About the Wyoming State Board of Education

The Wyoming State Board of Education was established in 1917 to set key educational policies for Wyoming’s K-12 districts. It is an independent body, appointed by the Governor to represent stakeholders throughout the state, including Wyoming’s more than 90,000 students. The board is responsible for setting key policies in districts related to state standardsschool accreditationaccountability and assessments to help ensure that all students have equal access to a quality education. The board also strives to promote a passion for education, a culture of achievement and create new opportunities for students to reach their greatest potential. The board works closely with the Wyoming Department of Education, which implements many of the policies the State Board of Education is responsible for setting.

The board is mainly seated by 11 volunteer regional representatives, appointed by the governor for staggered six-year terms. There are currently two additional ex-officio members, State Superintendent Jillian Balow and executive director of the Wyoming Community College Commission, Jim Rose. The board will soon add an ex-officio member from the University of Wyoming. Citizens and partners in education have direct access to board members and are invited to offer input at any time.

Priorities

In addition to its other statutory responsibilities, this year the board is working on Wyoming Content and Performance Standards, and system of support for the Wyoming Accountability in Education Act:

  • The board will be presented the opportunity to officially adopt Wyoming Content and Performance Standards for Science. Throughout the last year, the Wyoming Department of Education has gathered stakeholder input by conducting interviews, community meetings and working closely with a Science Standards Review Committee.
  • The board will work with the Wyoming Department of Education and other partners to explore the expansion of civics education in Wyoming schools, and the promotion of a greater understanding of Wyoming’s tribal culture and history among native and non-native people.
  • The board will review the system of support strategic plan developed by a collaborative council, which includes representatives from the Wyoming Department of Education, districts and educational organizations. The system of support will include universal guidelines and remedies to support and drive a high level of performance among administrators and teachers, and will be rolled out as part of the Wyoming Accountability in Education Act.
  • The board will review policies, rules, regulations and statute related to board responsibilities, including accountability, assessment and standards review.

Later this year, the board will work on accreditation, budget, alternative school schedules and adopting policies of governance. It will also update the State Board of Education’s strategic plan, with a focus on system of support and collaborative partnerships.

Every Student Succeeds Act

Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015. This legislation includes several mandates aimed at improving educational outcomes across the U.S., but without the onerous requirements associated with the now defunct No Child Left Behind Act. It was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate.

The board supports this new law for a number of reasons, most notably because state and local leaders now have greater flexibility and local authority to close the achievement and opportunity gap. The board is working in partnership with the Wyoming Department of Education to explore how ESSA will enhance strides in accountability and assessments, among other things.

Looking Ahead

The Wyoming State Board of Education will continue working on a variety of important issues throughout the next several years. In addition, pending 2016 legislative outcomes regarding the Wyoming Accountability in Education Act, the board and districts may execute the following:

  • Work with legislative partners to align policies, roles and statutes.
  • Report to the legislature on statewide education governance structures.
  • Finalize content performance standards in science.
  • Implement strategic board goals.
  • Continue to champion issues related to early childhood education and American Indian education.
  • Work with the Select Committee on Statewide Education Accountability to implement elements of the Wyoming Accountability in Education Act, perhaps most notably, the Statewide System of Support

For more information about the board’s current work, please visit our meetings page to view agendas and supportive materials.