CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) announced Tuesday the Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy (WCCA) in Guernsey received its educational accreditation from AdvancedEd, a national non-profit organization that accredits educational institutions based on standards of quality. Of all the National Guard-sponsored ChalleNGe programs, WCCA is the seventh academy to gain full accreditation.
Credits students earn while attending WCCA are now more easily transferable back to students’ home school districts and will count toward graduation. Several Wyoming schools are AdvancedEd accredited in addition to state accreditation.
“I am thrilled to see the Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy gain accreditation,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “WCCA gives each cadet who chooses to attend the academy the opportunity to explore many careers and trades, all while achieving their GED or earning credits toward a diploma.
“This was an incredible partnership we forged with our military, and we look forward to continuing to build on this accomplishment,” Balow added. “Wyoming succeeds when all of our students succeed.”
“Now that WCCA is accredited, we are looking forward to partnering with all Wyoming school districts in providing at-risk youth and non-traditional learners additional options for advancing their educational achievement,” said WCCA Director William Moore. “WCCA’s goal is to maximize a student’s credit recovery so they can rejoin their respective classes and graduate from high school. For those young men and women that can no longer achieve a traditional high school diploma, WCCA aims to provide them with the opportunity to obtain a GED and vocational education that will aid them in joining the Wyoming workforce.”
A congratulatory cake to celebrate the Board of Education’s and the Wyoming Military Department’s effort to earn accreditation for the Guard-sponsored Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy. State Superintendent of Education, Jillian Balow has been a strong advocate of military readiness for the state’s students and for ChalleNGe students' ability to earn high school credits while enrolled at the 5 1/2 month program for at-risk youth, based at Camp Guernsey. “You are one of the best education partners we have worked with,” Balow said to the military leaders at the Feb. 12 ceremony at her office in Cheyenne. “This is just the beginning, not the end.” Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jimmy McGuire
“We’ve been working toward accreditation for some time. I’m pleased our staff’s hard work allows us to continue to provide our state’s at-risk youth an alternative to dropping out of school, while partnering with Wyoming school districts to ensure they are college, career, and military ready,” said Major General Luke Reiner, Wyoming’s adjutant general.
The mission of the Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy is to provide a safe, disciplined and professional learning environment that empowers non-traditional learners (ages 16-18) to improve their educational level and employment potential and become responsible productive citizens.
The WDE has developed a fact sheet to help answer questions school district might have, such as how this accreditation impacts districts when a student attends WCCA, then transitions back to his or her home district. This document will be updated as necessary.