Category Archives: News Releases

News releases from the Wyoming Department of Education

2017 PAWS Results Available

CHEYENNE – Spring 2017 statewide testing results were released today by the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE). School, district, and state results are available on the WDE’s Fusion site. These include results for the Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students (PAWS) and alternate assessments in reading and mathematics for students in grades 3 through 8, and in science for grades 4 and 8.

Wyoming PAWS Results - All Students, All Grades by Subject, 3 Year Trend. In mathematics, the percent of students who were proficient or advanced was 48.9 in 2014-15, 52.0 in 2015-16, and 52.3 in 2016-17. In reading, the percentage of students who were proficient or advanced was 57.5 in 2014-15, 59.5 in 2015-16, and 58.8 in 2016-17. In Science, the percentage of students who were proficient or advanced was 46.7 in 2014-15, 48.3 in 2015-16, and 50.3 in 2016-17.

“Wyoming schools have demonstrated a solid foundation of learning that we need to build on and continue to improve,” said State Superintendent Jillian Balow. “The growth that we saw in two of the three areas is a credit to a continued focus on high quality teaching and student learning. Now, each school will look carefully at this data to help set instructional goals for the upcoming year. I anticipate these goals will be ambitious with a continued focus on superb instruction and improved student outcomes.”

Notable increases in scores took place in eighth grade science, which had a 3.7 percent increase to 45.3 percent of students proficient or advanced, and fourth grade math, which had a 2.6 percent increase to 57.8 percent of students proficient or advanced.

For the first time, a breakdown of the performance of full-time virtual education students on PAWS is included in the results. They were added as an additional student group for reporting as part of the 2017 Virtual Education Act.

Starting in the 2017-18 school year, students will take the Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress (WY-TOPP). The new test will assess proficiency in reading and math for students in grades 3-10, science for students in grades 4, 8, and 10, and writing for students in grades 3, 5, 7, and 9. It will be an online, adaptive assessment with various item types such as multiple choice, technology enhanced, and constructed response. The results will be comparable to students’ scores from other states and will be used for accountability purposes.

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

Community Input Meetings on American Indian Education

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education will conduct community input meetings on Wyoming’s Social Studies Content and Performance Standards as they pertain to Wyoming’s new “American Indian education program” legislation. These meetings will inform the public of the standards review process and gather public input to be shared with the Social Studies Standards Review Committee for their consideration prior to their work.

A presentation will discuss House Enrolled Act 119 and the process to ensure the cultural heritage, history, and contemporary contributions of American Indians are addressed in the review of the Social Studies Standards.

Participants will be asked to respond to two questions:

  • Why is it important for everyone to learn about American Indians?
  • What do you want the review committee to know about the cultural heritage, history, and contemporary contributions of American Indians as they review the Social Studies Standards?

The meetings will take place from 6-8 p.m.

  • June 12, Frank B. Wise Building, Main Conference Room, 3 Ethete Road, Fort Washakie
  • June 13, Central Wyoming College, Intertribal Education Center Room 116, 2660 Peck Avenue, Riverton
  • June 15, Park #6 Administration Office Board Room 2nd Floor, 919 Cody Avenue, Cody
  • June 22, Sheridan # 2 Administration Office Board Room, 201 North Connor Street, Sheridan
  • June 29, Laramie #1 Administration Office Board Room, 2810 House Avenue, Cheyenne

Those unable to attend can respond online through September 8, 2017.

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

Public Comment for Chapter 43 Rules: School Nutrition Pilot Project

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) is seeking public comment on the Chapter 43 Rules, School Nutrition Pilot Project, which can be viewed online along with the Statement of Reasons. These rules establish the minimum requirements that districts must meet to be eligible for financial assistance in acquiring Wyoming-grown meat for school lunches. Eligible districts can apply to the WDE Child Nutrition Program in order to receive financial assistance to offset processing costs for donated Wyoming poultry, lamb, pork, beef, or bison.

