Changing Patterns in Public SchoolsBy Dorris Sander
The history of education in Wyoming dates back to the establishment of the first schools at Fort Laramie and Fort Bridger. Provision for the regulation and maintenance of education was enacted by the first session of the Territorial Assembly, December 10, 1869.

The Education Act of 1871 made the Territorial Auditor ex officio Superintendent of Public Instruction. He was to receive a stipend of $500. The same act created the office of County Superintendent of Schools, and it provided for a county tax of not more than two mills on the dollar for school purposes. This same Education Act further empowered the district school board to provide a separate school for colored children when there were fifteen or more and the County Superintendent approved the project.

The Third Territorial Assembly, in 1873, established the office of a State Librarian to serve as ex officio State Superintendent of Public Instruction. This law was in effect until Wyoming became a state in 1890. The territorial assemblies, concerned about the preparation of teachers, required that the county superintendents hold teachers' institutes of not less than four days or more than ten each year. There was also a concern for a uniform system of education with uniform textbooks for all schools.

The territorial assemblies were concerned about schools other than on the elementary level. Wyoming experimental stations and substations were established. The University Extension Services, with centers throughout the state, were organized. A correspondence instructor program from the university was also started.

Three high schools were established during territorial days. The first was at Cheyenne, in 1875; the second in Buffalo, in 1881; and the third at Newcastle, in 1889. In 1886, the assembly also appropriated $8,000 to establish a school for the deaf and blind when there were twelve applicants. A block of land was purchased in Cheyenne, but a school was never opened. A territorial university was established in 1886, to be financed by a tax of oneĀ­ fourth mill.

When Wyoming became a state in 1890, provision was made for an elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction for a four-year term of office with a salary of $2,000 a year. The State Legislature under the new Constitution was charged with providing for the establishment and maintenance of a complete and uniform system of public instruction, embracing free elementary schools of every needed kind and grade, and a university with such technical and professional departments as the public good would require.

The First State Legislature (1890) established the Wyoming Agricultural College and authorized the University of Wyoming to accept federal appropriations for the support of an agriculture college. Adequate normal school instruction for teachers was sponsored by the university, and high schools began working toward accreditation by the university. The first State Teachers' Association, organized in Laramie, was promoted by the University Extension Association. A Wyoming School Journal was started. Schools in the state prepared exhibits which were sent to Chicago for the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, and teachers and pupils were congratulated on the use of the program of exercises issued by the Youths Companion. Teachers were praised for being supplied with the best educational magazines and papers.

The importance of an accurate school census was stressed so that it could be used in distributing the school land income funds to school districts. Lands granted to the state for the benefit of common schools amounted to about 600,000 acres by 1896.

Other activities prior to 1900 carried on by the schools included Arbor Day, observed throughout the state for the first time on April26, 1895. In 1898, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction recommended that the Legislature make provision for all school children to be supplied with free textbooks. Such a law was passed in 1901. The number of books provided by school libraries increased from 4,240 volumes to 15,210 by 1900. There was great concern over the quality of education offered in rural schools since the greatest number of children in the state received their education in these schools.

The biennial reports of the State Superintendents of Public Instruction from 1900 to 1915 stressed time and again the importance of county superintendents obtaining accurate information from local school districts. However, local district officers were often lax in reporting to the county superintendent. Attempts were made to correct this by establishing a uniform reporting and accounting system by providing printed forms to the districts from the state level.

There were complaints that the State Legislature did not provide adequate funds to carry out the mandates of the school laws. There was also a concern that the salaries of the county superintendents were too low in comparison to other county officials and that the funds provided for running the office were inadequate, especially since there were increased responsibilities placed upon them as the number of children and school increased. It was also noted that one of the most serious impediments to a successful and proper administration of the schools was the low salaries paid to the teachers, as well as the uncertainty of tenure.

During this period, considerable attention was given to teacher certification. The Tenth Legislature gave $1,200 for the biennium to the Wyoming State Teachers' Association to help with the actual and necessary expenses for a yearly teachers' convention. At this time it was also recommended that a law be enacted to provide for teacher's pensions after twenty-five years of teaching, twenty of which should be in the state, or thirty years of experience, fifteen of which should be within the state. The amount of this pension should be thirty dollars a month.

