July 16, 2019
Since she was in the second grade, Debbie Bovee wanted to be an elementary school teacher and, as it turns out, she worked as an elementary teacher in Goshen County for 20 years.
Bovee then went on to teach in Natrona County for four years and worked in special education for another 10 years, helping other teachers refine their craft. She has worked on the first committee to create mathematics standards for Wyoming, which gave her insight into the power of state policy leadership.
Bovee now serves as a member of the Wyoming State Board of Education (SBE).
As a state board member, Bovee said she is in favor of adding Computer Science as a 10th set of standards for the state. She said she sees value in having students learn a broad array of technology skills, which includes computational thinking and computer coding. These disciplines, she said, will help all students but especially special education students who will be able to use their computers to learn a variety of skills that include mathematical computations.
One area that she is most passionate about is the increase in student testing and the process of standards assessment.
“It can be too much,” she said of high-stakes testing. “ESSA offers relief, but I do think too much testing goes on. And as far as assessments go, I’m tired of assessing every little standard.”
In addition to having taught in Wyoming public schools, Bovee said she brings the perspective of being a grandmother of five, three of whom are currently being education in Natrona County schools. Bovee has three grandchildren who have attended the Woods Learning Center, and that education has been eye-opening, she said. Her grandchildren have been exposed to coding, but she said that they are not yet proficient.
“They study civics and practice it in student council where they play roles such as president, vice president, etc,” she said. “But they aren’t tested in subjects like coding and civics. There are certain philosophical thoughts on how education is conducted at Woods Learning Center. They have multi-age classrooms, use circle groups for programs like Restorative Justice, and emphasize cooperation over competition. Woods also emphasizes project-based learning and employs Model United Nations at the junior high level.”
Bovee also brings the perspective of a former state legislator to the SBE. Before joining the board, she said she didn’t fully understand the power of the state board, but now needs to take her actions on the state board “very seriously.”
Bovee said she feels like she can use her background as a state legislator as a member of the state board. She said she hopes to be an advocate for students of all soceo-economic backgrounds and said she will use her platform as an SBE member to advocate for additional preschool opportunities.