Category Archives: News Releases

News releases from the Wyoming Department of Education

Summer Food Service Programs Available Across Wyoming

July 14, 2021

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Summer Food Service program for kids offered through the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) has already served thousands of meals this summer to Wyoming children and teens.

“School is still weeks away and Wyoming children and teens have free meals available to them with no sign up or any questions asked,” said Tamra Jackson, Child Nutrition Programs State Director with the Wyoming Department of Education. “We are loaded with summer food program sites from border to border. Finding a program near you is just a call away.”

Call 211 for meal service details in your area. Callers interested in learning more can also call Amanda Andersen with the WDE at (307) 777-7168.

The Summer Food Service Program is a federally funded, state-administered program. The program reimburses providers who serve free healthy meals to children and teens during the summer months when school is not in session. This video from the Department of Agriculture does a good job of explaining the program. In addition to serving food, summer food sites often include activities for students to do during the summer including crafts and games.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits.  Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

  1. mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
  2. fax: (202) 690-7442; or
  3. email: program.intake@usda.gov.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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Media Contact:
Linda Finnerty, Communications Director
307-777-2053
linda.finnerty@wyo.gov

Public Comment Open for Hathaway Scholarship Rules

July 12, 2021

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education is promulgating changes to the Chapter 38 Rules regarding the Hathaway Scholarship Program, and now seeks public comment on the proposed rules. The comment window is open from July 12-August 30, 2021.

During the 2021 legislative session, a bill passed requiring changes to the Chapter 38 rules. House Enrolled Act 29 authorizes additional courses taken prior to grade nine to qualify for the Hathaway success curriculum. The proposed changes to the Chapter 38 Rules can be viewed here.

Comments can be submitted online or mailed to:

Wyoming Department of Education

Attn: Bradley Barker III

122 West 25th Street, Suite E200

Cheyenne, WY 82002

All public comments will be recorded verbatim, including the submitter’s name and city of residence. When commenting, specify which section of the rule the comment is concerning. All comments will be recorded and filed with the Secretary of State’s Office.

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Media Contact:
Linda Finnerty, Communications Director
307-777-2053
linda.finnerty@wyo.gov

Wyoming Submits Plan for Federal Relief Dollars for Education

June 8, 2021

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) submitted its ARP ESSER State Plan to the U.S. Department of Education and is now collecting public comment on the plan. The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act includes $303,709,391 in ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds for Wyoming. Funds will be distributed by the WDE directly to school districts based on the formula already established by Title I, Part A.

“Submitting a plan was required by the U.S. Department of Education,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “Wyoming’s plan looks different than most states because our school doors were open during the 2020-21 school year. School districts and community partners have a unique opportunity to strengthen teaching and learning for all students, especially those most negatively impacted by COVID-19 and its associated effects.”

Each state is required to reserve a portion of the ARP ESSER funds for statewide activities that extend and enrich the school day experience. Wyoming will focus on activities that strengthen collaborations between schools and community-based organizations, such as afterschool and summer programs.

“High-quality intervention and enrichment opportunities are not limited to the traditional school day,” Balow said. “Statewide activities and competitive grants will support local innovation, new and existing partnerships, and funding needs for programs.”

ARP ESSER State Plan and supporting documents can be found here. Public comment can be provided here.

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Media Contact:
Linda Finnerty, Communications Director
307-777-2053
linda.finnerty@wyo.gov

WDE Seeks Public Input on Health and Physical Education Content and Performance Standards

June 7, 2021

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education is collecting public input on the 2021 Wyoming Health Education Content and Performance Standards and the 2021 Physical Education Content and Performance Standards at the request of the State Board of Education (SBE). The input collected on the Health and Physical Education Standards will be shared with the SBE.

To provide input, review the Proposed 2021 Health Education Standards and/or Proposed 2021 Physical Education Standards.

Provide written/verbal input through any of the following options:

  1. Complete the Health Education Standards Public Survey by 11:59 p.m. on July 28, 2021.
  2. Complete the Physical Education Standards Public Survey by 11:59 p.m. on July 28, 2021
  3. Attend the virtual public input meeting from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. MST on July 16, 2021. (click link to Join Zoom Meeting or Dial +1-346-248-7799 US Meeting ID: 918 3470 4664)
  4. Attend the virtual public input meeting from 4:30-6 p.m. MST on July 18, 2021. (click link to Join Zoom Meeting or Dial +1 346-248-7799 Meeting ID: 984 4925 3310)

For more information, contact Rob Black, Health/PE Consultant, at 307-777-3747 or rob.black1@wyo.gov or Barb Marquer, Standards Supervisor, at 307-777-5506 or barb.marquer@wyo.gov.

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Media Contact:
Linda Finnerty, Communications Director
307-777-2053
linda.finnerty@wyo.gov

WDE Seeks Public Comment on Chapter 2 Rules for Minimum Standards for Student Transportation Vehicles

May 17, 2021

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) is receiving public comment regarding changes to the Chapter 2 Rules regarding the Minimum Standards for Wyoming Student Transportation Vehicles.

Initial changes to Chapter 2 were implemented in December 2019 with the incorporation of the 2015 National School Transportation Specifications and Procedures. This measure further enhanced the safety, security, and efficiency of student transportation. After incorporating these minimum national standards by reference, the WDE has since compiled supplemental information to provide more detailed requirements. This was done through extensive research and in consultation with the specifications subcommittee component of Pupil Transportation Advisory Committee.

Public comment can be provided here. For more information contact Justin Arnold, Pupil Transportation Director at 307-777-6984, or justin.arnold@wyo.gov.

