Category Archives: News Releases

News releases from the Wyoming Department of Education

Public Input Requested on the Proposed Computer Science Standards

CHEYENNE – The State Board of Education (SBE) requests public input on the Proposed 2019 Wyoming Computer Science Content and Performance Standards. The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) will collect public input through an online survey until 11:59 p.m. on March 5, 2019 and also at regional meetings.

Public input meetings will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. at the following locations:

  • February 25, Green River – SCSD #2 Central Admin. Office, 351 Monroe Avenue.
  • February 25, Buffalo – JCSD #1 Buffalo High School, 29891 Old Hwy 87.
  • February 26, Meeteetse – PCSD #16 School Building, 2107 Idaho Street.
  • February 26, Douglas – CCSD #1, Admin. Building, 615 Hamilton Street.
  • February 28, Cheyenne – LCSD #1, Storey Gym, 2811 House Avenue.

A summary of the public input gathered during these meetings will be presented to the SBE at its March meeting. If the SBE moves to adopt the draft standards, an additional public comment period will follow before the new standards are adopted.

Once adopted, school districts will have until the 2022-23 school year to implement the new standards into their curriculum, instruction and assessment system.

“We rely on Wyoming citizens to make the most important policy decisions – computer science is no exception. The standards committee was comprised of 40 members including 16 teachers. I have full faith and confidence in their work,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “We value additional input from the public to ensure we do our very best to prepare kids for tomorrow’s world.”

– END –

Media Contact:
Michelle Panos, Communications Director
michelle.panos1@wyo.gov
307-777-2053

Support Needed for Summer Food Service Program

CHEYENNE – In an effort to head off hunger and poor nutrition across the state, the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) seeks sponsors for the Summer Food Service Program. This is a federally funded program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that provides nutritious meals and snacks to children in low-income areas during the summer months.

While sponsors are needed across the state, Powell and Sheridan are in need of additional sponsors.

Sponsors may include public and private nonprofit schools; local and municipal sites; houses of worship; county, tribal and state government entities; private nonprofit organizations; public and private nonprofit camps; and public and private nonprofit universities or colleges.

Summer food program sites must either be in the attendance area of a school where 50 percent or more of students are eligible for free and reduced-price meals, or within the boundaries of a U.S. Census block where at least 50 percent of children are eligible for free and reduced-price meals at school. Once those criteria are met, the site is open to all area children under age 18. The WDE may assist sponsors in obtaining information about possible sites.

Last year, Wyoming summer food service program sites provided 296,071 meals and snacks, which is nearly 60,000 additional meals over the previous summer. Sponsors are reimbursed a set amount for each meal served. More information is available on the WDE website.

The USDA is an equal opportunity provider.

– END –

Media Contact:
Michelle Panos, Communications Director
michelle.panos1@wyo.gov
307-777-2053

21st Century Learning Centers Seek External Organizations

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) is developing a list of prescreened nonprofit organizations that provide expanded learning programs, curriculum, and activities to youth.

Eligible organizations interested in supporting the work of after school and summer learning, are invited to submit a profile survey by February 8, 2019.

Under Title IV, Part B of the Every Student Succeeds Act, these programs must have a record of success in running or working with before and after school or summer recess programs, or be in partnership with such a program to be listed. To meet the requirements for a record of success, organizations must demonstrate that they:

  • Operate as a nonprofit in good standing in Wyoming.
  • Have a minimum five years of experience operating and/or implementing expanded learning programs outside the regular school day for school-age children and youth in Wyoming.
  • Provide a statement of success that describes the organization’s quantitative or qualitative measures of success in local programs for at least the past two years.

“Every student should have access to enrichment opportunities during non-school hours and 21st CCLC is one way to help achieve that,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “These programs inspire, spark interest, and help students be successful in school.”

-END-

Media Contact:
Michelle Panos, Communications Director
michelle.panos1@wyo.gov
307-777-2053

New State Report Card Offers Information on Wyoming Schools

CHEYENNE – A new tool for parents, educators, and others to access information about Wyoming schools and districts is now available at wyomingmeasuresup.com. The Wyoming Department of Education created the user-friendly website to house its State Report Card, a requirement of the federally mandated Every Student Succeeds Act.

“Transparency and public engagement are two of the main tenets of the Every Student Succeeds Act,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “Our state report card gives everyone the ability to easily find information on their school and see how it compares to other schools in their district and across the state.”

