A Busy Week

Dear Superintendents,

After a busy week, I’ll begin by saying (maybe gloating) that next week memos will be sent out for your preview without an update–I’ll be at the Women’s Antelope Hunt. FYI, proceeds from this hunt are used to improve odds for Wyoming women and children. In 2016, the Wyoming Women’s Foundation completed a self sufficiency study that indicates 1 out of 10 households in Wyoming fall below the federal poverty level.

On September 28, Governor Mead signed the first ever proclamation recognizing military readiness and career exploration. Governor Mead, military leaders, and others shared how military service is a viable path for students pursuing STEM careers, college, or lifelong military service. Service to our country is distinctly different from other career paths.  Here is an article about the event. Did you know:

  • The ASVAB (military entrance exam) is an excellent career exploration tool for students not entering the military.
  • Only 3 in 10 youth who pursue military service qualify because of the rigorous entrance requirements.
  • All military personnel have access to college credit and career training opportunities.
  • Wyoming students who serve maintain eligibility for the Hathaway scholarship.
  • The National Guard is an option for students who want to go to college or pursue a career while serving in the military.  In today’s Casper Star Tribune, student athlete and guardsmen, David Schall, was highlighted for his accomplishments in school, military, and football. Here is a link to the article. 
Governor Mead sits at a desk after signing the proclamation as Superintendent Balow, Chief Whipple and General Reiner stand behind him.
Chief Whipple, Major General Reiner, and I as Governor Mead signs the proclamation recognizing military readiness and career exploration
Governor Mead, WDE Staff and members of the Wyoming National Guard pose for a photo outside the Governor's Office.
Guardsmen and Guardswomen at the proclamation signing

Wyoming is one of seven states selected by the U.S. Department of Education to host a listening session for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Additional information will come from Senator Enzi and myself regarding specifics. It’s important that Wyoming is well represented at this roundtable discussion. It is open to all and we will reach out broadly to educators, business and industry, parents, partners, and others. Please make plans to attend and bring your comments about how ESSA is/should be implemented by states.

Save the Date, ESSA Community Roundtable, October 26, Casper

On Tuesday, Governor Mead hosted a Suicide Prevention Symposium. There were only a few educators there—the audience was comprised mostly of survivors, family members, community resource partners, and advocates. Auditor Cloud shared the story of her son’s recent suicide. It is clear that many in Wyoming are interested in “moving the needle” on our suicide numbers, including schools. It will take continued collaboration and new approaches to prevention to truly make a difference. One first step is to talk about suicide–that was the purpose for the symposium.

State Auditor Cynthia Cloud speaking at the Governor's Suicide Prevention Symposium.
Auditor Cloud shares the devastation her family feels after her son’s suicide in March. It is imperative we talk openly about suicide.

We are planning the second Superintendent’s Summit (S5S) and will, once again, ask districts to send four people (superintendent, board chair, principal of the year, teacher of the year or designees) to the event in Cheyenne. This year, our main focus will be on leveraging ESSA to impact transitions into post-secondary. We confirmed UW President Laurie Nichols as a speaker (and that’s just the teaser).

Save the Date: S5S 2017. 2017 Wyoming State Superintendent's Policy Summit, Continued Conversations. Superintendent Balow invites every Wyoming School district to send their superintendent, board chair, outstanding principal, and teacher of the year to join the WDE team for vertical conversations about education from national, state and local perspectives. January 12-13, Little America Hotel & Resort, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Governor Mead signs the proclamation for K9's for Mobility as two black labs put their front paws on the desk, one licking the Governor's face.
Governor Mead is kissed by Roonie the service dog. Roonie will be placed at Davis Elementary School in Cheyenne to assist disabled students.

Memo to be released on Monday, October 3:

Jillian