School laws enacted in 1913 provided for a number of changes. Provisions were made for a district boundary board composed of the county superintendent of schools and the county commissioners which could change school district boundaries. Weaker rural districts were aided by a law which provided that county funds be divided according to the number of teachers employed for at least six months instead of on the number of children in the district.

The State Superintendent of Public Instruction was required to prepare a course of study to specify what subjects were to be taught and make the county superintendents responsible for seeing that all schools used it. Schools were required to teach the history, civil government, and geography of Wyoming. It also required that agriculture be taught in all schools.

By 1915, a move was started to organize School Trustee Associations in the counties to promote better education in the state. At this time, also, a law was passed to permit a district to vote annually a sum not to exceed $100 a year for library purposes. The State Department of Education outlined reading courses to promote school libraries and more reading, and an effort was made to promote a traveling library.

A department of Rural Education was established at the University to train teachers for better rural schools. The State Department of Education issued a bulletin, "Building Suggestions for Rural and Village Schools, to encourage the building of better school structures.

By 1915, the state showed an interest in expanding its educational program to adults as well as to children. Schools were established in Rock Springs, Kemmerer, Superior, Cheyenne, and Sunrise for those of foreign birth who wanted to become American citizens.

The Wyoming plan of military training introduced in the Cheyenne schools and later developed in Laramie, Rawlins, attention through an article published in Everybody's Magazine, in 1916, describing the cadet military work started in the Cheyenne schools.

A great turning point for improvement of education resulted from the establishment of a School Code Committee in 1916. A committee of five which made a thorough investigation into the needs of the public schools reported to the Fourteenth Legislature. The investigation consisted of statewide surveys, questionnaires, personal trips of inspection, and school visitations focused on such topics as conditions of school buildings, premises and equipment; financial support of schools; qualifications, living conditions, and salaries of teachers; and quality of instruction.

Public opinion was consulted through hundreds of letters. A. C. Monahon, specialist in rural school administration, and Mrs. Katherine M. Cook, assistant in rural education from the United States Bureau of Education, Washington, D. C., assisted in making a personal survey of the entire school system in the state.

Recommendations coming out of this survey included the following: establishment of a State Board of Education to have advisory functions to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction; maintenance of a State Teachers Employment Bureau with the Certification Division to assist local schools in getting teachers; reorganization of the State Department of Education and clarification of functions, powers, and duties of the State Superintendent by legislative enactment; addition of at least two field assistants whose work would be instructional, advisory, and supervisory to state normal schools, high schools, agricultural, and other vocational schools receiving state aid; making the position of State Superintendent of Public Instruction appointive instead of elective.

The federal survey and the School Code Committee brought about significant changes that laid a foundation for the educational system that the state has today. The 1917 Legislature provided for a nonpartisan State Board of Education that was empowered to employ an executive secretary with professional qualifications to be the Commissioner of Education.

Even though there was a shortage of teachers after World War I, the Legislature passed a law requiring that a teacher had to be a high school graduate if he were to be fully certificated. There was a great need for more money to operate schools and to examine the sources of school revenue in the state.

A Better Schools Conference was held in Laramie, in 1919, by the State Commissioner of Education and a group of county superintendents to work out a plan for standardizing the schools in the state. This resulted in a plan and a bulletin "Standardization of Rural Schools," which was printed and used by more than 150 teachers during the 1919-1920 school year.

The efforts of twenty of those teachers with their school boards were successful as those schools received the yellow and brown shield inscribed with the words "Standard School" that first year. Royal Valley, in Niobrara County, was the first school to receive a shield. In addition, nine schools in Park County were rated as standard schools while Albany, Laramie, and Hot Springs counties each had two schools and Goshen, Platte, Natrona, and Converse each had one.

A standard rural school had a hygienic school plant which was properly lighted, heated, and ventilated. The seats fit the children, and there was a place to hang hats and wraps. The common drinking cup and towel were banished. The playground was a place where children could play instead of just loafing around. Teachers had the ability and training to do good work. The teacher got the school board and the community to work together to improve the school.

