The Wyoming House will consider a bill that would create a committee of educators and parents to determine if the state should continue to use Common Core State standards in K-12 education. The bill would also develop new student assessment options. Several teachers, the school board members, and a business leader spoke on behalf of the common core. Bill Shilling of the Wyoming Business Alliance says that the bill doesn’t help.
“I don’t see in this legislation any advancement in the end product for our students,” says Shilling.
The Wyoming House of Representatives has approved a bill that would require school buses in the state to carry video cameras on the outside.
The cameras would help catch motorists who illegally drive by stopped buses, also known as fly-by's. Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau opposed the bill, saying that using cameras to spy on people would make him uncomfortable. Other opponents complained that it should be a local control issue and not something that the state should mandate.
Wyoming Public Media received a CPB grant to strengthen education reporting in Wyoming as part of the national American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen program. This long term national public media commitment, supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), assists public broadcasting stations in reporting on a wide array of education issues that impact graduation rates in their communities. The grant provides partial support for a full-time education reporter for WPM and encourages WPM to build partnerships with education stakeholders in the state.
A divided Wyoming Supreme Court has ruled that a new law stripping many powers and duties from the state superintendent of public instruction is unconstitutional.
The court's 3-2 ruling Tuesday came in a lawsuit by Republican state schools Superintendent Cindy Hill challenging the law enacted a year ago by the GOP-controlled Legislature and Republican Gov. Matt Mead.
The law took effect in the middle of Hill's four-year term. The superintendent remained one of the five statewide elected officials but no longer oversaw the Wyoming Department of Education.
Wyoming lawmakers will be asked to continue to fine tune Wyoming’s new school accountability law and develop ways for the state to help school districts improve learning.
Districts and schools are now receiving accountability scores and under-performers will work with the state to find ways to improve. State Education Director Rich Crandall says it will allow the state to look at data and work very closely with school districts and help them meet goals.
Teffany Fegler coordinates the University of Wyoming’s Student Educational Opportunity Center in Ethete, WY. The daughter of two educators, she continues her family's legacy by helping students achieve the dream of going to college.
This month Jackson Hole High School will host the annual Teton County Model United Nations conference. Student participants from across Wyoming and Idaho will research and debate pressing global issues, including security and human rights.
Sheridan High School social studies teacher, Andrew Metcalf, says that the model UN not only helps deepen students’ education, but might also open doors for them in the future.
Wyoming’s fourth and eighth grade students outperformed the national average in reading and mathscores in the National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAPE scores.
The test is administered every two years. Wyoming did especially well in 4th grade math where it improved by three points from 2011 and five points from 2009. State Education Director Rich Crandall is pleased.
University of Wyoming College of Law students delivered an open letter Monday to UW President Bob Sternberg demanding more transparency about their dean’s resignation. College of Law Dean Stephen Easton’s resignation is the latest in a series of departures from the University's top ranks. Since July, five deans have been replaced along with several provosts.
After a lengthy discussion, the Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee voted to support a two-percent external cost adjustment for public schools.
The external cost adjustment would address inflation issues within the school funding model, and is used by most districts to pay for salary increases. Lawmakers have been reluctant to support an ECA over the last several years due to budget concerns, and the appropriations committee was told that spending for education in Wyoming remains among the top 10 in the country.
The Wyoming legislature’s management council voted unanimously today/Tuesday to provide 100-thousand dollars to a special committee investigating State Superintendent Cindy Hill.
Hill is accused of mismanaging federal funds, abusing state resources, and creating a hostile work environment. Hill has denied the allegations.
Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau says they need extra help to complete what he says is a complicated investigation. Normally the Legislative Service Office helps lawmakers with this work, but he says the L-S-O is limited by law in what they can do.
Three Wyoming schools have received Blue Ribbon School Awards from the U.S. Department of Education. The awards honor high performing schools as well as schools that demonstrate the most improvement in student achievement. This year’s recipients are Jackson Hole High School, Lovell High School, and Coffeen Elementary School.
David Holbrook, of the Wyoming Department of Education, says it’s a great honor for these schools.
On October 2nd, the University of Wyoming College of Education will be hosting University of Southern California Professor Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang who will be the keynote speaker at the annual Ellbogen Symposium for teaching and learning.
She will discuss how emotions shape learning, motivation and self. Dr. Immordino-Yang is an expert on neuroscience and education. She tells Bob Beck that emotions and our social experiences are a big part of learning.
Many in the state are concerned about the dropout rate in Wyoming’s schools. State Director of Education Rich Crandall says in addressing the problem the goal should be to continue to engage and challenge students.
Crandall says the best way to turn things around is to focus on improving the education experience.
Officials from the Wind River Reservation discussed dropout rates, poverty issues, and the need for early childhood education during a panel that included two cabinet secretaries.
The meeting in Riverton was intended to let Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Education Secretary Arne Duncan hear about issues on the reservation. State Board of Education Member Scotty Ratliff was impressed that the discussion moved away from cultural issues and centered on key issues like poverty and jobs.
The Joint Education Committee wrapped up two days of meetings talking about everything from improving Native American education to better uses of technology in the classroom.
Glenrock Senator Jim Anderson says lawmakers have had some distractions in recent months with the controversy surrounding Superintendent Cindy Hill, but he says they are moving forward with some good ideas.
“If we are not doing it, at least we are starting to lay some framework and some discussion and open people’s minds to the idea of new options and new alternatives.”
Wyoming lawmakers are trying to make alternative virtual schools accountable for the students they serve. Virtual schools are classes students can attend on-line. One snag has been identified in Niobrara County where the local school district saw its graduation rate drop after a virtual school started in the area. Some lawmakers think that the Virtual School may have impacted the local district’s graduation rate. House Education Committee Member Cathy Connolly of Laramie says they need to find a way to make virtual schools stand on their own.
School officials from the Wind River Reservation admit they have problems graduating students and with educating students, but they also say they are slowly making progress. School officials told a meeting of two legislative committees that more early education and more involvement with parents. But they all say that socio-economic factors also play a role. Wyoming Interim Education Director Jim Rose says resolving that issue will be tricky.
Governor Matt Mead’s office interviewed current and former employees of the Wyoming Department of Education about Superintendent Cindy Hill’s administration there. The Legislature removed the superintendent as head of the Education Department in January. Mead’s office released a report compiling positive and negative feedback Tuesday.
A search firm says there is a lot of interest in Wyoming’s opening for a new Director of Education. The position was created by the State Legislature to take over day to day operations of the State Department of Education.
Jessica Friis, a horticulturalist for the Paul Smith Children’s Village at Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, watches two Douglas Middle School students during her “Hydroponic Plant” course at last year’s Women in Science Conference. More than 500 female high school and middle school students are expected to attend this year’s event at UW.
Credit Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium / University of Wyoming
More than 500 girls from across Wyoming will gather at the University of Wyoming Tuesday for the annual Women in Science Conference.
The Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium hosts the event, during which the middle- and high-school students learn about various applications of science, technology, math and engineering. In past years, students have identified animal skulls, developed computer games, and learned about anatomy in UW’s Human Cadaver Lab. Many of the scientists leading the programs are women.