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Published April 24, 2023
The Wyoming State Board of Education (SBE) voted last week to move discussions forward in partnership with Gov. Mark Gordon, Superintendent of Public Instruction Megan Degenfelder, the Wyoming Department of Education and the University of Wyoming College of Education on piloting new instruction and assessment strategies for Wyoming students.
The pilot programs align with recommendations made by the governor’s Reimagining and Innovating the Delivery of Education (RIDE) Advisory Group, Degenfelder’s strategic plan goals, the SBE’s Profile of a Graduate and UW’s Portrait of an Educator.
“This collaborative approach is the next important step in our efforts to implement new ideas and approaches to learning, as well as responding to the input Wyoming residents have provided about ways to better prepare our students for the future,” Gordon says.
Pilot programs would be voluntary for schools and, ideally, launch this fall. The focus will be on increased competency-based learning, in which students can move through standards at a unique pace; project-based learning, with completion of standards by solving real-world problems; and work-based programs, predicated on credentials and partnerships with industry.
The community-driven pilot efforts are intended to respond to the desires expressed by Wyoming communities in preparing students for a shifting economy and evolving world.
“I spent all of last year traveling the state and listening to school districts, community leaders, parents and students about the need to innovate within our public schools. The willingness of the governor, SBE and university to partner with us on this call for innovation is the key to our state achieving student-centered education that best prepares students for the workforce,” Degenfelder says.
The work ultimately will inform policy changes needed for assessment, accountability and standards.
“Our listening carefully to educators across Wyoming reveals a hunger for student-centered innovation and competency-based approaches to teaching and learning,” UW College of Education Dean Scott Thomas says. “This deliberate collaboration represents a signal moment for innovating education and advancing children’s learning throughout the state.”
The vote by the SBE will allow these entities to work together to finalize pilot details in an expedited fashion.
“The vote by the state board to partner with the governor, state superintendent and the university marks a pivotal moment in its commitment to the vision of the Profile of a Graduate,” SBE Chairman Bill Lambert says. “The board appreciates the leadership of each of these partners in recognizing that not only what students learn, but also how they learn and apply it, impacts their preparation for life after high school.”