Governor Matt Mead has signed and approved amendments to rules and regulations regarding Wyoming’s statewide standards for Math and Social Studies, high school graduation requirements, and district and school accreditation.
“Many stakeholders willingly came to the table to make sure all of these rules were updated to the benefit of Wyoming students, including agency staff, state board members, educators, administrators, higher ed, industry, and parents,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “The ultimate beneficiary is our students, and having good policies and standards like these in place creates an equal opportunity for every student to learn, regardless of where they live in Wyoming.”
“I am extremely excited to have the rules for graduation requirements signed by Governor Mead,” said State Board of Education Chairman Walt Wilcox. “I’ve heard from many districts that have been looking for this guidance and they are eager to get it in place. A thumbs up to the WDE staff that has been working hard on all three of these chapters of rules. Districts are also looking forward to having content areas in place from the work of the standards review committee, and with this approval they can begin aligning their curricula for their teachers and students.”
Standards define what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade
level in every subject. The math standards were reviewed as part of the approved timeline, which ensures all content areas are reviewed at least once every nine years. The social studies standards were reviewed following the passage of a law in 2017 which called for the inclusion of Native American history, culture, and contemporary contributions in the standards. Additionally, the science extended standards for students with significant cognitive disabilities were approved. State law allows up to three full school years for the implementation of standards.
“I am so pleased by the contributions of our Wyoming educators in reviewing and amending our statewide standards,” added Superintendent Balow. “We can confidently say that our math standards align well with industry and higher ed, and thanks to the contributions of many tribal members, we know that our social studies standards will present a complete picture of Wyoming history to our students.”
The revisions to the graduation requirements were made in response to a change in state law. The changes include the elimination of the tiered diploma system, identification of the required components of each district’s assessment system, and the establishment of a consultation process between the SBE and local school districts. Additionally, changes to the rules would give districts more flexibility to help students meet the graduation requirements. These rules will be in effect beginning with the Class of 2019.
The update to the accreditation rules was necessitated by changes to state and federal law. The rules are meant to ensure that Wyoming school districts meet statutory requirements intended to improve student learning, and ensure equity of opportunity to learn. They also now include a description of the process by which Wyoming school districts are annually accredited by the SBE. The 2018-19 school year will serve as a pilot year for this new accreditation process.
Superintendent Balow said that the new accreditation process allows for cost savings for the state and flexibility for school districts,
“Bringing the accreditation process back in-house allowed us to eliminate an expensive contract, and lets districts have more say in how their external reviews are conducted by introducing a peer review option,” she said. “These changes mean we are doing more to make sure schools are doing the best they can for their students while spending less.”