After nearly a year of work, a committee has completed a draft set of science standards for K-12 students in Wyoming.

"This (41-person) committee worked together from beginning to end, with the needs of our schools and our state at the forefront of their work," said Superintendent Jillian Balow. "Input from citizens was embraced by the committee from the first town hall meeting to valuable input provided by science and business professionals."

"We think that public input is essential to establishing education policies that work for Wyoming," said State Board of Education Chairman Pete Gosar. "We're happy to report that we used that process in this science standards review."

Balow says the new science standards are designed to replace 13-year-old standards.

"These standards certainly represent updated information with a heavy emphasis on inquiry, on STEM and cross-cutting the scientific topics, so that students have a more robust and round view of science," said Balow.

As you may recall, a previous attempt to review the state's science standards was halted because of controversy over the use of Next Generation Science Standards and how they addressed climate change.

"The committee looked at the current Wyoming standards, they looked at eleven other state's standards, they looked at the NAEP framework and the Next Generation Science Standards," said Committee Facilitator Laurie Hernandez. "It seemed to be unanimous that they wanted to use the Next Generation framework as a starting point to build off of, and then from there they did make considerable changes throughout."

The committee said in a statement, "We are confident that these science standards will provide an important foundation for Wyoming graduates locally and globally."

The State Board of Education will review the draft standards when it meets on March 17-18 in Hulett. If the board decides to move forward with the standards, further public input will be collected.

"It's very exciting to see not just the committee, but the whole state really take a deep dive into the review and the development of these standards," said Balow. "We're very excited for the next step."

Christopher Furlong, Getty Images