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Media Contact:
Linda Finnerty, Communications Director
307-777-2053
linda.finnerty@wyo.gov

State Superintendent Jillian Balow’s Statement on Proposed U.S. Department of Education Rule Prioritizing Critical Race Theory Curriculum in K-12 Schools

May 4, 2021

CHEYENNE – The U.S. Department of Education has proposed priorities for American History and Civics Education grant programs published in the Federal Register. Those priorities include encouraging districts to use curriculum related to divisive author Ibram X. Kendi and the New York Times “1619 Project.” This is an alarming move toward federal overreach into district curriculum and should be rebuked across party lines.

The draft rule is an attempt to normalize teaching controversial and politically trendy theories about America’s history. History and civics should not be secondary to political whim. Instead, history and civics instruction should engage students in objective, non-partisan analyses of historical and current events. For good reason, public schools do not promote particular political ideologies or religions over others. This federal rule attempts to break from that practice and use taxpayer dollars to do just that.

America needs to update and renew our expectations for teaching and learning about history and civics. Every school board, state legislature, and state superintendent should be working to build local consensus about what should be taught and what materials to use in classrooms. Every family should be engaged in activities that ensure the rising generation is properly prepared to be informed citizens. Every student deserves a rich and engaging education about America’s triumphs, treacheries, losses, and victories. Our touchstone is our shared principle that all Americans have infinite value and individual freedom and responsibility. We must strive to find common goals and values as a nation, not tear each other and our country apart.

The proposed federal rule is open for public comment until May 19 and can be accessed here, or by using the Google search for “Federal Register American history and civics education.” I intend to comment, and I urge you to research the issue and comment if compelled.

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Media Contact:
Linda Finnerty, Communications Director
307-777-2053
linda.finnerty@wyo.gov

Wyoming Student Selected to Attend the 2021 National Youth Science Camp

April 30, 2021

CHEYENNE – Danielle Jones has been selected to represent Wyoming at the 2021 National Youth Science Camp.

Jones will graduate in May from Thunder Basin High School in Gillette and was selected by Governor Mark Gordon to attend the camp.

“This will be a life-changing experience for Danielle,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “No matter what path Danielle takes after high school graduation, she will have a jump on the skills it takes to work and compete in the 21st Century.”

The National Youth Science Foundation cancelled the in-residence portion of the 2021 National Youth Science Camp (NYSCamp). Held in West Virginia since 1963, this is only the third time that the annual program has not been held in the Mountain State.

One hundred eight delegates representing the United States, Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago will, however, have the opportunity to connect from home for an exclusive virtual program. The 2021 Virtual NYSCamp features a lecture series, directed studies, breakout seminars, special events, and a panel discussion with STEM policy experts.

Support from the National Youth Science Foundation allows delegates to attend the NYSCamp program free of charge.

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Media Contact:
Linda Finnerty, Communications Director
307-777-2053
linda.finnerty@wyo.gov

Public Input Requested for Foreign Language Standards

April 19, 2021

CHEYENNE – The 2013 Wyoming Foreign Language Content and Performance Standards are up for review, and the Wyoming Department of Education seeks public input for the committee’s consideration during its review.

To give public input on Foreign Language Standards:

  • Review the 2013 Wyoming Foreign Language Content & Performance Standards.
  • Provide input through any of the following options:
    • Complete the Public Input Survey by 11:59 p.m. MDT on May 28, 2021.
    • Attend a virtual Community Input Meeting. The first 15 minutes will be an informational presentation, and the remainder of the time will be to collect input. Attendees may enter and exit the Zoom meeting at any time during the block.
      • 4:30-6 p.m. MDT on Monday, May 10 (click the link to Join Zoom Meeting or Dial +1 346-248-7799, press # when connected).
      • 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. MDT on Thursday, May 13 (click the link to Join Zoom Meeting or Dial +1 346-248-7799, Meeting ID: 918 3716 0704)

The input collected on the Foreign Language Standards will be shared with the Foreign Language Standards Review Committee. 

The WDE also seeks stakeholders interested in reviewing the Wyoming Content & Performance Standards for Foreign Language. Those interested in serving on the Foreign Language Standards Review Committee can complete the Call for Participants Survey by May 28, 2021. Completing a survey expresses interest in participating, but does not commit anyone to serve on the review committee. Standards review committee members will be chosen based on diversity in experience, role, region, and school size.

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Media Contact:
Linda Finnerty, Communications Director
307-777-2053
linda.finnerty@wyo.gov

WDE Announces ESSER I Reserve Grant Opportunity

April 13, 2021

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education has announced an opportunity for Wyoming school districts to apply for remaining ESSER I State Education Agency Reserve (SEA reserve) funds. The intent of ESSER I funding is to address the impact that COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools. The authorizing federal legislation identifies allowable uses of funds related to preventing, preparing for, and responding to COVID-19.

Districts can access the application here. Applications for remaining ESSER I SEA reserve funds will be accepted through April 30, 2021, and should be submitted via email to danielle.netzer@wyo.gov.

Approved grant applications will be funded as received until the funds are depleted.

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Media Contact:
Linda Finnerty, Communications Director
307-777-2053
linda.finnerty@wyo.gov

Public Comment extended on Proposed Changes to Accreditation Rules

March 31, 2021

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education is extending the public comment period on the proposed changes to the Chapter 6 Rules, District and School Accreditation. Public comment may be submitted online, in person, or by mail until 12:59 p.m. on May 6, 2021.

The proposed Chapter 6 Rules changes can be found here. The statement of reasons can be found here.

Send written comments to:
Wyoming Department of Education Attn: Bill Pannell
122 W. 25th Street, Suite E200 Cheyenne, WY 82002

All public comments will be recorded verbatim, including the submitter’s name and city of residence, on the Secretary of State website as part of the rules promulgation process.

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Media Contact:
Linda Finnerty, Communications Director
307-777-2053
linda.finnerty@wyo.gov