October 17, 2016

CHEYENNE — The Wyoming State Board of Education (SBE) convened in Lander last week for its regular meeting and to tour the Wind River Job Corps, a free education and career technical training program that helps young people improve the quality of their lives.

Following the tour, Kenya Haynes, the Wyoming Department of Education’s (WDE) homeless coordinator, shared a homeless student report. She described the issues facing these students, the rules that allow schools to properly support them, and the department’s work to implement the McKinney-Vento Amendments in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Student homelessness rose by nearly ten percent in Wyoming this school year.

WDE consultant Mike Flicek presented the Wyoming School Accountability Report sharing improvements and challenges as measured from 2015 to 2016. “Wyoming’s School Accountability Act is doing what it was intended to do,” said Pete Gosar, chairman of the state board. “By several measures, our students and schools appear to be improving, and we applaud the efforts of our teachers, administrators, district leadership and students. But make no mistake, we still have work to do. We expect to learn much more about our progress once we have a few more years of analysis under our belts.”

This year, 57 percent of Wyoming schools are meeting or exceeding school performance expectations vs. 51 percent last year. Grades three through eight also saw an increase in achievement targets, rising from 58 percent in 2015 to 67 percent in 2016. Wyoming’s high schools are also making progress against primary goals of achievement and graduation. The most significant increase was seen in the percentage of schools exceeding graduation targets, which rose from 21 percent to 33 percent in 2016. Across all school participating, schools meeting or exceeding graduation target levels rose from 73 to 75 percent. However, high school participation was cited as a challenge, as was growth and equity in grades three through eight. To read the Wyoming School Accountability Report, click here.

During the meeting the board unanimously approved Chapter 31 High School Diploma rules. However, Chapter 6, which establishes the board’s annual process for approving school accreditation status, including local assessments, and Chapter 10, which identifies and describes the Wyoming content and performance standards that are used for the state’s graduation requirements, must be updated in order to move Chapter 31 forward.

Additional board activity included:

  • Review and confirmation of 2017 priorities
  • WDE update on the statewide assessment RFP
  • WAEA report on 11th grade measures of student growth in math and reading
  • The SBE will convene next month by teleconference on November 18, 2016.

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For more information, contact Chelsie Oaks at (307) 777-6213 or Chelsie.Oaks@wyo.gov.

Media Contact:
Thomas Sachse, Ph.D.
(307) 752-1900