CHEYENNE – The Wyoming State Board of Education approved Chapter 3 Emergency Rules of Practice and Procedure around the state’s accountability requirements at its meeting on April 23.

Wyoming Statute 21-2-204(d)(vi) gives the board the authority to grant an exception to accountability requirements for a school – for one school year – when the school demonstrates that it was unable to administer the statewide assessment (WY-TOPP) for good cause, like the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency rules offer a streamlined way for districts to request this exception for all of the schools in each district. Emergency rules expire 120 days after the effective date.

The board also discussed options for continued work to create performance standards for Computer Science. Members agreed there was a need to formalize definitions of key terms, like performance standards, prior to creating Computer Science performance standards for grades K-12. The Stakeholder Engagement Task Force, which will  meet April 30, will work to solidify definitions of key terms. Those definitions will be presented to the board at its May meeting.  Once finalized, these definitions would then be applied during the process to update standards in other subject areas.

The Computer Science Standards Review Committee will use the definitions to establish performance standards that will accompany the Computer Science content standards approved by the board in November 2019. The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) presented a timeline estimating the board could approve the performance standards by mid-fall. School districts have until the 2022-23 school year to align curriculum to the standards.

“While it may seem as though the process for finalizing performance standards for Computer Science standards is slow, the AG’s opinion on standards that the SBE received in the middle of promulgation, has identified that all of the content standards would benefit from better clarity of terms,” said SBE Chair Ryan Fuhrman. “This is foundational work, and once completed will serve not only the Computer Science standards, but all content standards for the state.”

The board cancelled the request for proposal to study the effectiveness of the Wyoming Accountability in Education Act on Wyoming’s educational system in compliance with the recent directive from Governor Mark Gordon to halt the award of general fund contracts of more than $100,000. In addition, the board discussed ways to decrease overall board expenses and the potential for unused funds to support the additional work of the Computer Science Standards Review Committee.

WDE staff presented its implementation process for the Adapted Learning Plans, which school districts were required to create for the continued education of students during school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The next board meeting is scheduled for May 22, 2020 and will be held virtually. For more information about the SBE and its mission, visit https://edu.wyoming.gov/board and follow the SBE on Twitter at @WYStateBoardEd.

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Media Contact:
Dr. Thomas Sachse
(307) 752-1900
tom.sachse@wyo.gov