The number of standard schools increased steadily, especially throughout the 1920's and the early part of the 1930's. By 1922, there were 64 standard rural schools; by 1923, 94; and by 1924, the number had increased to 141. By 1926, there were 224 with about 50 more almost ready for standardization. There were 1,226 rural schools in the state by the end of 1926. Campbell County had 132, the largest number, while Crook had 124 and Laramie County 92. During the 1973-1974 school year, Campbell had fifteen, with only five of them one-room schools. Crook had seven, six of which were one-room, while Laramie County had two, both with one room.

As early as 1920, the State Department of Education encouraged the consolidation of rural schools. Where possible, they were combined so that there could be two teachers, with one taking the primary grades, the other the upper grades. All counties except Crook, Hot Springs, Johnson, and Teton were transporting children. About 7,000 of 20,000 rural children were being transported to consolidated schools.

By 1930, the number of rural schools themselves had decreased. Even standard schools had closed either because of consolidation with other schools or because the children had moved away or had finished the elementary grades. The standardization program indicated clearly that schools did improve whenever a goal was set for them to reach. At this time a need for raising the standards was evident.

In 1931, standards for a superior school were set up and a metal shield with the words "Wyoming Superior School" was displayed on the building. This type of school required a very high quality of instruction besides excellence in all the requirements for standardization. Four schools met the requirements during the 1931-1932 school year, namely Grass Creek in Hot Springs County; Bairoil in Sweetwater County, and Savery and McFadden in Carbon County.

The standardization program slowed down by the middle 30's, due to the great depression in the country which put a curb on the amount of money available. World War II in the early 1940's also affected the program, as the emphasis then was focused on the war effort and the shortage of fully qualified teachers.

In the early 1950's, attention was again focused on the improvement of instruction. Evaluative criterion for classifying all types of elementary schools was developed in cooperation with teachers, administrators, and state sanitarians. The criterion was revised again to include standards for grades beginning with the kindergarten through grade 12 in high school.

The new standards focused on the community, school faculty, school boards, and State Department of Education working cooperatively, studying and evaluating the offerings of the school with the idea of making the curriculum and instructional program serve the needs of the community.

Evaluations of all schools in the state were completed in the fall of 1970. They started with a self-evaluation by the local school. This was followed by a visit by an accreditation team and a written report to the school board members. Areas evaluated included district organization, administration of the school, instructional program which included teacher qualifications, basic services, and school plant.

Recommendations given to more than one-third of the districts included reorganization and consolidation with other districts, keeping accurate and systematic records, providing more science equipment, raising salaries, developing in-service training programs, coordinating the curriculum throughout the district, and providing more audio-visual equipment.

The school evaluation program of accreditation was again revised and new procedures were implemented in the fall of 1972. The new criterion focused in two areas -the one on statutes and State Board of Education regulations to be checked by the State Department of Education, and the other on the quality of the instructional program based on a needs assessment conducted at the local level.

In 1916, there were 25 four-year high schools in the state. Shortly afterwards a system for accrediting high schools was developed with the University of Wyoming. Twenty-three of these high schools in 18 counties were accredited. County high schools which served more than one district were established at Buffalo, Gillette, Thermopolis, Worland, Lander, Casper, and Douglas around 1920.

The high schools adjusted their activities to the needs of the war emergency program. They carried out a number of functions to strengthen the war effort. During World War I, they focused on food conservation, war savings bonds, Liberty Loans, and Red Cross work. Every drive put on throughout the nation was brought into the schools with gratifying success.

During World War II, pre-flight aeronautics was offered in 32 schools while a few were teaching radio communications. Nearly all of the schools expanded their physical education, science, mathematics, and vocational education programs.

In the spring of 1942, the U. S. Navy Bureau of Aeronautics, through the U. S. Office of Education, launched a project to get 500,000 scale models of combat aircraft for use in training pilots, gunners, observers, and others in identification, distance estimation, and gunner sighting practice. Wyoming accepted a quota of 1,000 models to be delivered to military training sections. During 1943, the state supplied 1,600 models of80 different types.

