Hathaway Changes to Include the Arts and CTE
Wyoming Department of Education
CHEYENNE - After seven years on the sideline, a pair of highly respected academic tracts are getting into the Hathaway game. Fine and Performing Arts as well as Career and Technical Education (CTE) now have a place in the Hathaway Scholarship Success Curriculum.
The Hathaway Scholarship Program was created by the Wyoming State Legislature in 2006 and offers merit-based scholarships to Wyoming high school students. Those who complete the success curriculum can receive from $800- 1,600 per semester to attend a Wyoming Community College or the University of Wyoming. According to the University of Wyoming's Website, the cost of tuition and fees is roughly $2,200 per year.
Nearly 5,500 students a year use the Hathaway to attend college or community college in Wyoming.
Before the latest Legislative session, Fine and Performing Arts as well as CTE courses didn't have a place in the Hathaway Success Curriculum. Now, students who take these courses may apply them to the Success Curriculum. In previous years, students looking for the top two tiers of Hathaway Scholarship money were required to take four years of math, language arts, science, three years of social studies and two years of a foreign language.
Starting with the Class of 2016, the bar has been raised by the Legislature for the top two tiers of the Hathaway Success Curriculum. Previous requirements remain in effect, with the addition of either two more years of foreign language, two years of CTE courses or two years of Fine and Performing Arts.
Students looking for the bottom two tiers of Hathaway scholarship money no longer need to demonstrate a foreign language proficiency and may now take two years of either Fine and Performing Arts, CTE courses or foreign language.
Julie Magee is the Standards and Accountability Division Administrator for the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) and said in the past teachers in the Arts and Career fields felt their programs were being negatively impacted by the foreign language requirements.
"Every year since I have been in Wyoming (June 2008) there have been groups who have lobbied the Legislature," Magee said. "Some schools had stated that the foreign language requirement was cutting into programs such as Career and Technical Education and Fine and Performing Arts, and students were being forced to choose between the top two levels of Hathaway and taking something like drama or vocational agriculture."
Dr. Jim Verley works with the WDE as the consultant on Fine and Performing Arts, as well as Science. He said research shows Fine and Performing Arts enhances academic achievement. He said the change in the Hathaway Scholarship Success Curriculum allows those who see the arts as a viable path to a career or enhanced college experience can now be rewarded for their efforts.
Verley said those who have been trying to get Fine and Performing Arts into the Hathaway Success Curriculum were happy to see their efforts being valued by the Legislature.
"They were ecstatic," Verley said. To have the State and Legislature acknowledge that they have some real value in the educational system made them very, very happy."
Magee said the 2013-14 school year will help the WDE and Legislature to get an understanding for how well the new requirements are working at the district level. She said one of the concerns she has heard was the fact the new course requirements may force smaller schools to offer more sections of courses such as foreign language. She said in the past, the WDE has worked with schools to include various courses in the Success Curriculum. She expects the state's education agency to continue that practice if districts have trouble meeting the needs of the student.
"We at the Department of Education are working on a waiver process for the coming school year for districts that show it is impossible to offer multiple sections of the additional courses," Magee said.
Magee said students who were freshman last year (2012-2013) will be the first class which will work within the new requirements. She added those students will need to work out their scheduling sooner-than-later if they are interested in attaining the top two tiers of the scholarship.