Public comment on the proposed rules is open from June 2 to July 17, 2017. Comments will be posted on the Secretary of State website, and may be submitted online or by mail to:

Wyoming Department of Education
Attn: Susan Benning
2300 Capitol Avenue
Hathaway Building 2nd Floor
Cheyenne, WY 82002-2060

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

Cheyenne Student Wins Contest to Name New Statewide Assessment

State Superintendent Jillian Balow and winner Aiden Weinzerl stand in front of a poster made by Aiden's classmates which reads, "Congrats Aiden!!! You made it to the TOP!!" and has a stick figure of Aiden standing on top of the world.

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) announced today that Aiden Weinzierl, a sixth-grade student at Anderson Elementary School in Cheyenne, has won the contest to name the new statewide assessment with his submission, WY-TOPP, for Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress.

WY-TOPP will replace the Proficiency Assessment for Wyoming Students (PAWS) in grades 3-8 and ACT Aspire in grades 9-10. The ACT will continue to be administered to students in grade 11.

“With 99 submissions from across the state, we had several good options to choose from,” said State Superintendent Jillian Balow. “We went with WY-TOPP because it reflects the quality of the assessment as well as where Wyoming is with respect to its student and teachers.”

WY-TOPP will assess proficiency in reading and math for students in grades 3-10 and science for students in grades 4, 8, and 10. It will be an online assessment with various item types such as multiple choice, technology enhanced, and constructed response. The results will be comparable to students’ scores from other states and will be used for accountability purposes.

The WDE is currently in contract negotiations with the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The Wyoming State Board of Education approved them as the vendor for the new statewide assessment in February. Further information including testing dates and technology specifications will be available once contracts are in place.

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

Arts Added to the 2017 Roadmap to STEM Conference

Clear plastic cups are turned into robots that draw by installing a small fan and taping markers to the outside.

CHEYENNE – The fourth annual Roadmap to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Conference will include a focus on the Arts. The conference will feature the theme “STE(a)Ming into the Future” at Gillette College August 2-4, 2017.

“Including the Arts is way for us to improve the Roadmap to STEM Conference,” said State Superintendent Jillian Balow. “Educators will receive hands on, practical training that they can immediately use in their classrooms to further induce creativity and innovation in science, technology, engineering and math.”

Three days of active learning and practical classroom resources for almost any P-16 learning environment await participants. The Ann Simpson Artmobile will be on display and can be viewed during the Share-A-Thon along with other products and services that align with STEM education.

Dr. Lodge McCammon will offer a keynote presentation on music and movement, showing how his kinesthetic strategies can be used to ignite the brain and enhance the STEM learning environment.

Session topics will include connecting culinary arts to math, emphasizing creativity in core curriculum, enhancing scientific understanding through drawing, artistic inquiry in the engineering design process, making drones, integrating elementary science activities across curriculum, coding in the classroom, and much more.

The conference will partner with local professionals on half-day STEM experiences to connect educators with real-world applications of STEM. A variety of off-site STEM adventures will be available, including a geological excursion to Devil’s Tower and an interactive exploration of solar energy.

In addition, Physics Girl Dianna Cowern will offer a keynote on engaging girls in science and STEM, and Wyoming’s 2017 Teacher of the Year Ryan Fuhrman will share take away strategies and resources that he uses in his 7th grade classroom to guide students to think more deeply using the new Wyoming science standards.

Information about the conference and registration can be found at:
edu.wyoming.gov/in-the-classroom/career-tech-ed/stem/.

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STEM Conference Video

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

Public Meetings Set on Draft ESSA State Plan

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) has scheduled a series of public meetings for gathering input of the draft state plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). These meetings will inform the public of the draft ESSA State Plan and gather input to be shared with WDE staff for their consideration as they continue work on the plan.

Stakeholder engagement and public review of the plan are required under ESSA. The draft ESSA State Plan proposes long-term goals for schools, measures for how well schools are doing, and priorities for the use of federal funds to support schools, students, and educators.

The ESSA public meetings will take place at 6:30 p.m.

  • May 4, online, register here
  • May 11, Northwest College, Fagerburg Building Rm  70, 233 W 7th Street, Powell
  • May 18, Riverton Middle School, Multipurpose Room, 840 Major Avenue, Riverton
  • June 7, Laramie Junior High School, Library, 1355 North 22nd Street, Laramie

The public meetings take place during the 45-day comment period on Wyoming’s draft ESSA State Plan, which goes through June 8, 2017. Comments can also be submitted online or by mail to:

Wyoming Department of Education
Attn: Kari Eakins
2300 Capitol Avenue
Hathaway Building, 2nd Floor
Cheyenne, WY 82002

ESSA reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the principal federal law affecting K-12 education, and replaces No Child Left Behind. Wyoming must submit its ESSA State Plan by September 18, 2017.

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

Regional Community Meetings on Math Standards

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) will conduct regional community meetings on Wyoming’s Mathematics Content and Performance Standards. These meetings will inform the public of the standards review process and gather public input to be shared with the Math Standards Review Committee for their consideration prior to their work.

A presentation will cover the design criteria, goals, objectives, definitions of the standards, and answer questions pertaining to the review process. Participants will be asked to respond to two questions:

  1. Why are Math Standards important for students, teachers, and parents?
  2. What do you want the Math Standards Review Committee to know as they start the review process?

Meetings will take place in Powell, Casper, Rock Springs, and Cheyenne from 6-8 p.m.

  • May 2, Powell High School, Library, 1150 East 7th Street, Powell
  • May 3, Natrona #1 Central Services Facility, Jefferson Room, 970 North Glenn Road, Casper
  • May 4, Rock Springs High School, Board Room, 3550 Foothill Boulevard, Rock Springs
  • May 9, Laramie #1 Administrative Building, Room #130, 2811 House Avenue, Cheyenne

Those unable to attend can respond to the same two questions online.

The WDE and State Board of Education are still taking public input on Wyoming’s current math standards for the review committee to consider as they begin the standards review process. Specific input on the standards can be given online through May.

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

Draft ESSA State Plan Released for Public Review

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) today announced the release of Wyoming’s draft Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) State Plan for a 45-day public comment period. The draft plan is available on the WDE’s website.

“This plan builds off of the strengths in Wyoming’s education system and our ongoing commitment to excellence. The goals for our schools are based on our state’s priorities instead of the federal government’s,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “From standards to accountability to best use of federal funds, ESSA places the responsibility to provide a well-rounded education to every student squarely on our shoulders. A public review of this plan by educators, parents, the employer community, and other citizens is essential. We need to make sure Wyoming kids are put first.”

Superintendent Balow lists the post-secondary readiness indicator and supports for schools and educators as highlights of the draft plan, “We want our students to be ready for their next step after high school, and we’re excited to begin looking at both college and career readiness measures for the first time as a state. We also know from our state accountability model that the way to help schools improve is to make sure they have the right kinds of support and that educators have what they need to do their jobs. Our ESSA state plan will allow us to apply this same strategy with federal funds. We are not here to punish schools and students, we are here to help them do better.”

During this public comment period, the Wyoming Department of Education will convene the Advisory Committee and work with the State Board of Education to convene the Professional Judgment Panel to refine the indicators that will meet the requirements for both accountability models to ensure Wyoming schools operate under a single, coherent system.

Comments can be submitted to the WDE through June 8, 2017 through an online survey, public meetings, or by mail. An online public meeting will take place on May 4 at 6:30 p.m. Anyone wishing to participate can register online. Additional public meetings are tentatively planned to take place on May 11 in Powell, May 18 in Riverton, and June 7 in Laramie.

Comments can be mailed to:

Wyoming Department of Education
Attn: Kari Eakins
2300 Capitol Avenue
Hathaway Building, 2nd Floor
Cheyenne, WY 82002

ESSA reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the principal federal law affecting K-12 education, and replaces No Child Left Behind.

