March 25, 2019

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming State Board of Education (SBE) voted on Thursday to have a review committee continue to examine a draft set of Computer Science standards.

Walt Wilcox, Chairman of the State Board noted, “As many in the audience have suggested, it’s better to get these right than rush to approve them. We’ll work to meet our timeline imposed by the legislative mandate and approve standards that are best for the children of Wyoming. It is important this is done by delivering focused and simplified high-quality standards that are realistic for educators to deliver and attainable for learners.”

The SBE took testimony from more than 50 individuals regarding the draft Computer Science standards. While many in the audience praised the rigor and comprehensiveness of the standards, others asked the board to “tap the brakes” on the approval process and refine the standards to make them more accessible, especially at the elementary grade levels. After two unsuccessful motions, the State Board voted to fund another two-day meeting of the Computer Science Standards Review Committee, so it can revise the draft sComputer Science Standards for further consideration by the SBE and be approved for rules promulgation and further public comment.

By state law, the SBE has until January 2022 to approve the standards. However, the standards have to be implemented fully by fall of 2022, and several SBE members said they hope to have approved standards ready to provide the necessary time for curriculum development, professional development, and a phased implementation plan. The Computer Science Standards Review Committee will meet again in early April and try to refine the computer science standards in advance of the board’s next meeting.

Additionally, the SBE voted to convene a committee of practitioners to review the entire set of content standards in 10 subject areas. The board has received input from hundreds of educators and parents that the totality of content standards could be too much to deliver effectively, given the timeframe of the 175-day school year. The board hopes to receive input from educators, parents, and other stakeholders about how to advise the WDE and its standards committees in drafting new sets of standards that are  rigorous, but less comprehensive.

Bill Lambert of Osage and Debbie Bovee of Casper were sworn in as the newest members SBE at the start of the meeting in Casper.

The SBE also convened as the State Board of Vocational Education (SBVocEd) to hear an update from the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) on the Perkins V Transition Plan. The SBE will take action on the Transition Plan during their April meeting.

The board approved alternative schedules for 10 school districts. All schools in Campbell #1, Carbon #2, Crook #2, as well as Little Snake River Valley Schools in Carbon #1, Laramie #2, Lusk Elementary and Middle School, Niobrara High School, and Lance Creek Elementary School in Niobrara #1, all schools in Sheridan #1 and Sheridan #3 were approved to operate on a four-day school week for the 2019-20 school year. Other schools in Johnson #1 were approved for split four/five-day weeks, and all schools in Sublette #1 were approved for a schedule with early release on Fridays.

The board also took action and approved Administrative Procedures (part one), Certified Personnel Evaluation Systems and an Early Learning Resolution.

Valerie Bruce, 2019-20 Wyoming Teacher of the Year, presented to the board on the work she does in her classroom with first graders. She told the board she wants to be remembered as the teacher that always inspired and supported her students.

The next board meeting is scheduled for April 25 in Gillette.

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