In the decade of the 50's, with Sputnik going into space, the high schools were urged to improve their science and mathematics courses along with programs for teaching foreign languages. The National Defense Education Act of 1958 provided money to local schools for purchasing additional equipment and for improving science and language laboratories.

In the 60's the State Department of Education entered into a contract with the U. S. Office of Education to conduct a Civil Defense Education program through organized educational channels.

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 was another federal program passed by Congress to strengthen and improve educational quality opportunities in the elementary and secondary schools. Title I focused on disadvantaged children; Title II on aid to libraries: and Title III was designed to bring innovative and exemplary services to schools, while Title IV aimed at strengthening State Departments of Education.

Another federal program that the state participated in reached a group of children that had been neglected not only in Wyoming, but on a national level as well. It is the amendment made by Congress to Title I, which provided money to states for the education of migrant children of agriculture workers. Wyoming has such workers in the irrigated areas of the state where sugar beets are raised. They come from the lower Rio Grande River area of Texas and are here from the last of May until the first of July to hoe, weed, and thin sugar beets. Five week summer sessions were held in Lovell, Riverton, Worland, and Torrington, beginning with the summer of 1969 for about 600 children. In 1972, a summer school for about 70 children was operated at Wheatland. The one at Riverton was dropped in 1974 as the farmers decided not to raise beets when the railroad rates to get them to Worland were raised.

The 1917 Legislature provided a state tax levy for the support of normal training departments in high schools. It amounted to $1,000 per year for the purpose of training teachers. Such departments were opened in Sheridan, Worland, Wheatland, Torrington, Lander, and Douglas during the 1919-1920 school year.

The next school year, seventeen added this program to their high school offerings which helped to get more trained teachers for the schools. Peak enrollments in normal training classes were reached during the 1927-1928 school year, with a total of 386 students.

By 1930-1931 the number began to decline. During the 1942-1943 school year, the normal training departments went down to two, with a department in the Bums High School and one in the Campbell County High School at Gillette. This was due to the fact that more teachers were attending the university or teachers' colleges in surrounding states and were working toward four-year baccalaureate degrees. Finally the normal training departments were all dropped because no students enrolled.

There was a continued effort throughout the years to require all teachers to have at least a baccalaureate degree to be fully certificated. However, there was a shortage of qualified teachers, especially in the rural areas. In 1953, the Legislature provided $20,000 for the reestablishment of high school normal training in Wyoming. During the 1953-1954 school year, only one program was established and that was at Sundance. It had only two students. The law provided that any money not used for programs be used for scholarships for Wyoming teachers to finish work on their degrees at the University of Wyoming. This proved to be a sound investment in obtaining more teachers.

Special education programs for mentally and physically handicapped children were established in 1919. A State Director of Special Classes in the State Department of Education began work in November, 1919.

Surveys were made throughout the state to determine the number of children needing help. The University of Wyoming organized courses for training teachers in this area in 1920. By the
1923-1924 school year, special classes were established in Casper, Cheyenne, Douglas, Kemmerer, Lander, Laramie, Riverton, Rock Springs, Sheridan, Thermopolis, and Worland.

During the 1924-1926 biennium, there was a great deal of concern for giving mental and educational achievement tests for better placement of each child. By 1930 the Division of Special Education, with the cooperation of the Division of Adult Deaf and Blind, began using the audiometer to give group hearing tests. Such tests were given to 1,611 children in the Cheyenne schools and 1,206 in the Sheridan schools. The results showed that 30 children in Cheyenne and 16 in Sheridan needed medical attention immediately for the preservation of their hearing.

Attention was also given to speech correction. During the 1928-1929 school year, 238children were given some instruction in this area. A federal program for vocational rehabilitation for adult handicapped people was started in 1921.

In 1931, the director of Special Education in the State Department of Education was required to give mental examinations to children being considered for commitment to the Wyoming State Training School at Lander. Forty-seven such tests were given during the 1931-1932 school year, and fourteen were committed.

At this same time, attention was also focused on children having serious visual defects. A library of large-print books was circulated by the Division of Special Education for these children. Textbooks used in the school could be secured in large-print editions by schools through the State Department of Education.

