ESSA Implementation Continues

Wyoming Department of Education > Superintendent's Update > ESSA Implementation Continues

Dear Superintendents,

The likelihood that you are busy wrapping up your school year is high – I’ll be brief.  We are close to finalizing dates for several ESSA related events.  First, WDE will host a series of virtual town hall meetings on the ESSA components that have the greatest effect on our state: standards and assessment, accountability, teacher and leader quality, federal funding, and school improvement.  Also, the Select Accountability Advisory Committee will convene as the base external design team for ESSA. This committee, formerly chaired by James Bailey, is now led by Judy Catchpole.  While the main focus for the group will be accountability, we will seek input on the other components as well.  I am conscientious of stakeholder fatigue and see utilizing this valuable group as a way to leverage a group that already exists.

Yesterday, the U.S. Dept. of Education released proposed rules for accountability, data reporting, and consolidated state plans under ESSA.  I have not had the opportunity to thoroughly review the proposed rules but am concerned that more State Chiefs were not involved in the work.  I’ll be attending a series of calls next week with other Chiefs to sort through the rules.  State Chiefs had no prior knowledge of the release.  We received communication when the proposed rules were made public.

This week, I had the honor of touring Ft. Hood Army Base with a group of K12 and higher education leaders from across the nation.  I spent several days alongside enlisted soldiers, NCOs, and COs learning about their jobs and opportunities in the service and as civilians.  For example, we toured the Base hospital and heard from a team of nurses and techs who support the Da Vinci surgical robot.  It was fascinating to learn just how high tech our Army is and how well-prepared soldiers are for college and careers after their service.  Additionally, I had an opportunity to network with other states and military leaders about using the ASVAB as a compass for military AND career readiness.  And, yes, I gladly volunteered to tandem jump with the Golden Knights from 14,000 feet!

Superintendent Balow smiling just before her tandem parachute jump with the U.S. Army Golden Knights.




New Chief Policy Officer
Beginning July 1, Lisa Weigel will take over as Chief Policy Officer for the WDE and State of Wyoming.  She served as a principal and Special Ed Director in Converse County prior to coming to WDE in 2015.  Please feel free to reach out to her with a welcome, questions, or your thoughts.

State Loan and Investment Board
Next week is the last SLIB Mineral Royalty Grants meeting for this biennium.  Many of your communities have requested funding for projects that will enhance business and strengthen infrastructure. Your local council members and commissioners have shared the importance of the projects with me and the other statewide electeds.  Please, if you feel strongly about a project, please get in touch with me before Thursday because, unfortunately, we can’t fund all of the projects.

Memos to be released Tuesday, May 31: