Category Archives: News Releases

News releases from the Wyoming Department of Education

Wyoming Students Selected for United States Senate Youth Program

CHEYENNE – Thomas Lubnau III of Gillette and Harriet Pimentel of Powell have been chosen to serve as Wyoming’s delegates for the United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP). The delegates will join Senator Michael Enzi and Senator John Barrasso in representing Wyoming in the nation’s capital during the 56th annual USSYP Washington Week, set for March 3-10, 2018. Each student also will receive a $10,000 college scholarship from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

Thomas Lubnau III attends Campbell County High School and serves as president of Wyoming DECA, a student organization with a focus on business and entrepreneurship. He is captain of both Team Wyoming and Gillette Hockey Association. He is a Congressional Award gold medalist, Boys State U.S. senator and speaker of the House and former Student Body and Class President. Tom shares two national championship titles: DECA travel and tourism decision making and U16 hockey. He is active in charitable work and fundraising. Tom attended the Rotary Youth Leadership Award program and the Air Force Academy Summer Seminar. He would like to attend a military academy, earn a degree in management and serve his country.

Harriet “Hattie” Pimentel attends Powell High School and serves as the parliamentarian, historian and treasurer for her school’s National Honor Society. She is also active in the robotics club, Varsity tennis team, the math team, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the ice hockey team. She has attended the High School Summer Institute and Girl’s State and works on her family’s ranch. Hattie taught classes with the Powell Makerspace, the Hour of Code program, and the 4-H Robotics Club. She organizes and teaches the Girls Maker Club, and created a computer program for the Powell Makerspace. She has testified to state legislators about a proposed computer science education bill. Hattie plans to major in computer science and get a law degree.

While in Washington, the student delegates attend meetings and briefings with senators, members of the House of Representatives, Congressional staff, the president, a justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies, an ambassador to the United States and senior members of the national media. The students will also tour many of the national monuments and several museums and they will stay at the historic Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.

Delegates and alternates are selected by the state departments of education nationwide and the District of Columbia and Department of Defense Education Activity, after nomination by teachers and principals. The chief state school officer for each jurisdiction confirms the final selection. This year’s Wyoming delegates and alternates were designated by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow.

Each year this extremely competitive merit-based program brings 104 of the most outstanding high school students — two from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity — to Washington, D.C. for an intensive week-long study of the federal government and the people who lead it. The overall mission of the program is to help instill within each class of USSYP student delegates more profound knowledge of the American political process and a lifelong commitment to public service. In addition to the program week, The Hearst Foundations provide each student with a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to continue coursework in government, history and public affairs. Transportation and all expenses for Washington Week are also provided by the Hearst Foundations; as stipulated in S.Res.324, no government funds are utilized.

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

WDE Developing List of Prescreened Expanded Learning Programs

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) is developing a list of prescreened expanded learning programs in order to increase awareness of these opportunities. Nonprofit organizations in Wyoming can be included on the list by submitting a profile survey to the WDE.

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.

Organizations that meet the above conditions, and are interested in supporting the work of after school and summer learning, are invited to submit the profile survey by March 6, 2018.

This request for information will not result in a contract with the WDE, nor does the listing represent an endorsement. The WDE will verify “good standing” status through the Wyoming Secretary of State’s website when the profile survey is submitted, and periodically thereafter. All eligible prescreened organizations will remain on the WDE website for two years, unless a request to be removed is received from the organization.

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For more information, contact Karen Bierhaus, 21st CCLC Program Consultant at 307-857-9284 or karen.bierhaus@wyo.gov.

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

Support Needed for Summer Food Service Program

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) is seeking local sponsors to participate in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) for the summer of 2018. This federally-funded U.S. Department of Agriculture program provides access to nutritious meals and snacks for children up to the age of 18 during summer months, when access to other school meal programs is not available.

The WDE invites any interested sponsors including churches and other private nonprofit organizations; public and private nonprofit schools; local, municipal, county, tribal, and state government entities; public and private nonprofit camps; and public and private nonprofit universities or colleges to be involved in the effort to help children become more successful in school through good nutrition. Sponsors are reimbursed a set amount for each meal served.

These summer sites must meet specific federal criteria regarding the income eligibility of either children living in the area, or enrolled in the program at the chosen site. The WDE can help with obtaining information for possible sites in communities.