During the decade of the 1930's it was recognized that state subsidies to schools for special services to the handicapped were inadequate and the number of classes dwindled.

The Lions Clubs in the state got the 1929 Legislature to pass a law making it the duty of the state to appoint a worker for the deaf and blind. The revised statutes of 1931 required that this supervisor get in touch with deaf or blind adults and to provide instruction for each to help himself to become a useful, productive citizen. A center for the blind was established in Cheyenne in May, 1939, through a Public Works Administration Project. Twenty-four adults were enrolled. During the 1942-1944 biennium, a teacher was hired by the state to teach a half day at the Orthopedic Ward at the hospital in Casper. Twenty-three children from all parts of the state received training. At this same time, the state provided funds for teaching children with normal intelligence who had an illness or physical defect that prevented them from attending school. This was known as the Homebound Teaching Program.

During the summer of 1946, the Lions' Clubs in the state provided a two weeks summer camp for the blind at the Lions Camp on Casper Mountain, which has been continued since that time.

Two days after Sputnik was launched in 1957, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction signed a contract with the U.S. Office of Education to make a complete mental ability survey of the total school population in the state. It numbered 66,526 children. This identified children who were mentally retarded, physically handicapped, and gifted. After this there was a renewed effort in the state to provide educational services for these children. The 35th Legislature appropriated $36,000 for this purpose.

In November, 1959, Casper established a Vocational Rehabilitation Workshop, where mentally handicapped people could work and learn a trade such as furniture repair that would help them to earn a living. Legislation in the early 1960's permitted school districts to establish special classes that could claim reimbursement under the School Foundation program. During the 1963-1964 school year, three classes for emotionally disturbed children in public schools were established at the State Hospital in Evanston, and on January 2, 1963, the Wyoming School for the Deaf in Casper opened its doors to twenty-seven deaf children. This number increased to fifty the next school year.

During the 1960's there was a change in the philosophy of special education. Rather than isolate handicapped children in special classes, learning resource teachers and teachers for children with learning disabilities were added to school staffs. They cooperated with classroom teachers in helping these children work with the so-called normal children in the regular classrooms. The state has made considerable progress, especially during the 1950's and 1960's, in providing educational programs for all children regardless of their learning disabilities.

The Division of Vocational Education was established in the State Department of Education in 1917. It focused on agriculture, home economics, trades and industry, occupational information, guidance, and distributive education. The first courses in agriculture were established in Lander, Sheridan, Wheatland, Torrington, and Lovell. An essential feature of the course was to give the boy actual experience on a farm through assuming the management of some part of the home farm.

The first stock judging contest for high school students was held at the university in January, 1922. By 1932 there were thirty-one high schools in the state offering vocational agriculture. Federal funds, provided through the Smith-Hughes and George Reed Laws, paid about 18 percent of the cost of these classes.

Future Farmers of America clubs were organized in thirty-one communities. These clubs started speech contests in 1929. The Union Pacific Railroad, recogn1zmg the value of vocational agriculture, has granted a scholarship to a vocational agriculture student in each county traversed by the railroad, to the University of Wyoming since 1926.

In 1936, the university gave scholarships to other boys for outstanding work in their supervised farming. In the early 1940's the Wyoming State Future Farmers ranked among the best in the nation. During the 1941-1942 school year, Wyoming was one of five top groups to receive the Gold Emblem award at the 14th National FFA Convention in Kansas City. Every one of the forty-one vocational agriculture departments had active FFA chapters.

During World War II some of the vocational agriculture programs closed down due to the lack of qualified teachers. As the qualified teachers returned from the war, they opened again.

The Wyoming Association of Future Farmers started a Sheep Improvement Project during the 1943-1944 school year. Two flocks, one registered Hampshire at Sheridan and the other registered Corriedales at Buffalo, were purchased with money provided by Sears Roebuck Foundation. The next year the flocks were moved to two other schools. This project gave the boys an appreciable start in the registered sheep business, and it helped them improve the quality of flocks and breeding animals in the areas.

The highest enrollment in vocational agriculture was during the 1967-1968 school year with 1,715 students in 47 of the 76 high schools in the state.

