Teachers are Real Heroes

Dear Superintendents,

For starters, next week is Teacher Appreciation Week. A special thank you message is included in this week’s memos and I ask you to send it to all teachers in your district. We will also celebrate teachers all week via social media. Please share your teacher appreciation photos, articles, and messages with us by tagging us on Twitter (@WYOEducation) or sending via email to kari.eakins@wyo.gov for us to share.  We will use the hashtag #thankateacher and incorporate the theme, “Teachers Are Real Heroes.”

2016 Teacher Appreciation Banner

A Special Message from Chief Policy Officer, Brent Young

I appreciate the opportunity that Superintendent Balow has given me to share this message with all of you today.

I have been given the opportunity, pending board approval (all you Supts and HR directors get that), to be the principal of Alta Vista Elementary School in Cheyenne, Wyoming for the 2016-2017 school year.  I want to thank all of you for the opportunity I have been given to be a part of your leadership community over the past year and a half.  I remember my first opportunity to stand in front of you as Chief Policy Officer and talk about who your systems turn to for support.  The answer you shared with Brent Bacon and myself was, “Each other.”  It was only a short time after that conversation that I realized you all were inviting us to be a part of that “each other” group.  I believe they call that shared leadership!

It has been an honor for me to represent Wyoming education and I have benefited greatly from your collaboration.  Together we’ve driven some stakes in the ground on some new opportunities that will benefit the students in our schools.  I’ll look forward to seeing these opportunities grow and move from where they have started.  My perspective of your great work will be from a different view and I look forward to that in the years ahead.

Collectively, you are in a great place.  I can’t express enough thanks to Superintendent Balow for the opportunity to share in her vision and to be a part of a great WDE team.  I wish you all the greatest of success with each and every one of your students.  I’ve learned, first hand, what you all  give of yourselves for this to happen, and it will inspire me to do the same for the students at Alta Vista Elementary.

Other Updates

The final report from the Governor’s Marijuana Impact Assessment Council was released this week. As a member of the council, I enlisted a subcommittee of primarily K12 educators to compile the chapter about the impacts of legalized marijuana on education. Names of subcommittee members and the research begins on page 61 of the report hyperlinked above. Wyoming’s Joint Judiciary Committee will undertake the topic during this interim. I encourage you to keep a pulse on the discussion and reach out appropriately to committee members and other legislators about the topic. Incidentally, several reports about the legalization of marijuana in Colorado directly contradict one another.

Next week a subgroup of the Wyoming Career Readiness Council will attend a meeting to discuss next steps in the Career Readiness Initiative. At the meeting, we may tweak our goals and plan to align with Wyoming’s economic changes. We will also have an opportunity to work with a national coach and other states also participating in the initiative.

ESSA work is underway and intensifying each day as we receive additional guidance from the federal government and our education partners. In the coming days, we will ask you to participate in a virtually delivered stakeholder meeting to provide input on Wyoming’s implementation of ESSA, particularly priorities and strategy. Superintendents are a KEY stakeholder group and your input throughout the process is essential. ESSA is beginning to seep into every conversation we have about how education looks in the future. It is not designed to be incorporated into what we do but, rather, to become the new way we lead students to success. As always, please reach out with questions, requests, or comments.

2016 Arbor Day
Meyjl M from Lovell won the Arbor Day poster contest
Principal Hillman from Powell and others talk PLCs with the SBE
Principal Hillman from Powell and others talk PLCs with the SBE

Memos to be released Monday, May 2:

Jillian