Wyoming’s K-12 districts are accredited by the Wyoming State Board of Education annually in accordance with 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 24 accreditation criteria. All are considered in the annual review. The first fourteen are the focus of the on-site peer review. The criteria are:
- Governing Board
- Central Office Leadership
- School Leadership
- Climate and Safety
- Stakeholder Relations
- Human Resources
- Accountability and Improvement
- Professional Development
- Content Areas, Standards, and Curriculum
- District Assessment System
- Instructional Methods
- Learning Support
- At-Risk and Dropout Prevention
- Student Activities
- High School Graduation
- Technology and Media
- Virtual Education
- Buildings and Facilities
- Student Health
- Calendars and Schedules
- Food Services
- Finance and Data
- 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.
While the annual accreditation requirements are more reliant on artifacts than Yes/No assurances, assurances may be collected for some statutory requirements.
Annually, districts provide links to artifacts to verify adherence to Chapter 6 Rules and Regulations by November 1. The list of artifacts is provided to districts.
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 (e.g., 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 14 accreditation criteria. 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.
The foundation for the accreditation criteria is Wyoming Statute, as detailed below:
Wyoming District School and State Funded Accreditation Status 2022-23
Wyoming Cowboy Challenge Academy Accreditation Information for School Districts