School choice and parental input in education are becoming prominent topics nationwide. In Wyoming, the Wyoming Charter School Authorization Board (WCSAB) was created this last legislative year to bring more high-quality educational opportunities to the state. 

Two new charter schools were approved by the board this year. Wyoming Classical Academy in Mills aims to provide “an exceptional American education” and Prairie View Community School in Chugwater’s mission is to provide individualized project-based education geared towards its rural population. 

Laramie is home to one such charter school, the Snowy Range Academy (SRA), which opened in 2002. The Academy performs above state and district averages regularly (to search school report cards, click here).

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Principal John Cowper said parent involvement is what makes SRA a unique school. “Parents must support their students,” he began. “We (SRA) are set up with our own operational parameters. We have different curricula and different discipline expectations, and the parents are really involved with them.”

“Parents are first teachers. They’re the most important teachers in a student’s life. They need to do their part so we can do ours,” he said. 

The WCSAB says “Public charter schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative in exchange for being held accountable for advancing student achievement.”

Cowper stressed that SRA cooperates with the district. “We’re different, not better. It’s a public charter school, where all students are welcome to attend. It doesn't cost anyone extra to attend. We are required to do the same as all public schools.”

The same high standards are required of all schools in the district, and differences among each school greatly depend upon populations and crucial parent involvement. 

“We have some different realities among the other schools in the district, and I respect that. My respect goes out to all teachers. For successful schools, parents must support their students.” 

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