ESSA Community Roundtable

Dear Superintendents,

The WDE continues to welcome new educators and subject matter experts into key positions—our team grows stronger every day! First, Shelley Hamel joins us as the new Director of School Support. She previously served as the Special Education Director in Douglas—her leadership is a mainstay in Wyoming education and we are fortunate to have her lead work in CTE, federal programs, and more. Next, Laurie Hernandez was appointed as the Interim Director of Standards and Assessment. She successfully led the science standards committee work –she’s the right person to lead staff and stakeholders through this transition.  Mike Flicek, who works with WDE on a number of data and assessment projects, will temporarily fill the role of assessment administrator. We intend to conduct a national search for a new assessment administrator. Meanwhile, Laurie and Mike will oversee the RFP and statewide assessment procurement work.

Upcoming ESSA Roundtable

We are nearly finished planning the ESSA roundtable with the United States Department of Education. As you’ll recall, the USDOE selected Wyoming as one of seven states to seek feedback from during a “listening session.”  Here is a tentative agenda for the event.  It will be held October 26 at Casper College. Please plan to attend and invite others to join you. This is a unique opportunity for Wyoming’s education voice to be heard.

Dr. Rebecca Watts, Exec Director of the UW Trustees Education Initiative, Canyon Hardesty and Dr. Mark Stock of UW, and Superintendent Balow stand at the podium after presenting at the Rural Education Forum
Dr. Rebecca Watts, Exec Director of the UW Trustees Education Initiative, Canyon Hardesty and Dr. Mark Stock of UW, and I represent Wyoming at the Rural Education Forum

Rural Education Forum

This week I attended a convening for rural education.  Chiefs from rural states met in Ohio to discuss ESSA implementation, Native American education, equity in rural states, teachers as leaders, and more.  I am enthused about the direction we are headed as a nation and grateful to have strong State Chiefs in rural states. The next president of CCSSO is South Dakota’s Melody Schopp and I expect to see rural education leaders continue to have a distinct voice at the table.

WeTip to Safe2Tell

Below is a memo for Wyoming Safe-2-Tell. This program REPLACES the WeTip program. Please advise building principals and/or school safety coordinators to remove WeTip posters and information. The Department of Homeland Security, the Attorney General’s Office, the Wyoming Legislature, and the WDE have worked for quite some time to put this program in place and we are all anxious to roll it out.

Teachers Hunt and More

Finally, last week was the 4th Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt. It was an honor to co-chair the event with Chief Justice Marilyn Kite. The event is also a fundraiser for the Wyoming Women’s Foundation which lends its support to self-sufficiency among women by providing resources, scholarships, and information. 37 of 45 hunters filled their tags. I gave lots of shout outs to the teachers who hunted, guided, and/or volunteered.  It was very neat to have educators at the event!

Superintendent Balow smiles while posing for a picture with three hunters.
Wyoming teachers/first time hunters received scholarships to participate in the Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt–All three had a successful hunt!

Memos to be released Monday, October 17:

Jillian