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UW Planning, Programs, Support Education Summit Goals

August 3, 2009

The Wyoming Education Summit scheduled Aug. 5-6 in Cheyenne has ties to actions identified in the University of Wyoming's recently adopted University Plan III, says Rollin Abernethy, UW associate provost and chairman of the state's P-16 Education Council. The council, in cooperation with the Wyoming State Board of Education, co-sponsors the Education Summit.

The summit's key focus is to better understand Wyoming's school drop-out issue and to develop strategies to reduce the number of school drop-outs and improve high school graduation rates.

Abernethy says UW's latest planning document, University Plan III, includes sections that foster communications with secondary school teachers and administrators to help increase graduation rates of Wyoming schools. For example, he says the College of Education's Wyoming School-University Partnership has broadened its role in organizing and sponsoring statewide high school and college teacher workshops in the life sciences, writing and reading, and mathematics.

Many UW academic departments host or participate in regular, statewide articulation conferences with professional colleagues at Wyoming community colleges.

"We continually urge our UW faculty members to involve high school teachers in their academic discipline to participate in the articulation conferences," Abernethy says.

The university offers several educational experiences to encourage students to consider finishing high school and attending college after graduation. The Engineering Summer Program, Astronomy Camp, School of Energy Resources Energy Summer Institute and Summer High School Institute are among programs that expose students to the benefits of obtaining a high school degree. UW sponsors or supports competitive programs that engage Wyoming students in academics, including the State Science Fair, Wyoming History Day, State Geographic Bee and Mathcounts.

In addition, UW delivers federally-funded TRIO and Gear-Up programs to help support high school completion and college entry, Abernethy says.

The Education Summit also reflects the P-16 Council's core goals of increasing high school and post-secondary completion rates, he says.

"With our membership representing early childhood through post-secondary education, workforce, business, community and legislative leaders, the council is well positioned to effectively support implementation of outcomes from the summit," Abernethy says.

For example, he cites the council's efforts to improve critical transitions such as from middle school to high school, and between high school and college. The council also strongly supports the Hathaway Scholarship Success Curriculum as a rigorous and engaging high school curriculum for all students.

The State Board of Education and Wyoming P-16 Council believe increasing the high school graduation rate is an issue that requires the involvement of community members, parents, business leaders and national experts.

"We have to come together from across the state to hit this issue full-force," Wyoming Board of Education Chairman Bill Anthony says. "It's only through a coordinated effort that we are going to be able to make a difference and the state board is dedicated, with the P-16 Council, to leading this charge and affecting change."

Participation in the summit is by invitation only and includes education stakeholders, legislators, policy makers, community leaders, tribal leaders and many others.

Posted on Monday, August 03, 2009

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