Anyone interested in sponsoring the program should contact Amanda Anderson, Nutrition Programs Consultant, at 307-777-7168 for details regarding qualifications as a sponsor.

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

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: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, 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.

Wyoming High School Graduation Rate Improves for Fourth Year

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) announced today that high school graduation rates increased slightly to 80.2 percent in 2016-17, which marked four years of improvement from the class of 2013’s 77.6 percent graduation rate.

Full graduation rate statistics are available at edu.wyoming.gov/data/graduation-rates/.

“We are certainly encouraged to see another year of improvement in our graduation rate,” said State Superintendent Jillian Balow. “We know that graduation rate is more than just a statistic, it’s a huge milestone for every student who receives their diploma. As we look at various measures of how well our schools are doing, this is an important one. We set some high goals for graduation rates in our plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act, and will be working hand-in-hand with our schools to continue to improve.”

Wyoming Graduation Rate. The percent of high school students graduating "on time" in 77.6% in 2012-13, 78.6% in 2013-14, 79.4% in 2014-15, 80.0% in 2015-16, and 80.2% in 2016-17. Students are counted in the four-year ("on-time") high school graduation rate if they earn a diploma by September 15 following their cohort's fourth year.


Fourteen Wyoming school districts posted graduation rates of 90 percent or above:

  • Uinta #4: 98.2%
  • Big Horn #3: 98.0%
  • Crook #1: 95.1%
  • Platte #2: 95.0%
  • Lincoln #1: 94.9%
  • Teton #1: 93.5%
  • Sublette #1: 92.9%
  • Park #16: 92.3%
  • Sweetwater #2: 92.0%
  • Big Horn #2: 91.7%
  • Washakie #2: 91.7%
  • Weston #1: 90.6%
  • Lincoln #2: 90.5%
  • Fremont #24: 90.3%

Since the 2009-10 school year, the WDE has calculated graduation rates using the Federal Four-Year Adjusted Cohort methodology established by the U.S. Department of Education, complying with federal law that requires all states to calculate graduation rates the same way. Students are counted in the four-year (“on-time”) high school graduation rate if they earn a diploma by September 15 following their cohort’s fourth year. Five- and six-year graduation rates are also calculated, and can be viewed with the rest of the graduation rate data.

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Graduation Rate Brochure

Graduation Rate Slideshow

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

Public Comment Open On Proposed School Finance Rules

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) seeks public comment on changes to the Chapter 8 Rules: School Finance, which govern the administration of the Wyoming education block grant model, and the repeal of Chapter 25: Reimbursable Expenses Pursuant to School District Organization and Chapter 33 Wyoming Bridges Summer School and Extended Day Grant Program.

These rules are being revised following the passage of House Bill 236 and Senate File 35 during the 2017 Legislative Session. The revisions include the repeal of Chapter 33 Rules and the incorporation of Chapter 25 into Chapter 8, a modification to the manner in which districts calculate part-time membership for funding purposes, and a new methodology for computing average daily membership for students participating in virtual education programs. A full rationale for the revisions can be found in the Statement of Reasons.

Public comment on the proposed rules is open through March 2, 2018, and may be mailed to:

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

Public comments may also be submitted online:

All public comments will be recorded, filed, and posted on the Secretary of State website as part of the rules promulgation process.

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

U.S. Department Of Education Approves Wyoming ESSA Plan

CHEYENNE – The U.S. Department of Education today approved the Wyoming Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Plan.

“Our goal to significantly increase the percentage of Wyoming students who are college, career, and military ready by 2020 is clearly articulated in our ESSA plan,” said Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “From kindergarten to graduation, Wyoming students will have access to opportunities and excellent instruction. Our ESSA plan is rooted in collaboration and consensus-building among our community education partners and the U.S. Department of Education. I am confident we have crafted a strategy that puts every Wyoming student on a path to success.”

Wyoming’s ESSA plan is aligned with state accountability measures in order to leverage ongoing school improvement efforts and ensure schools are well supported. By setting goals at the school level, and at the 65th percentile, the plan ambitiously asks every Wyoming school to perform better than the majority of schools’ current performance levels – in both academic achievement and graduation rate. The approved plan incorporates input gathered from Wyoming citizens and schools through public meetings, online surveys, and stakeholder meetings.

Implementation of the ESSA plan will include: utilizing a balance of achievement, growth, and equity to determine school performance; the addition of college, career, and military readiness measures; continued engagement with stakeholders to guide support for schools and utilization of federal funds; and partnering with the University of Wyoming through the Trustees’ Education Initiative to improve teacher preparation.

The approved plan can be viewed at: edu.wyoming.gov/essa.

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

Additional Input Sought On Social Studies Standards Review

PUBLIC MEETING SET FOR JANUARY 16 IN RIVERTON

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) will host a public discussion and meeting on the state’s Social Studies Standards in relation to the American Indian Education bill. The meeting on January 16 in Riverton will provide the community with an update on the review committee’s work, and allow for additional input on the standards.

The WDE is currently reviewing the 2014 Wyoming Social Studies Content and Performance Standards in accordance with 2017 House Enrolled Act 119. The January 16 meeting will allow the community an opportunity to review and comment on the progress of the standards before the committee meets later this month.

Following brief presentations by committee members, participants will visit with WDE staff and committee members in small groups. Afterward, Elders and community members will be invited to share their thoughts with the entire group.

The meeting is set for 6:30-8 p.m. on Tuesday, January 16, at the Fremont County Library, Carnegie Room, 1330 West Park Avenue in Riverton.

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More Information on Social Studies Standards Review

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

Public Comment Open On Proposed Virtual Education Rules

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) seeks public comment on the Chapter 41 Rules: Virtual Education. These rules establish the minimum requirements that districts must meet to provide part-time or full-time virtual education to Wyoming students.

The rules are being revised following the passage of SEA0057 during the 2017 Legislative Session. The revisions include a methodology for counting the number of  students participating in virtual education programs, and updates to several definitions and processes surrounding virtual education. A full rationale for the revisions can be found in the Statement of Reasons.

Public comment on the proposed rules is open through February 18, 2018, and may be submitted online or mailed to:

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

All public comments will be recorded, filed and posted on the Secretary of State website as part of the rules promulgation process.

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

Superintendent Balow Appointed Treasurer Of Education Commission Of The States

CHEYENNE – State Superintendent Jillian Balow has been appointed Treasurer of Education Commission of the States, a nonprofit organization that serves as a partner to state policymakers across the 50 states, District of Columbia and territories.

Superintendent Balow is the first person from Wyoming to serve on the Executive Committee of Education Commission of the States (ECS) since Governor Jim Geringer chaired the commission from 1999-2000.

“Superintendent Balow has served as an active and valuable Steering Committee member for Education Commission of the States and I am honored to have her join our Executive Committee as Treasurer,” said Jeremy Anderson, president of ECS. “We look forward to her leadership on the Committee and her contributions to our ongoing support for education leaders across the nation.”

The Committee is chaired by Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant. As a Committee member, Superintendent Balow will work in concert with Chairman Bryant, the Vice Chair, and other Executive Committee members. Together, they will provide strategic direction and oversight for the management, operations, and financial policies of ECS. As Treasurer, she also serves as Chair of the Finance Committee and works with the Executive Committee to review and approve ECS’ budget, makes strategic recommendations regarding investments, reviews annual audited financial statements, and approves the selection of auditors.

ECS compiles research on education policies from early learning through postsecondary and workforce, and regularly issues relevant and timely reports providing education leaders with concise, factual overviews on these topics. The organization’s policy experts provide unbiased and non-partisan advice on policy plans, consult on proposed legislation, and testify as third-party experts at legislative hearings and interim committees.

ECS believes that the most effective policy occurs when all state education leaders are involved, and actively convenes state leaders to interact, collaborate and learn from each other.

“I am proud of the work being done across the U.S. by ECS, and I am look forward to my time as Treasurer,” Superintendent Balow said. “I remain committed to advocating for education and all children, and believe having Wyoming and other rural states in key leadership positions is essential. I am honored to serve both the people who develop and implement education policy, and the students who directly benefit from effective policy change.”

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Audio from Superintendent Balow

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

Wyoming K-12 Enrollment Dips To 92,976

CHEYENNE – Fall K-12 enrollment data for Wyoming public schools for the 2017-18 school year is available online. Fall 2017 enrollment fell 0.3 percent to 92,976 students from 93,261 in the fall of 2016. The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) has prepared several reports that break down the enrollment statistics:

This data was gathered from all school districts throughout the state in a snapshot performed on October 2, 2017.

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