Elementary Education Degree Pilot Program Expands

January 20, 2010

A pilot program to help Wyoming community college associate degree recipients to obtain elementary education bachelor's degrees from the University of Wyoming is being extended to reach more people.

The Statewide Pilot Elementary Program (SPEP) was launched in 2006 to meet the state's demand for elementary education teachers and to meet a need for state residents to complete their bachelor's degrees where they live, UW College of Education Dean Kay Persichitte says.

"With help from the UW Outreach School, students from across Wyoming are able to extend their education and complete a bachelor's degree in elementary education," she says.

The SPEP delivers the final two years of the elementary education degree program over a three-year period to provide flexibility for non-traditional students who must balance education with the demands of their families and employment.

SPEP is now progressing beyond the pilot stage. The next cohorts will be eligible to enroll in the Statewide Elementary Program (SEP) for the fall semesters of 2010, 2011 and 2012.

"We're delighted to be able to continue this program and reach more prospective teachers across Wyoming," Persichitte says.

"We had hoped for more cohort participants in the pilot but we recognize we're meeting a need for a special population of state residents who want to earn a bachelor's degree in elementary education. We also recognize that the ability to sustain the program depends on students being able to plan for the completion of their four-year teaching degrees."

Bringing students together for such a program is feasible only with a common starting point and a common schedule for all students in the program. The program will continue to operate as a cohort, meaning students will be required to take all courses as a group according to the program schedule. All students must also meet certain prerequisite requirements before the cohort begins.

The cohort enrolled in 2008 comprises 12 students from 11 Wyoming communities. The 2009 cohort enrolled 26 students from 18 Wyoming communities.

"We recognize that not everyone in Wyoming who wants to continue their education and earn a bachelor's degree is able to relocate to Laramie to do so," UW Outreach School Dean Maggi Murdock says. "Our mission is to deliver a University of Wyoming education to students wherever they are in the state and in their lives. We're excited to partner with the UW College of Education to deliver this statewide elementary education degree."

Following is a list of Wyoming communities in which one or more cohorts are enrolled in this program:
Burlington, Casper, Cheyenne, Cody, Cowley, Dubois, Gillette, Green River, Guernsey, Laramie, Meeteetse, Mountain View, Moorcroft, Newcastle, Osage, Pavillion, Riverton, Rock Springs, Sheridan, Torrington and Wheatland.

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