Coders of the West

Dear Superintendents,

We are excited to report a successful Coders of the West pilot that connects K-16 students with industry in a project-based computer coding “camp.” I had the opportunity to speak to the aspiring coders and one student asked the all important question, “Why did you choose coding as an education initiative?” My response was along this line:

The ability to code is a skill that indicates a student is literate in what is “behind the curtain” on our computers and smart phones. It’s a skill that is becoming more sought after by higher education, business, and industry. As Wyoming looks for ways to diversify its economy, we need look no further than our future; our students. When we equip students with skills for tomorrow’s world, like coding, diversification is organic. The work to grow technology as a viable economic sector in our state is underway with facilities and upstarts like NCAR, Microsoft, Greenhouse Data, Gannett Peak, Ptolemy, and others. Coding for all students and intensive pathways of advanced coding for some students is the goal and Coders of the West helps build the momentum around this initiative.

Coders continues this week and ten students have elected to be mentored by industry partners throughout the school year.

Students in a computer lab working on their coding skills.
Coders of the West in Sheridan

The WDE recently released the 2017 Wyoming Digital Learning Plan for public comment at http://edu.wyoming.gov/tech. The plan is designed to support districts in providing equitable education opportunities for students through the use of digital learning knowing that quality of digital learning as well as access are challenges we all face. The Plan is a culmination of input received from a statewide listening tour, digital learning readiness surveys, and focus groups. On area emphasized in the report is the need for professional development. The final plan will be released on October 1, 2016.

Additional Updates:

ACT scores will be released Monday, August 15, 2016.  Here is a link to the media announcement. Thank you to school districts and the WDE Assessment Team for successfully transitioning to the ACT Aspire test which was administered almost exclusively online in 2016.

Finally, the next ESSA virtual town hall meeting, on federal funding, will take place on Tuesday, August 16, 2016. Please take a time to review and share ESSA information posted on the WDE website at https://edu.wyoming.gov/educators/accountability/federal-school-accountability/  .

Memos to be released Monday, August 15:

Jillian