Visitors to the new report card can view information from the 2017-18 school year at the state, district, and school level. Sections include school performance, assessments, enrollment, graduation, teachers, and more.

The State Report Card is an ongoing, annual requirement of the Every Student Succeeds Act, and will be updated and improved every year.

– END –

Media Contact:
Kari Eakins, Communications Director
kari.eakins@wyo.gov
307-777-2053

Wyoming K-12 Enrollment Adds 53 Students

CHEYENNE – Fall K-12 enrollment data for Wyoming public schools for the 2018-19 school year is available online. Fall enrollment rose from 92,976 in 2017-18 to 93,029 students this year.

“As our state is focused on economic diversity, it’s encouraging to see a slight increase in school enrollment,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “Wyoming has a quality education system and it is a factor families certainly consider when moving to or staying in Wyoming.”

Sheridan County School District #1 gained the most students with 88, followed by Laramie County School District #1 with 81, and Natrona County School District #1 with 64. The biggest drop in enrollment occurred in Sweetwater County School District #1 with 101 fewer students.

The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) has prepared the following reports that break down the enrollment statistics:

This data was gathered from all school districts throughout the state in a snapshot performed on October 1, 2018.

– END –

Media Contact:
Kari Eakins, Communications Director
kari.eakins@wyo.gov
307-777-2053

Wyoming Delegates Chosen for U.S. Senate Youth Program for 2019

CHEYENNE – Easton Countryman, a junior at Kemmerer Junior/Senior High School, and Toby Arment, a senior at Rawlins High School, will serve as Wyoming’s 2019 delegates for the U.S. Senate Youth Program (USSYP). Delegates receive an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. for an comprehensive educational experience, as well as a $10,000 scholarship from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

“The application process for this program is rigorous, and Easton and Toby excelled in every category,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “Besides being excellent students, they are excellent citizens, and both have given back to their communities in so many ways. I am pleased that Easton and Toby will represent Wyoming as they meet with our nation’s leaders and get a real, hands-on experience in leadership through service.”

Countryman has been on the Kemmerer Junior/Senior High School gold honor roll each semester and has been recognized by the Kemmerer Lions Club for outstanding academic achievement in several areas. He is the president of his class, and participates in in speech and debate, 4-H, and golf. His community outreach includes volunteering for blood drives, highway cleanups, and park renovations. Countryman also helped start a youth organization called Interact, which he currently serves as vice president.

Arment serves as student body treasurer and also participates in the Rawlins chapter of the National Honor Society, band, and speech and debate; Arment captained the Rawlins High School speech and debate team his junior and senior year, and is the recipient of the Speech and Debate Academic All American Award: a recognition that goes to fewer than one half of 1 percent of all student speech and debate members each year. Arment has a keen interest in politics, and has volunteered to moderate political forums for city, county, and state races. He also has served the Carbon County Clerk as a poll judge.

The USSYP was established by the US Senate in 1962, and provides an educational experience for students interested in public service careers.Delegates will hear major policy addresses by senators, cabinet members, officials of the Departments of State and Defense and other federal agencies, and will participate in a meeting with a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and President Donald Trump. Each session includes an in-depth question and answer period. The 57th Annual USSYP Washington Week will be held March 2-9, 2019.

The USSYP provides students with an in-depth view of the Senate and the federal government, as well as a deeper understanding of the relationships between the Legislative, Judicial, and Executive Branches. Two students are chosen from each state, along with two from the District of Columbia, and two from the Department of Defense Dependents Schools network.

– END –

Media Contact:
Kari Eakins, Communications Director
kari.eakins@wyo.gov
307-777-2053

Superintendent Balow Chosen President-Elect of CCSSO

CHEYENNE – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow was unanimously chosen as president-elect of the Council of Chief State School Officers’ Board of Directors on Wednesday.

“It’s an honor to represent Wyoming at the national level,” said Superintendent Balow. “My hope is to be a strong voice for rural education and prioritize issues that impact our state, such as school safety and security, access to educational opportunity, and making sure all relevant decisions happen at the local level to better serve our students as they prepare for their future.”

Superintendent Balow has served on the Board of Directors since 2016. She will have one year to select a national platform before assuming the presidency in 2019. As President, she will frequently be asked to speak with federal policy makers about education issues.

