Update from Superintendent Balow: A Big Win for Big Horn

Good Afternoon,

Given your busy schedules, thank you for considering next week’s S5S: A New Conversation conference a priority. We are very excited to host this first-of-its-kind event. My goal was to have 100 attend and today we are at 150 and counting! We are in close contact with speakers, panelists, and moderators and the enthusiasm is high. I am confident you will find your batteries recharged with inspiration, information, and opportunities. A couple of late additions include messages from members of our federal delegation, Governor Mead’s attendance the morning of January 14th, and a national CTE speaker.

I traveled to Big Horn this week to celebrate their status as one of the top 500 high schools (Newsweek, 2015). One of my personal goals for 2016 is to regularly and frequently visit schools. As I plan travel to communities for meetings and events, you may receive a call from Rita to coordinate visits. Most of you know that when I visit I really like to say hello to staff and students, talk with you about salient issues, visit classrooms, read to kids, pass out coloring books, speak, or whatever else you have in mind. Also, if you have an event (celebration, graduation, etc.) where you would like me to attend or speak, please contact Rita so we can work it into my schedule. Winter travel and a full schedule are my biggest challenges and I thank you for your patience.​

Reading to 1st graders
Reading to 1st graders
Celebrating with BHHS Principal, Ben Smith
Celebrating with BHHS Principal, Ben Smith

The legislative session is less than one month away. We have done an excellent job during the interim to move the work forward so our focus is what matters: increased opportunities for students to succeed:

  • assurances that our schools in most need of intervention/improvement have the supports they need
  • school funding
  • safety and security
  • accountability
  • increased Hathaway opportunities
Additionally, I look forward to conversations and possible action in a number of other areas including early learning, support of Native American education, Civics education, and more.
I also look forward to seeing you and our many partners in education during the legislative session. Please remember the doors at WDE are open and we welcome you and your colleagues anytime. We have several conference rooms and connectivity if you need a place to work or land for a few hours.
The 2016 Quality Counts report was released this week and ranks Wyoming 8th in the nation.  Please find the media release from WDE here.  It includes links to the full report and Wyoming highlights. This screenshot will pique your interest:
Quality Counts 2016
from Ed Week, Quality Counts report

Finally, here is the memo that will be released on Monday, January 11, 2016:

Many thanks for all you do!
Jillian