Category Archives: Uncategorized

WYOMING SUES BIDEN ADMINISTRATION OVER TITLE IX RULE CHANGES AS PART OF MULTI-STATE COALITION

CHEYENNE –The State of Wyoming, alongside a coalition of states and private parties, has taken legal action by filing a lawsuit opposing President Biden’s new rules interpreting Title IX. Title IX is a law designed to create educational and athletic opportunities, particularly for female students. The lawsuit argues the new rules are contrary to the core principles of Title IX, compromising safety and privacy, ultimately depriving female athletes of opportunities.

Governor Gordon voiced Wyoming’s firm stance, stating, “Wyoming will fight the Biden Administration’s attempt to rewrite Title IX. The state adamantly upholds its core principles of fairness, privacy and the sanctity of women’s sports, opposing any imposition of ambiguous standards that threaten these ideals,” Governor Gordon said. “This is yet another instance of federal overreach, seeking to impose a new interpretation on a longstanding law.”

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Megan Degenfelder applauded the lawsuit, stating, “In Wyoming, we protect our girls. We will never allow outrageous political agendas to get in the way of that. Not in bathrooms, not in education, not in sports. Period.” 

Biden’s new Title IX rule eliminates privacy protections to all students, replaces “sex” with “gender identity” and broadens the definition of what constitutes “discrimination on the basis of sex”, which directly contradicts the very purpose of Title IX.

The lawsuit further alleges the rule violates the First Amendment rights of educators, school employees and fellow students, as well as private organizations, who have sincerely held religious beliefs that would prevent them from complying with the rule. The rule  also raises due processes concerns on college campuses related to sexual harassment accusations.

The coalition is led by Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach. The lawsuit also includes the states of Alaska and Utah as well as private parties. A copy of the full complaint may be found here.

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

SUPERINTENDENT DEGENFELDER ISSUES STATEMENT ON BIDEN ADMINISTRATION TITLE IX RULES

CHEYENNE – “I am outraged by the Biden Administration’s action to effectively repeal Title IX protections for women in America. Not only does the Biden Administration continue to attack the protections of biological women and the rights of parents, but it does so without any Congressional action. These rules fully open the door to biological males abusing rights afforded to women by Congress in Title IX, and they also trample on parental rights by requiring K-12 schools to accept a child’s gender identity regardless of biological sex without parental input.

Furthermore, and quite frighteningly, the rules have stripped the accused of proper due process protections and threaten First Amendment rights essential to religious conscience and free expression.

I am actively working with my counterparts across the country and other education organizations regarding how we can effectively litigate or otherwise oppose these offensive rules.”

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

SUPERINTENDENT DEGENFELDER TO HOST EDUCATION TOWN HALL IN LANDER

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) will host an Education Town Hall at 6 p.m. on Monday, March 11 in the Lander Community & Convention Center. Members of the public are invited to join and share feedback.

State Superintendent Megan Degenfelder will provide an update on the WDE Strategic Plan, and State Board of Education and local school board member Taylor Jacobs will update her local community on the board’s work on the Profile of a Graduate. Find additional information here.

Join us and watch live via the WDE Facebook page.

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

WYOMING STUDENTS SELECTED FOR UNITED STATES SENATE YOUTH PROGRAM

CHEYENNE —The Wyoming Department of Education and the United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) announce that high school students Casey J. Dean Toner and Grace H. Zhou will join Senator John Barrasso and Senator Cynthia Lummis in representing Wyoming during the 62nd annual USSYP Washington Week, to be held March 2 – 9, 2024. Casey Toner of Glenrock and Grace Zhou of Laramie were selected from among the state’s top student leaders to be among the 104 national students in the delegation.

Casey Toner, a junior at Glenrock Jr/Sr High School, has advocated for Career and Technical Education (CTE), including efforts related to the Prep Act and Perkins funding, where he engaged with Wyoming Senators John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis. He has been accepted as a high school intern for the Wyoming Senate, and plans to dual major in political science and CTE education.

Grace Zhou, a senior at Laramie High School, was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award Gold Medal for her work with the Red Sand Project and Laramie Interfaith. She is currently a legislative intern, and her future includes pursuing a public policy and behavioral economics degree with an emphasis on public health.

