Thanks to our veterans, active duty military members, and families for their service today and every day! I hope you took an opportunity to participate in community events on this Veterans Day.
We are celebrating ten years of the Hathaway Scholarship Program with Hathaway Day and other events this week and next. Last week, I highlighted a memo with information and resources on the Hathaway Scholarship. An award certificate for 6th graders was included. I encourage you to ensure all 6th graders are presented with the certificate during this school year. Again, the goal is to engage families and support all students on their paths to school and life success.
The ESSA listening sessions continued this week in Gillette. Next week, the Joint Education Committee meets to discuss accountability in Wyoming which is a component of ESSA. A priority of ESSA, and one that I am committed to carrying out in a comprehensive way throughout the planning process, is to ensure ongoing, broad, and meaningful stakeholder input. All voices will be heard and reflected, to the most appropriate extent possible, in Wyoming’s ESSA state plan. In the past, federal law set a framework for compliance. Now, we are called upon to be diverse and innovative in our approach to education. Yesterday, Wyoming EXCELS, a new education initiative, was announced at the Wyoming Business Alliance forum. Here is an article about the initiative. The voice of business and industry is paramount in helping drive education policy, including accountability, standards, and assessment. ESSA input sessions, Wyoming Excels, stakeholder surveys, and other advocacy outlets give us an opportunity to consider voices in new ways.
Coding and Computer Science
There is a memo this week about participating in an “Hour of Code” and Computer Science Education Week, December 5-11. We are excited to highlight both the week and an “Hour of Code.” I, personally, will join an “Hour of Code” at a Wyoming school (TBD) and I’m looking forward to it! Growing the technology sector to diversify Wyoming’s economy is a priority of many including Governor Mead, the Wyoming Career Readiness Council, business leaders, and many communities across our state. Enhanced computer science education and coding in schools is a major step forward that we have not yet taken.
Transitions at the National Level and USDOE
The transition of power to the new U.S. President is underway. As a state chief and new member of the CCSSO Board of Directors, I look forward to potential opportunities to support the Trump administration as they determine priorities, staff the Department, and begin work. A priority of the state chiefs is to ensure that implementation of ESSA remains with the states, not the USDOE. As always, I hope to bring Wyoming and rural education considerations into the discussion at every opportunity.
Memos to be released on Monday, November 14:
- Memo 2016-128: Poetry Out Loud!
- Memo 2016-129: Nominations for PAEMST Award Open
- Memo 2016-130: Hour of Code During Computer Science Education Week