online database of oral histories from around the state. 

The database will be a catalog of Wyoming’s oral histories, categorized by criteria such as historical events, as well as where to find the recordings. 

Project Director Barbara Bogart spent over a year tracking down the stories from the state’s museums, private collections and libraries.

As the nation celebrates “School Choice Week” this week, a Wyoming nonprofit is pushing a proposal to expand school choice in the state.

EdPref Wyoming has proposed an educational savings account and tax credit program that would give parents money for private school tuition or home school resources.

Yathin S Krishnappa,

The Lander school district is serving up local beef to students from animals the students raised. 

Fremont County School District Food Director Denise Kinney grew up on a dairy farm and was a member of Future Farmers of America as a kid. With recent government interest in getting more locally-sourced foods into schools, she started thinking about what type of food that could be in Wyoming. This year, she partnered with the Lander FFA program.