Wyoming’s K-12 districts are accredited by the Wyoming State Board of Education annually (W.S.21-2-304(a)(ii)). The schools governed by each district are accredited through the district. Accreditation includes annual requirements as well as an on-site peer review once every five years.
There are 25 accreditation criteria. All are considered in the annual review. The first fifteen are the focus of the on-site peer review. These criteria include:
02. District Leadership
03. School Leadership
04. Stakeholder Communication & Input
05. Employment and Certification
06. Professional Development
07. State Assessment and Accountability
08. School Improvement and Support
09. Programs, Standards, and Curriculum
10. District Assessment System
11. Instructional Methods
12. Learning Supports
13. At-Risk and Dropout Prevention
15. Student Activities
16. High School Graduation
17. Technology and Media
18. Virtual Education
19. Buildings and Facilities
20. Student Health
21. Calendars and Schedules
23. Food Services
24. Finance and Data
25. Student Information Management
The requirements for a district to be fully accredited annually consist of:
- 80% or higher artifact approval
- Approved school improvement plans
- An approved district assessment system
- No unresolved compliance issues
- No unresolved staffing issues
- External review within the most recent five-year cycle
The purposes of accreditation are verification of adherence to statute and continuous improvement of district processes (Chapter 6 Rules). The annual requirements are focused on meeting the requirements of statute, and the external review is focused on evidence-based practices. A document with additional information related to each accreditation criterion is available here.
While the annual accreditation requirements are more reliant on artifacts than Yes/No assurances, assurances may be collected for some statutory requirements.
School Improvement Plans
School improvement plans are reviewed by the accreditation team to verify that they meet the applicable requirements of statute.
District Assessment Systems
District assessment system plans are part of the annual artifacts, and a review is held on-site every five years.
Internal Verification of Compliance
The accreditation section annually surveys all WDE program managers to ensure that there are no unresolved compliance issues across the agency (i.e. data reporting issues, unresolved corrective action plans, etc.).
Staffing data are reviewed annually to ensure that staff are certified and that their certification matches their area of assignment.
Districts have the option to select between the WDE Peer Review team or other approved providers for the on-site external review. Regardless of the external review option selected, all districts have an agency-led, on-site review of the District Assessment System at least once every five years.
WDE Peer Review
The WDE peer review is highly integrated with the annual requirements. The WDE peer review consists of a two-day, on-site visit. District processes are reviewed onsite on a five-year cycle using the Peer Review Workbook. The peer review teams are comprised of 5-7 statewide peers, 2-3 WDE staff, and an external team lead hired by the WDE. The components of the WDE Peer Review are:
- District Presentation: District leaders explain district processes for the first fifteen accreditation criteria. District leaders may include the other ten criteria if they prefer. District leaders provide a presentation along with evidence to show the level of implementation of effective practices defined in the Peer Review Workbook.
- District Artifacts: Districts provide documents and other artifacts to explain the processes being implemented. With a few additions, the annual artifacts are sufficient for the peer review.
- District Assessment System: The team leader and WDE staff ensure that the District Assessment System meets the requirements of Wyoming statute and Chapter 31 Rules.
- Classroom Observations: Classrooms are observed using the rubric in the Peer Review Workbook. The results are used to determine ratings for Criterion #11 in the Peer Review Workbook. There is no data collected other than the team member ratings based on the observations.
- Stakeholder Surveys: The district is responsible for disseminating a stakeholder survey, which provides the district board, leaders, teachers, students, parents, and community an opportunity for input. The survey is anonymous; however, the results are reviewed by the WDE and any derogatory comments about any specific individuals are removed prior to sharing the results with the district superintendent. There are no scheduled interviews during the on-site peer review.
Rationale and Research
A system is “an organization characterized by a set of interactions among the people who work there, the tools and materials they have at their disposal, and the processes through which these people and resources join together to accomplish its work” (Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching). For the purposes of Wyoming accreditation and the district peer review, the system is the interrelated structures, processes, and relationships in these major categories:
- Governance and Leadership (Criteria 01-04)
- Professional Capacity (Criteria 05-06)
- Accountability and Improvement (Criteria 07-08)
- Instructional Program (Criteria 09-12)
- Culture and Climate (Criteria 13-15)
- Services and Operations (Criteria 16-25)
These documents provide rationale and research for the practices included in the Peer Review Workbook.
The foundation for the accreditation criteria is Wyoming Statute, as detailed below:
Wyoming Cowboy Challenge Academy Accreditation Information for School Districts
Wyoming District and School Accreditation Status 2019- 2020
At the June 2019 State Board of Education meeting, the following Wyoming school districts were granted Accredited or Accredited with Follow-Up. Through district accreditation, all schools governed by the listed districts are accredited.
- Albany County School District #1
- Big Horn County School District #1
- Big Horn County School District #2
- Big Horn County School District #3
- Big Horn County School District #4
- Campbell County School District #1
- Carbon County School District #1
- Carbon County School District #2
- Converse County School District #1
- Converse County School District #2
- Crook County School District #1
- Fremont County School District #1
- Fremont County School District #2
- Fremont County School District #6
- Fremont County School District #14
- Fremont County School District #21
- Fremont County School District #24
- Fremont County School District #25
- Fremont County School District #38
- Goshen County School District #1
- Hot Springs County School District #1
- Johnson County School District #1
- Laramie County School District #1
- Laramie County School District #2
- Lincoln County School District #1
- Lincoln County School District #2
- Natrona County School District #1
- Niobrara County School District #1 (Accredited with Follow-Up)
- Park County School District #1
- Park County School District #6
- Park County School District #16
- Platte County School District #1
- Platte County School District #2
- Sheridan County School District #1
- Sheridan County School District #2
- Sheridan County School District #3
- Sublette County School District #1
- Sublette County School District #9
- Sweetwater County School District #1
- Sweetwater County School District #2
- Teton County School District #1
- Uinta County School District #1
- Uinta County School District #4
- Uinta County School District #6
- Washakie County School District #1
- Washakie County School District #2
- Weston County School District #1
- Weston County School District #7
The following Wyoming institutional schools were also Accredited:
- C Bar V Ranch
- Cathedral Home
- Fremont County BOCES
- Northeast Wyoming BOCES, Powder River Basin
- Northwest Wyoming BOCES, Big Horn Basin
- Normative Services
- Red Top Meadows
- St. Joseph’s Children’s Home
- Wyoming Behavioral Institute
- Wyoming Boys School
- Wyoming Cowboy Challenge Academy
- Wyoming Girls School
- Youth Emergency Services, Inc. (YES House)
- St. Stephen’s Indian School