March 26, 2018

CHEYENNE – Forrest Smith, founder and owner of GF Harvest, LLC in Powell, was sworn in as the newest member of the Wyoming State Board of Education at the beginning of its meeting Thursday in Rawlins.

“We are excited to have Forrest join the SBE as both the son of a teacher and someone who successfully created a business from an FFA Entrepreneur project,” said SBE Chairman Walt Wilcox. “His experiences bring a unique and important perspective to the board.”

During the meeting, the SBE voted to enter into contract negotiations with Beck Evaluation & Testing Associates, Inc. to facilitate the upcoming work of the Professional Judgement Panel. The board also approved alternative schedules for five school districts. All schools in Crook #1 and Converse #2, as well as Little Snake River Valley Schools in Carbon #1 and Cokeville schools in Lincoln #2 were approved to operate on a 4-day school week for the 2018-19 school year. Other schools in Lincoln #2 were approved for split 4/5 day weeks, and all schools in Sublette #1 were approved for a schedule with early release on Fridays.

The board received an update regarding the Chapter 31 rules on Wyoming Graduation Requirements from Special Assistant Attorney General Mike O’Donnell and Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) Accountability Director Julie Magee. Specifically, the SBE discussed changes to the rules which would give districts more flexibility in helping students meet the graduation requirements. One addition to the proposed rules would allow courses taken by students before grade 9 to count toward graduation requirements, as long as the courses are aligned to the state standards in grades 9 through 12. Another addition would allow courses that are the “functional equivalent” of a course required for graduation to count for the graduation requirements, such as a trigonometry class being the functional equivalent of a geometry class.

The SBE also heard updates from the WDE on recommendations from the accreditation task force to revise Chapter 6 rules on accreditation and implement a state-led accreditation process, and on the addition of computer science to the common core of knowledge and the timeline for adopting state content and performance standards.

Carbon County Higher Education Center (CCHEC) hosted the meeting. The SBE received a presentation from Executive Director David Throgmorton on how the CCHEC provides industry training for high school students and adults in Rawlins and Baggs. The organization works closely with Carbon County School District #1, Western Wyoming Community College, and local businesses to ensure that their educational programs provide a seamless transition from high school to college and offer opportunities for industry certifications.

The next Wyoming State Board of Education meeting will be in Gillette on April 19-20, 2018.


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