Temperatures are soaring, and it's time for educators around the state to beat the heat at the annual Wyoming Department of Education's (WDE) Summer Technical Assistance Retreat (STAR) at the Casper Hilton Garden Inn, July 30-31.
"STAR is a great opportunity to hear about the latest updates to federal programs from WDE program managers," said Sheridan County School District #1 Curriculum Director Sara McGinnis. "In addition to answering questions and sharing new processes, WDE program managers are also willing to meet with district representatives to answer individual questions as needed."
STAR is sponsored by the WDE, and is free to participants for the first time. It will feature a mix of comprehensive breakout sessions from grant and program coordinators, the Brustein and Manasevit Law Group, Special and Distance Education specialists, and content experts.
STAR is intended to help guide districts through the complex maze of federal compliance procedures, including deadlines, guidance, and necessary reporting measures.
"This retreat has been designed to provide very specific information to grant and business managers, administrators and superintendents," said WDE Federal Program Grants Management System Supervisor Darlena Schlachter. "We (WDE) get together as a group and along with input from districts, figure out how we can better serve the districts--what's of interest to them and what's going to make their jobs easier."
Brustein & Manasevit will kick off Tuesday with back-to-back sessions including an update on changes to federal education programs and federal grant issues regarding EDGAR/Grants, and a breakout session on Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA).
Concurrently, CTE Programs Supervisor Guy Jackson and Education Program Consultant Linda Scott will provide details on the 2013-2014 Perkins Grant Requirements.
Federal programs Division Administrator Dr. David Holbrook will follow the morning sessions with an update of Title I that will include funding predictions.
The afternoon will resume with updates to Title I, Part D from Consultant Kenya Haynes, and a roundtable discussion led by Distance Education Consultants Lachelle Brant and Scott Bullock.
The afternoon's second breakout session is focused on legal advice for the Title III program, which provides federal funding to help educational entities improve results for children who are emerging bilinguals. There will be a continued session devoted to Title III/WIDA Technical Assistance Trainings and future Professional Development opportunities.
Upon ESEA Waiver approval, Implementing Turnaround Principles in Focus and Priority Schools will provide attendees with some suggested interventions and turnaround strategies as Wyoming transitions away from AYP.
Schlachter will open Wednesday's program along with the Consolidated Grant Team by breaking down the Consolidated Grant Program. They will cover what's changed, what's at the forefront of monitoring, best practices, additional guidance, followed by a Q & A period.
After the break, WDE Test Development Program Manager Tammy Schroeder and NAEP Coordinator Will Donkersgoed will outline the latest developments concerning state assessments and linking studies.
Title III School Improvement Grants Manager Beth VanDeWege will present the newest information on School Improvement Grants, while a PD session convenes on Common Core Fraction Progression. An introductory PowerPoint and Facilitator's guide designed for professional development around the Common Core fractions progression in grades 2-6 will be provided.
An additional breakout session will examine the three dimensions of Text Complexity, as defined by the Common Core, and how the guidelines impact text selection and student expectations.
The morning will adjourn with an update on the ESEA Waiver Flexibility Request, depending upon the status of and progress of the waiver.
Wednesday wraps up a second opportunity to participate in the Distance Education roundtable. The intent is to collaborate and identify the strengths and challenges of Wyoming's K-12 distance education funding system. Suggestions to improve the system will be incorporated into a formal survey and the results will be presented to the State's policy makers for consideration.
There will also be a Personnel Evaluation Systems Update that will outline the evaluation models required by WAEA.
Last, but by no means least, WDE Title I System Project Coordinator Randall Butt will present an overview of the Grants Management System. WDE intends to provide training and information based upon district audience needs.
"We listen a lot to what districts need and want," said Schlachter. "When we go for the Consolidated Grants Monitoring in the districts, they tell us what their needs are and in conjunction with on-site findings, we try to pull together a conference that is based on those needs."
"For new curriculum directors or consolidated grant managers, this is a great way to receive necessary information and network with people around the state," added McGinnis.
To register, log on to: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/STARRegistration-WDE or email Trisha Sparks at firstname.lastname@example.org.