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, the Bureau of Indian Education, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO’s Board of Directors manages the overall business affairs of the Council and is the governing body of the organization. The board is composed of the president, the president-elect, the past president, and six directors elected by CCSSO membership.

– END –

Media Contact:
Kari Eakins, Communications Director
kari.eakins@wyo.gov
307-777-2053

Revisions to ESSA State Plan Open for Public Comment

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) seeks public comment on proposed changes to its Consolidated State Plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Public comment is being accepted for 30 days, and at a series of public meetings.

Wyoming’s ESSA State Plan was approved by the U.S. Department of Education on January 16, 2018 on the condition that the plan be amended to include data regarding new criteria for teacher effectiveness by January 15, 2019. Additionally, a new statewide assessment, WY-TOPP, was implemented in the 2017-18 school year, making it necessary to resubmit long-term goals for achievement with the new assessment data. All proposed changes can be reviewed here.

“The resubmission of our ESSA State Plan gives us a chance to make sure we are using the best possible information to evaluate our schools,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “Thankfully, ESSA give us the flexibility to set our own goals as a state and to make sure they are both ambitious and attainable.”

The public meeting schedule:

  • 4:30 p.m. on November 13, Room 116 of the Intertribal Education and Community Center at Central Wyoming College in Riverton.
  • 6:30 p.m. on November 19, online, register here.
  • 6:30 p.m. on November 29, Laramie County School District #1 boardroom in Cheyenne.

Public comment can be submitted through December 7, 2018. Comments can be submitted online or by mail to:

Wyoming Department of Education
Attn: Kari Eakins
122 W. 25th St, Suite E200
Cheyenne, WY 82002

ESSA reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the principal federal law affecting K-12 education, and replaced No Child Left Behind. More information is available on the WDE’s website.

– END –

Media Contact:
Kari Eakins, Communications Director
kari.eakins@wyo.gov
307-777-2053

New State and Federal Accountability Results Available

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) has released school accountability results for the 2017-18 school year. Full results are available online.

“We set a high bar for schools with our accountability system, and my hope is that this information is a catalyst for discussions at the local level on how our schools can continue to do their best for all students,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “This year marks significant changes to accountability in Wyoming. Results include information from a new assessment system, incorporate changes to how we measure whether a student is ready for life after high, and focus on specific students groups, including students learning the English language. Today we step away from looking just at test scores to determine how well our schools are performing.”

The accountability results reflect the requirements of both state and federal law. Under state law, all Wyoming elementary, middle, and traditional high schools receive one of four School Performance Ratings: Exceeding Expectations, Meeting Expectations, Partially Meeting Expectations, or Not Meeting Expectations. The School Performance Ratings show that 55.2 percent of Wyoming schools are Meeting or Exceeding Expectations.

2017-18 School Performance Ratings by Percent: 37 of All Schools were Exceeding Expectations, 137 were Meeting Expectations, 66 were Partially Meeting Expectations, and 75 were Not Meeting Expectations. For schools that offer grades 3-8, 30 were Exceeding Expectations, 108 were Meeting Expectations, 48 were Partially Meeting Expectations, and 60 were Not Meeting Expectations. For schools offering grades 9-12, 5 were Exceeding Expectations, 19 were Meeting Expectations, 15 were Partially Meeting Expectations, and 13 were Not Meeting Expectations. For K-12 schools, 2 were Exceeding Expectations, 10 were Meeting Expectations, 3 were Partially Meeting Expectations, and 2 were Not Meeting Expectations.

2017-18 School Performance Ratings by Percent: 11.7% of All Schools were Exceeding Expectations, 43.5% were Meeting Expectations, 21.0% were Partially Meeting Expectations, and 23.8% were No Meeting Expectations. For schools that offer grades 3-8, 9.6% were Exceeding Expectations, 36.5% were Meeting Expectations, 28.8% were Partially Meeting Expectations, and 24.4% were Not Meeting Expectations. For schools offering grades 9-12, 12.2% were Exceeding Expectations, 43.9% were Meeting Expectations, 19.5% were Partially Meeting Expectations, and 25% were Not Meeting Expectations. For K-12 schools, 11.8% were Exceeding Expectations, 58.8% were Meeting Expectations, 17.6% were Partially Meeting Expectations, and 11.8% were Not Meeting Expectations.

Alternative high schools do not have School Performance Ratings for the 2017-18 school year, as it was the final pilot year for alternative school accountability. School Performance Ratings for alternative high schools will be available beginning in the fall of 2019.