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Wyoming’s Draft State Plan

Accountability FAQ

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

Public Input Sought on Math Standards

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) and State Board of Education are taking public input on Wyoming’s current math standards. The Math Standards Review Committee will consider this input as they begin the standards review process. Input can be given online through May or at regional community meetings.

The regional community meetings will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the following locations:

  • May 2: Powell High School Library, 1151 E. 7th Street, Powell, WY
  • May 3: Natrona #1 Central Services Facility, Jefferson East Room, 970 N. Glenn Road, Casper, WY
  • May 4: Rock Springs High School, Board Room, 3550 Foothill Blvd, Rock Springs, WY
  • May 9: Laramie #1 Administrative Building, Room #130, 2811 House Ave, Cheyenne, WY

Each community meeting will start with a 30-minute presentation on the standards review process, the review timeline, and answering questions before a 90-minute time slot dedicated to public comment. The public may come and go throughout or feel free to stay to hear the comments of others.

WDE personnel will present the input to the members of the Math Standards Review Committee before they meet this summer. The committee will review the 2012 Mathematics Standards and make a recommendation to the State Board of Education. Standards are reviewed at least once every nine years based on a timeline approved by the State Board.

Those interested in serving on this committee should complete the Call for Participants Survey. The survey closes at 11:59 p.m. on April 11, 2017.

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

Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students Advance to National Academic Bowl

The Academic Bowl team members and coaches all proudly wearing Wyoming football jerseys while in sunny California for the West Regionals.
(L-R) Coach Jo Otterholt, Josh Parsons (Gillette), Gabi Reimann (Casper), Josh Graves (Green River), Rachel Lebsack (Wheatland), and Coach Meghan Watt.

CHEYENNE – Wyoming’s Academic Bowl Team of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (D/HH) high school students will advance to Gallaudet University 2017 National Academic Bowl competition in Washington, D.C., in April for the third consecutive year after a triumphant second place finish in the West Regionals.

“We finished second in the Championship Round against the first place team of the other pool,” said coach Jo Otterholt. “It was our only loss for the entire 2 days of the competition. We were the only team with 9-0 when we entered the championship match. This year’s team is super excited as they feel like they have a strong Academic Team.”

“I am so proud of these students,” said WDE Chief Policy Officer Lisa Weigel. “They work with their WDE coaches [and teachers in their local schools] all school year to prepare for this annual competition. Many say this two-day event is more difficult than taking the ACT test.”

“It’s an honor to have the opportunity to support these students. It’s a compliment to the education they receive in Wyoming schools that they’re successful at this level of academic competition,” said Anne-Marie Williams, WDE Director of Individual Learning.

Gallaudet University is the only University for D/HH students in the world, and hosts 80 teams in four regional sites in United States. The Academic Bowl is unique, in that it fosters camaraderie among D/HH students.

The coaches traveled with four Wyoming team members to California School for the Deaf in Riverside, California, where Wyoming faced off against nearly 40 of their D/HH counterparts at the West Regionals. The questions stem from all areas of academics and more, including arts, sports, Deaf history, politics, and current news and events.

“It’s a learning and testing atmosphere for two days, all at the same time, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and well into the evening during the play-offs in tournaments,” said Otterholt. “Although they’re from 13 Western states, these kids form lasting friendships and stay in touch throughout the year. They support and cheer each other on.” Additional friendships are formed when they attend the National competitions.

Teammates Gabi Reimann (Natrona #1), Josh Graves (Sweetwater #2), Rachel Lebsack (Platte #1), and Josh Parsons (Campbell #1) will travel to the National Competition with coaches Jo Otterholt and Meghan Watt. Gallaudet University provides all-expense paid flights, meals and lodging for 25 competing teams for four days, April 1-4, 2017. The competition can be followed at the GU Youth Programs/Academic Bowl 2017 website.

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Watch Gabi Reimann video

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