IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

New Online Portal Connects Wyoming Schools to Civic Ed Programs

A collaboration between the Wyoming Department of Education and the University of Wyoming has yielded a new Civics Ed Center, an online portal of statewide and national educational resources.

glasses, pen and sticky note saying "civic education" sitting atop a keyboard
(TNS) — The launch of a new Civics Ed Center aims to connect Wyoming public schools through a central online portal, where teachers can research civics education programs that have proven useful in other parts of the state.

The Wyoming Department of Education collaborated with the University of Wyoming’s Malcolm Wallop Civic Engagement Program for this initiative, which promotes civics education in K-12 classrooms as part of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Megan Degenfelder’s 2023-27 Strategic Plan.

Degenfelder announced the official launch of the Civics Ed Center at the state Capitol on Monday, where she fielded questions from the media about the program.

“We cannot become complacent here in America,” Degenfelder said. “And that is why civics education is so critical to our education system.”

The state superintendent said her goal under this initiative is to bring “patriotism back to the classroom.”

“I worry that there are too many children across the country growing up without a love for America,” Degenfelder said. “I want to be clear when I say patriotism, I don’t mean chauvinism or nativism. I don’t mean that we must teach them that America got everything right.”

She said it’s critical to teach students “the many mistakes in our country, because only then can we talk about the tremendous progress.”

Degenfelder described the Civics Ed Center — which can be accessed at — as a “one stop shop” for civics education curriculum. It contains both Wyoming-based and national resources, which are aligned with the Wyoming Content and Performance Standards and the State Board of Education’s Profile of a Graduate.

This initiative supports teachers in the classroom, who can get overwhelmed with the different curricular options and civic organizations available, Degenfelder said. Instead of creating another curriculum requirement that would add to a teacher’s workload, this tool acts as a resource of available civics programs in Wyoming that teachers and parents can learn more about.

UW Malcolm Wallop Civic Engagement Program co-Director Jason McConnell said the Civics Ed Center kind of acts like a search engine. It provides a list of available civics programs cross referenced with state standards by curriculum.

“So, you’re interested in content standard two for social studies in Wyoming,” McConnell said, “the page it’s going to take you to is going to give you a list, that’s going to not only reiterate what that standard is, it’s also going to give you the list of every other organization in the state of Wyoming that’s doing something relevant to that standard.”

The modules of the program are split into categories based on state content performance standards, SBE’s Profile of a Graduate, Wyoming-based organizations involved in civics, and national organizations or resources.

A cabinet of stakeholders appointed by Degenfelder worked on the initiative. The cabinet was made up of social studies teachers, parents, district school board members the SBE chairman and nonprofit representatives. It was co-led by Malcolm Wallop Civic Engagement Program co-Director Jean Garrison and WDE supervisor of standards Barb Marquer.

A subgroup of the cabinet traveled to school districts across the state to interview stakeholders about what was and wasn’t working in their classroom. McConnell said there were people who had no idea about existing programs “doing a lot of neat work” in other areas of Wyoming.

“It feels like folks are working on their own little separate island, separated from everyone else, focused on this very important task,” McConnell said. “Easily one of the most gratifying parts for me of the subcabinet’s work was being able to learn about what each of these groups are doing across the state.”

Park County School District 6 school board member Jessica Case, who was also on the cabinet, said it’s for easy for school districts to become isolated in the rural state, as far as education planning goes.

At the same time, not every civics program is the best fit for every school district, she added.

“As fun as it is to dream up something new and big,” Case said, “it’s better to make it fit with what’s already happening and what’s already working.”

©2024 Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (Cheyenne, Wyo.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.