Federal law requires the schools that are struggling the most be identified for support. There are three types of support:

  • Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) is for Title I schools performing among the lowest in the state and any school with a graduation rate below 67 percent.
  • Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) is for schools that have a specific group of students that is not performing well.
  • Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (ATSI) is for schools that have a specific group of students that is chronically not performing well.

Under federal accountability, 21 schools were identified for Comprehensive Support and Improvement, 34 schools were identified for Targeted Support and Improvement, and two schools were identified for Additional Targeted Support and Improvement.

Changes in both state and federal law have impacted the measures used for accountability. Both now include the progress of students learning the English language and high schools factor in career readiness, along with college readiness. Additionally, WY-TOPP results were used to inform the accountability results.

Superintendent Balow added that these results show how the state and federal requirements can work together to provide greater insight into the health of education in Wyoming. “This information helps us to see which schools are performing the best and which schools need support to better serve their students. This important work is paramount to transparency and ultimately to improving our schools.”

-END-

Accountability FAQ

Media Contact:
Kari Eakins, Communications Director
kari.eakins@wyo.gov
307-777-2053

WDE, UW, Community Colleges Agree to Share Information

University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols sits with WDE Chief Academic Officer Shelley Hamel, Wyoming Community College Commission Executive Director Sandra Caldwell, and the presidents of all seven of Wyoming's community colleges at a ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Understanding. A Banner includes everyone's logo and reads, "Partnering for Wyoming."

CHEYENNE – A new partnership involving Wyoming community colleges, the University of Wyoming and the Wyoming Department of Education has set the stage for an increased level of information sharing aimed at improving the performance of the state’s education system.

A new memorandum of understanding — signed this week by presidents of each of the seven community colleges, the Wyoming Community College Commission (WCCC), the University of Wyoming and the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) — paves the way for seamless transitions for students from high school to the workforce, while meeting the state’s objectives related to educational attainment and economic diversification.

The agreement establishes a process whereby UW, WDE, the colleges and WCCC will share data elements related to the state’s Hathaway Scholarship Program, student financial aid, student success, dual and concurrent enrollment, virtual education and electronic transcripts.

The partnership will support Governor Mead’s Executive Educational Attainment Council established by executive order in August, responsible for coordinating data throughout Wyoming’s education system from primary to secondary education with the ultimate goal of increasing the level of education and training of the State’s workforce.

Under the new agreement, the sharing of information will not begin until the deployment of a data governance structure that assures the security and privacy of student information. The governance structure will include an executive governance board and a data governance committee to make decisions on data needs and approval for reports. As the database system is currently used at the community college level, all data are encrypted in motion and at rest, adhering to all Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requirements regarding student data and suppressing all Social Security information.

“This agreement allows us to provide information without collecting any additional student data,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow says. “I look forward to carefully crafting a data governance structure that safeguards student data and helping students make seamless transitions from high school.”

UW President Laurie Nichols says the agreement is a major step in efforts by the university and the community colleges to ease the transition for students transferring from the colleges to UW. Those efforts include nearly 200 articulation agreements to help ensure that students earning associate degrees at Wyoming community colleges can transfer to UW and earn their bachelor’s degrees in the same majors in two years.

“We are working diligently to develop a common college transcript system that will make things even easier for students enrolled in the state’s institutions of higher education, and this new agreement moves the process forward,” Nichols says. “All of us involved in this agreement are committed to doing everything we can to meet the state’s educational attainment goals by increasing post-secondary completion and boosting opportunities for Wyoming workers to obtain meaningful workforce credentials. Sharing of information is an essential ingredient to facilitate a seamless transfer.”

The event is the result of many years of work involving departments from the seven community colleges, the University of Wyoming, WDE, and WCCC. It has been a multi-agency effort.

“It was certainly an exciting first step toward achieving our educational attainment goals for the State of Wyoming,” Executive Director of the Wyoming Community College Commission Sandy Caldwell said. “Partnerships that will facilitate sharing data, common course numbering and common college transcripts (HEA 47) will help us increase completion rates and strengthen our education to work pipeline. This will ultimately help us reach one of the main objectives of ENDOW which is a more diversified economy supported by an educated workforce.”

– END –

Media Contact:
Kari Eakins, Communications Director
kari.eakins@wyo.gov
307-777-2053