“Learning about how our federal government works is an essential part of citizenship, and the U.S. Senate Youth Program is an experience second to none for our students.” says State Superintendent of Public Instruction Megan Degenfelder. “Casey and Grace are Wyoming student leaders and display the characteristics required to excel in this program.”

Chosen as alternates to the 2024 program were Emma Pehringer of Buffalo High School, and Carson Krueger who attends Laramie High School.

Each year this competitive, merit-based program provides two outstanding high school students from each state with an intensive week-long study of the federal government and the people who lead it. In addition, the Hearst Foundations provide each with a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to continue coursework in government, history and public affairs.

Delegates and alternates are selected by the state departments of education and the District of Columbia and Department of Defense Education, 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 Superintendent Degenfelder.

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

WDE SEEKS PUBLIC COMMENT ON PROPOSED STANDARDS REDUCTIONS

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education seeks public comment on proposed standards for Math, Science, Computer Science, Physical Education, Health and Safety, and Fine & Performing Arts. Public comment can be submitted through online survey, virtual session, or written comment, by 11:59 p.m. on March 21. The public can attend a virtual public comment session to provide verbal input. The session will begin with an informational presentation, followed by the collection of comments. Attendees may join and exit at any time during the meeting.

“With an overall reduction of 69%, these standards represent a concerted effort to listen and respond to the needs of teachers, communities, and policymakers,” says State Superintendent of Public Instruction Megan Degenfelder.

Join a Zoom Public Comment Session below.

The standards documents and proposed Chapter 10 Rules can be found at the links below:

Send written comments to the address below or email to barb.marquer@wyo.gov:

Wyoming Department of Education
Attn: Barb Marquer
122 W. 25th Street, Suite E200
Cheyenne, WY 82002

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

WYOMING’S FUTURE OF LEARNING COLLABORATIVE LAUNCHES SECOND ROUND OF PILOT PROGRAMS

CHEYENNE – Wyoming’s Future of Learning collaborative is accepting applications from school districts for the second round of a pilot project to reimagine K-12 education through competency based learning. This opportunity will expand the reach of the initial RIDE pilot program currently underway in nine Wyoming school districts by adding seven additional districts for the 2024-25 school year.

Wyoming’s Future of Learning collaborative includes Governor Mark Gordon, Superintendent Megan Degenfelder and the Wyoming Department of Education, the State Board of Education (SBE), the University of Wyoming College of Education, the Community Colleges and the Wyoming Association of School Administrators.

“There continues to be so much potential through this partnership,” Governor Gordon said. “Through these pilots we are learning about what our educators need to ensure that Wyoming’s education system is not just better than today, but is able to emerge through this work as one of the best at serving students and families in the United States.”

“This pilot is an important step in shifting our education system from its current one-size fits all model. With competency based learning, students can learn at their own pace and pursue more individualized education pathways,” said State Superintendent Megan Degenfelder.

The goal of the voluntary pilots is to rethink and innovate key elements of instruction and assessment to make them more responsive to students and to support the SBE’s Wyoming Profile of a Graduate work. Districts and their communities will be supported through the pilots as they engage in this participatory process creating learning environments that will put students at the center. Statewide professional development opportunities in competency-based learning will continue to be offered to all schools throughout the state.

“We were very excited about this opportunity because we were looking for ways to move students and staff into the future,” said Gillian Chapman, Superintendent of Teton County School District #1, a district currently participating in the RIDE pilots. “What they need in the future is really different from what we do day in and day out in school, and we were looking for alternatives to the way we have always done things.”

“We were so excited and satisfied with this work that we are already asking for it to be expanded into all content areas at all grade levels,” said Superintendent Paige Fenton Hughes of Converse County School District #1.

Applications will be due February 16  and selected districts will be announced in early March.

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

 

WDE RELEASES 2022-23 GRADUATION RATES

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) announced that high school graduation rates remained relatively consistent, with 81.4 percent in 2022-23, a slight decrease of .4 percent from 2021-22’s 81.8 percent. Wyoming’s graduation rates have remained statistically strong – above 80 percent since 2015-16. Despite the slight decrease, 284 more students graduated last year, than the year prior. 

