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.
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.
Credit Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium / University of Wyoming
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.
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.
This weekend a new set of graduates are leaving the University of Wyoming. For some, they are facing an unknown job situation, but others are ready to jump into their careers. The graduates also talked about Wyoming’s efforts to keep them in-state. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck sat down with three graduates from U-W’s College of business and found that two are leaving and one thinks he’ll hang around a bit longer.
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.”
Teton county residents are the healthiest in Wyoming. That’s according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute’s County Health Rankings. The least-healthy county was Fremont.
Wyoming is getting more money from the federal government to improve its lowest-achieving schools.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced today that Wyoming will get $1.1 million in 2013. It's the third year the state has gotten a grant from the department's School Improvement Grant Program.
March 1st a series of automatic cuts to federal spending—called the sequester—went into effect. Education is one of the areas Wyoming will feel the cuts most acutely. A White House report says the state will lose millions of dollars in school funding.
Jim Rose, interim director of the Wyoming Department of Education, says a 5% cut to the federal education budget would mean special needs students would get less funding.
The Wyoming Senate has given final approval to a bill that would focus accountability in education on individual schools in the state. The statewide education accountability phase one bill would establish benchmarks for schools. If schools don’t meet those benchmarks, they will have to develop a school improvement plan. Senator Chris Rothfuss says that lawmakers hope to measure student performance in coming months.
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a pair of gun rights bills with some key changes.
The Committee reworked a bill that had been intended to threaten federal law enforcement officials with arrest if they tried to enforce federal gun bans in Wyoming. The committee amended the bill to say that federal officials could carry out their duties, but that local law enforcement could not assist. Still, the Wyoming Attorney General was given authority to protect citizen gun rights.