A home economics program was started in two schools, Lovell and Lander, during the 1919-1920 school year. At first there were not enough federal funds to start home economics programs so those that were started were supplied by the state. Evening classes were held for adults and were offered in millinery, garment making, food preparation, and home nursing.

A home economics supervisor, who was hired in September, 1923, worked four months for the State Department of Education promoting home economics in the schools. The remainder of the year she worked for the university, training home economics teachers. When the George Reed Act came into being, in the fall of 1929, the State Department of Education hired a full-time home economics supervisor. After that, the home economics programs were steadily growing in the state. By 1968, there were 66 home economics programs in the high schools and 58 prevocational junior high school programs. Future Homemakers clubs were organized in 1945 in schools with home economics programs.

Trade and industrial education was focused on programs to fit the student, to carry on successfully in gainful occupation. The George Deen Act of 1937 provided federal funds for programs for those who planned to enter selling occupations. This program flourished for three years and then was discontinued due to World War II. After the war, it was reinstated on a half-time basis. In 1947, aided by the passage of the George Borden Act, it attained full-time status, with a state supervisor.

Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), comparable to Future Farmers and Future Homemakers, were organized in 1950. Other programs under the Vocational Department included business education, technical education, industrial arts, guidance services, veterans' training programs, manpower development training, and occupational education.

By 1970, the basic philosophy of vocational education had changed to one focused on a comprehensive career education in Wyoming schools as a part of the curriculum for all students from kindergarten through grade 14 in the junior colleges. The goal was to have every student leaving school develop the skills necessary to give him a start in earning a living for himself and his family even if he left before completing high school.

The Wyoming Exemplary Career Education Development Project (K-14 - Kindergarten to Grade 14) was located at Riverton. This program developed into a model for other districts within the state. It emphasized career awareness and attitude development toward the world of work in the primary grades (K- 3); career orientation and information in the upper elementary grades (4-6); career exploration and actual experiences in the junior high schools (7-9); and career preparation in the secondary schools and junior colleges (10-12 or 14).

School district reorganization has been a gradual procedure in Wyoming since about 1920. At that time there were over 400 districts in the state. Most of them were small. By the beginning of the decade of the 1960's, there were fewer than 200. The decrease was largely due to the joining of two or more rural districts to form larger ones and the annexation of rural districts to larger unified ones -ones providing a program of kindergarten through grade 12. This was done by the local people themselves. But this progress was not enough to erase or reduce materially the great disparity in the ability of local districts to finance their schools. The difference in educational programs was correspondingly great. It was recognized that much more needed to be done to bring about school districts that had enough pupils to operate complete programs from the kindergarten through grade 12.The cost had to be reasonable to permit the school foundation program to bring about a degree of equalization in educational opportunity and the equalization of school support that it was designed to accomplish.

At that time, there were two legal provisions that could be used for school district reorganization. One was the School District Reorganization Act of 1947 and the other District Boundary Board Act. While both methods had been used, the first one was entirely permissive and was rarely used. The second one was mandatory but was used only when the board was convinced that reorganization was needed.

The 1969 Legislature brought about far-reaching educational changes by the passage of the new 1969 Code of Education. It was a revision of all statutes dealing with public elementary and secondary education. Chapter 6 of this code required that by 1972 all school districts in the state be organized into unified districts offering an educational program from kindergarten (or grade 1) through grade 12. This meant that districts had to have efficient administrative units considering primarily the education, convenience, and welfare of the children.

The initial planning was to be done at the local level by county planning committees composed of one representative of every district in operation on December 1, 1968. Approval or rejection of the county plans was to be done by the State Committee on School District Reorganization which was the State Board of Education. The State Committee was authorized by law to reorganize any territory not covered by an approved county plan after December 1, 1971. Through several boundary board actions and a few county plans, school district numbers were reduced from 165 in 1968 to 125 in the fall of 1970. On June1, 1972, there were 44 unified school districts, four special high school districts, and one elementary district not supporting a high school, or 60 districts. Fremont and Big Horn counties were in litigation but with their reorganization the number of unified districts would be approximately 40.