“Not only will we continue to work toward every high school senior graduating, but that when they do they are fully prepared for the future workforce,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Megan Degenfelder.

Students concentrating in a Career and Technical Education (CTE) program of study had much higher graduation rates than their peers. CTE remains a top priority in Superintendent Degenfelder’s strategic plan.

Thirteen Wyoming school districts posted graduation rates of 90% or above, including:

Park #16 – 100%
Sheridan #3 – 100
Sublette #1 – 97.6%
Converse #2 – 95.9%
Teton #1 – 93.7%
Weston #7 – 93.3%
Carbon #2 – 93.2%
Uinta #4 – 93.1%
Fremont #2 – 91.7%
Fremont #24 – 91.7%
Lincoln #1 – 91.7%
Sublette #9 – 90.9%
Sheridan #2 – 90.2%

Full graduation rate statistics are available here.

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.

 Graduation Rate Brochure

Graduation Rate Methodology

 

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

SUPERINTENDENT DEGENFELDER LAUNCHES CURRICULUM TRANSPARENCY INITIATIVE

Cheyenne –  State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Megan Degenfelder and the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) have launched the Curriculum Transparency page on the WDE website as outlined in the 2023-2027 WDE Strategic Plan. This webpage will directly link to similar curricular transparency pages on participating district websites.

“After campaigning across the state and being a year into office, transparency remains central to our mission at the WDE. Parents and communities deserve to know what is being taught in their schools. It is not an easy process to create user-friendly transparency into curriculum and materials. However, with the teamwork of many superintendents around the state and our WDE team, I think we are making great progress on this issue. I am proud of the work we are here to showcase.” said Superintendent Degenfelder.

Anyone can use this online resource to quickly access their district’s primary resources such as textbooks and understand their alignment to Wyoming K-12 State Standards. The ability to quickly understand what textbook is being used for what grade and subject will empower parents to make informed decisions and inquiries about their children’s education. The initiative was a collaboration between the WDE and school districts that worked to identify a user-friendly method to provide access to this critical information. Districts included: Big Horn County #2, Natrona County #1, Park County #1, Park County #6, Sheridan County #2, Sweetwater County #2, Lincoln County #1 and Weston County #7.

“I value the teamwork involved in collaborating with State Superintendent Degenfelder and the WDE staff and Wyoming Superintendents on the Curriculum Transparency Initiative,” said Vernon Ornforff, Park County School District #6 Superintendent. “The commitment to improving transparency and ensuring the user-friendliness of the district curriculum transparency webpage is praiseworthy. This joint effort demonstrates a dedication to delivering accessible and transparent information, with the ultimate goal of benefiting students, educators, and the entire community.”

The webpage also includes resources about standards requirements, by grade level. These documents are intended to help parents easily view what is required of their child at each grade level, and connect those requirements to their district’s curriculum and instruction materials

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

SUPERINTENDENT DEGENFELDER TO HOST CURRICULUM TRANSPARENCY EVENT AT CODY HIGH SCHOOL

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) will host a hybrid media event at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, January 23 in the Park County School District #6 Board Meeting Room at the PCSD #6 Central Office. Members of the press and public are invited.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Megan Degenfelder will launch the District Curriculum Transparency page on the WDE website, allowing parents quick access to their district’s curriculum as outlined in the 2023-2027 WDE Strategic Plan.

The public will be able to watch live via the WDE Facebook page. Media partners who wish to attend in-person must email Linda Finnerty at linda.finnerty@wyo.gov to confirm participation. Media partners participating online can register here.

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

WDE SEEKS COMMENT ON SBE CHAPTER 1 RULES

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education seeks public comment on the proposed State Board of Education Chapter 1 rules pertaining to Certificate of Completion Requirements. Public comment may be submitted online until 11:59 p.m. on March 8. All public comments will be recorded verbatim, including the submitter’s name and city of residence, and submitted to the Secretary of State’s office as part of the rules promulgation process. See the public comment form to view the Statement of Reasons and the proposed rules.

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