teachers

Wyoming Public Media

While budget reductions have many concerned about the University of Wyoming’s decline, the school’s elementary education program was recently ranked number six in the nation by College Choice.

 

The independent online publication placed UW on its list of the "35 Best Elementary Education Degrees for 2017." Scott Chamberlin, head of the UW Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education, said the study in part looked at the reputation of the school and affordability.

University of Wyoming

K-12 education in Wyoming is facing immediate cuts on the state level and President Trump’s federal budget proposes cuts to education too. There’s even talk in Washington of dismantling the U.S. Department of Education. This got me wondering how University of Wyoming education students were feeling about their future in teaching. 

The question prompted a nice spring stroll across the University of Wyoming’s campus. Our studios are just across Prexy’s Pasture from the College of Education.

Teton County School District Superintendent Pam Shea will retire at the end of this month, after working in the district for more than 30 years.

Under her 9-year tenure as the district’s top administrator, student test scores and teacher salaries rose, and the district launched successful efforts like its dual immersion Spanish program.  

Wyoming received a D-minus for its new teacher preparation in a new report by the National Council on Teacher Quality. The state ranked 49th in the nation for its education of teachers to make sure students are prepared for higher education.

Sandi Jacobs is the Council’s Vice President and Director for State Policy and says Wyoming is making some progress, but still lags behind much of the nation.

Willow Belden

Wyoming's number of Nationally Board Certified Teachers went up 16 percent over the past school year. That was the most growth seen by any state, according to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

The group announced its newest class of teachers this week. National Board certification is a voluntary and rigorous assessment program to develop and recognize accomplished teachers. 

Rebecca Huntington

Dollie Iberlin gives new meaning to the phrase “student teacher” as she recalls her first teaching job, educating two students just a few years younger than herself on a Johnson County ranch. While teaching at the ranch, Iberlin also weathered one of the most famous and daunting blizzards in Wyoming history. Iberlin shares stories about that fun and fateful year with her daughter, Margo Brown.

Aaron Schrank

It’s before 8 o’ clock in the morning, and there’s a surprising amount of noise coming from a basement classroom in UW’s library.

Inside is a group of about 25 sitting in a circle, playing instruments or humming along. For most of the year, these people are music educators teaching in schools all over Wyoming. But in the summer, they’re students themselves—in a UW summer master’s program. Today, they’re learning a melody by ear.

The Wyoming Department of Education is putting together a board of teachers to offer advice on several education issues. They’re looking for feedback on teacher training options, classroom needs and potential policy changes.

Chief Strategy Officer for the Department of Education, Leighton Thomas says teachers have valuable firsthand knowledge of the conditions, strengths and needs of the state’s schools.

Micah Schweizer

Eric Quade remembers one of his teachers at Torrington High School. Since then, Eric has received a PhD in mathematics, which he now teaches at Laramie County Community College in Laramie.

May 7th is Teacher Appreciation Day.

Kathy Vetter, President of the Wyoming Education Association, taught elementary through high school students in Wheatland during her 30 years in the classroom. She says that teachers’ responsibilities have changed as students’ own roles have changed. “When I started teaching,” says Vetter, “going to school was the student’s job. Now, that’s only one of many jobs students have, that they have to divide their time amongst—and so there’s more pressure on the teachers and the students.”

During discussion on the state budget, legislators held a lengthy debate on whether teachers should be eligible for a one-time bonus intended for all state employees.  The bonus is one percent of an employee’s salary. 

In the Senate, discussion centered around the fact that some teachers could get raises through school district base salary increases, while other state employees have not received raises for up to four years.   Senator Chris Rothfuss pointed out that lawmakers have also denied teachers state pay raises in the last few years. He says that could backfire.