School district reorganization resulted in significant changes for improved education for all schools. The new, reorganized unified districts have larger areas for a better tax base and a larger school population. Such districts can provide programs beginning with kindergarten through grade 12 with enough children on each level to result in more flexibility in the operation of all necessary schools in the district. Elementary and secondary school staffs can build continuous coordinated and articulated instructional programs from kindergarten to grade 12, or even grade 14, if the district has a community college.

The district can provide equitable salary schedules with improved stability and morale for all school personnel. Also, such a district can provide an instructional program with diversified subject offerings and activities to permit every child to develop his interests, skills, and abilities. Adequate testing and guidance services can be provided to help professional staff members evaluate each pupil. A continuous long-range health program for each child can be developed. Records of immunizations can be kept, also records of medical, sight, and hearing examinations. There can be dollar savings through centralized purchases, consolidation of insurance programs, efficient bus routes, unified lunch programs, and uniform publication of legal notices. Coordinated, unified library and media services to stimulate the entire instructional program can be provided to all of the schools. There can be better evaluation and teacher effectiveness through defined roles and responsibilities.

All schools, including rural, in the district can receive the specialized services in such areas as music, art, physical education, and guidance. The school nurse and librarian or media specialists can extend their services. Where there is a small number of rural schools in a new, unified reorganized district, the specialized staff of the main school includes the rural with the elementary schools in their itinerary of visits and services.

The new school code abolished the office of County Superintendent on December 31, 1969, after having served the state for one hundred years. The County Superintendents performed an important function in developing the backbone of the educational system, but as the numbers of rural elementary districts became a part of the unified K-12 districts, many of their functions were taken over by the administrative staffs. Those districts, still having a number of rural schools, hired a staff member called a rural coordinator whose responsibility was to work with the rural schools. This was true in Crook, Sheridan, Campbell, Albany, Teton, Converse, and Hot Springs counties.

Carbon County School District #2 submitted a federal experimental school education plan which was accepted. This was a unique project for improving education in rural areas and was one in six given in the nation. The plan focuses on the development of a community involved educational program that not only provides enriched activities for the schools in the area but better services for the adults as well, such as continuing adult education programs, recreational and cultural programs, better health and sanitation, medical and dental services for rural areas, better library services, and youth programs.

A conference for rural school coordinators, which was held in Cheyenne in September, 1972, focused on services available from the State Department of Education and other state agencies such as Public Health, State Library, and State Historical departments. Other topics receiving attention were teacher certification, media services, federal resources for rural areas, and services to handicapped children.

The decades of the 1950's and 1960's were times when many changes in education were taking place in the state. Considerable emphasis was placed on improving the quality of education through the different types of instructional programs, curriculum development, school district organization and reorganization, financial support, business and statistical management, higher education, kindergarten and pre-school education, occupational and career education, education and services for the handicapped and for children with learning disabilities, teacher education and certification, education for the disadvantaged, Indian education, migrant education, school plant planning, guidance and pupil personnel services, safety and driver education, food services and nutritional programs, use of various media for learning, leisure time activities for youth, and continuing education for adults.

With the availability and use of federal funds to provide financial resources that local districts could not afford, much was accomplished. School boards have taken their responsibilities seriously, and many have given considerable time to their jobs. Parents and patrons have been willing to become involved and have given of their time for volunteer projects. There has been a growing interest in recognizing that education is a continuing process throughout life and not ending with graduation from an elementary, secondary, or higher education school.

During the latter 60's and 70's, many schools changed from the formal textbook teacher-dominated programs to the openĀ­ concept type of school, where children work together in multi-age groups and have access to a variety of media. In this type of program, children assume responsibility for using their time wisely and for learning.

New schools were built without permanent walls separating the space into rooms for individual grades. Even walls in older buildings were removed to make large open spaces where the children could work in groups and have easy access to a materials center containing a variety of textbooks and library books, film strips, films, pictures, games, tape recordings, other recordings, transparencies, and other related materials.

The role of the teacher has changed from that of a dispenser of knowledge to a director or guider of learning. In a number of schools, the teachers plan and work together in teams. In this way, teachers work in the areas where they have the greatest strength and skill.