On March 12, 2002, the Wyoming legislature passed and the Governor signed Enrolled
Act No. 27 designed to address the Wyoming Supreme Court decision in
State of Wyoming, et al, v. Campbell County School District
, et al, 2001
WY 19, 19 P.3d 518 (Wyo. 2001). Section 14 of that Act provided:
The joint education interim
committee shall provide a forum for facilitated discussion of data requirements,
data composition, data quality and data quantity issues pertaining to the operation
of the education resource block grant model, school prototypes contained within
the model and adjustments to the model prototypes. The forum shall be facilitated
by group facilitation professionals who shall assemble appropriate expertise in
school finance data issues, including representatives of school districts, both
large and small, urban and rural, and representatives of the division of economic
analysis of the department of administration and information, state department of
education, the department of audit, the department of employment and consultants
to the legislature performing cost of education studies. The facilitator shall provide
a report to the joint education interim committee on or before June 15, 2002.
Vision Statement Wyoming has a nationally
recognized education data system that is uniform, trusted, effective, efficient,
and user-friendly; it reflects and advances Wyoming values, assists a wide variety
of policy leaders to make fully informed decisions, and helps provide a remarkable,
high quality and equitable education for all Wyoming students.
Pursuant to that Section, in April 2002, the Co-chairs of the Joint
Education Committee (JEC) established the Data Forum and invited the participants.
They also asked Dick Gross of the Consensus Council (CC) and Policy Consensus Initiative
(PCI) to facilitate the Forum. The Data Forum participants met twice in May 2002
to engage in a facilitated process.
In order to achieve that vision, and implement that goal and the other agreements
developed by the participants in the Data Forum process, the participants requested:
- That the JEC endorse the facilitated process of the Data Forum.
- That the JEC endorse the agreements-vision, goal, objectives and strategies-the
Data Forum participants have developed.
- That the JEC authorize a continuation of the process initiated by the Data Forum.
- That the JEC encourage Data Forum participants to continue to work with the state
agencies and other organizations needed to implement the agreements.
- That the JEC draft legislation required to implement the Data Forum agreements.
- That, if the JEC has concerns about any of the agreements developed by the Data
Forum, the facilitator be authorized to work with the participants to address those
concerns before any action is taken by the JEC.
- That the JEC encourage/authorize an analogous process(es) to address other education
Based on the response of the JEC to its June 2002 report, the DFF assumed as its
mandate the implementation of agreements that had been developed during its May
meetings. Therefore, this report summarized progress that has been made in that
direction. It is important to note that none of those who had initially agreed to
participate in the DFF anticipated five rather than two meetings. Nevertheless,
to the extent they were able, they attended, participated and helped to further
the implementation of their agreements.
Relative to student assessment, as indicated in the June 2002 report to the JEC
it is not possible to overemphasize the need for a uniform student performance tracking
system in Wyoming. Such a system will be invaluable to students, parents, educators,
employers and others who have a stake in the outcomes of education in Wyoming. It
is intended by the DFF that the system be fully compatible with the current Body
of Evidence system, federal requirements and Schools Interoperability Framework
The DFF participants learned a great deal about the potential for a SIF system.
They agreed that this system, in development among a group of innovative states
including Wyoming, has the potential to be put in place in Wyoming in a relatively
short time frame. SIF would allow for common language for data stored within districts
and passed to the WDE, thereby reducing some of the confusion inherent in disparate
systems. Together with the student performance tracking system, it has the potential
to lift Wyoming to national prominence in meeting—and exceeding—federal and state
While the DFF process has taken a significant forward step in helping stakeholders
in Wyoming education develop agreements on education data issues, it is a first
step only. In order to continue the progress made by the DFF, the participants encourage
ongoing and new advisory groups to WDE (and perhaps to the Wyoming legislature)
that would operate on a consultative basis to develop continuing agreements on other
aspects of education in Wyoming, including student demographics, educational technology,
finances (already in place) and personnel.
Rather than this group or the WDE selecting an advisory group, districts were asked
for volunteers in the following categories:
- Student demographic data (to include Vocational Education and Special Education
- Certified and classified personnel data
- Technology Data
- Financial data (the “Data Advisory” group) ALREADY EXISTS but costs are not covered
by the state
We would convene one large group with complete representation in the spring. The
smaller groups (above) would be comprised of at least six and no more than 12 representatives.
These groups would also meet in the fall and spring and would informally communicate
on an as needed basis.
Purpose of the large convening:
- Opportunity for the WDE to receive input from district staff
- Updates on data issues related to funding model
- Updates related to general data issues (e.g., SIF steps, student level data)
- Review of WDE website reporting tools
- Review on new technologies (e.g., staffing application)
Purpose of the smaller groups:
- Communication can be more informal, conducted by e-mail and done on an as needed
basis (groups will be smaller, allowing for quicker response time to issues that
require a short turn-around)
- Provide feedback on issues, tools, and collection processes for each data area
- Will allow the WDE staff to let districts know when data is being provided to requestors
and will allow districts to help us explain the legitimate uses of the data
- Provide the WDE with a pilot group to help improve data collection surveys and the
documentation that must accompany them
- Allows for primary contacts for product development
- Provides trainers in a train the trainer model