S5S Highlights

Dear Superintendents,

Good morning and thank you for attending S5S 2017–it was wonderful to see many of you in Cheyenne!  To those who were unable to make it due to calendar conflicts or weather–we missed you! Here are a few highlights:

  • We heard from members of legislative leadership including House Speaker Harshman, Senate Majority Floor Leader Perkins, and House Education Chairman Northrup shared thoughts with the group
  • UW President Laurie Nichols outlined her first eight months in office including realizing a $40 million plus budget reduction and partnering with K12 education
  • Recognized persistently high performing schools (accountability) and Blue Ribbon schools
  • Celebrated the 2017 Wyoming Teacher of the Year, Ryan Fuhrman
  • National ESSA and education update from the Education Commission of the States
  • Breakout sessions with local and national experts
  • We hosted a well-attended legislative reception where educators and partners interacted with legislators.  We had excellent conversations that are certain to be continued.
  • Particpants toured the Judicial Learning Center and attended the Senate Education Committee.
House Speaker Steve Harshman shakes hands with State Superintendent Jillian Balow as he arrives at the podium to speak at the policy summit.
House Speaker Steve Harshman addresses educators at S5S

The 2017 Wyoming Legislature is in full swing.  As you have undoubtedly read and heard, education finance is the legislative priority for this session.  To reiterate, I favor action by the legislature this session to realize savings, cuts outside of the model as well as a one-time revenue infusion into education.  Additionally, I support convening a “super” committee during the interim to work on long-term changes to the funding model.  In essence, it’s vital that changes to the funding model be made in close partnership with stakeholders and with adequate time for input/feedback.

There are a number of important education bills in the queue–unrelated to finance–on topics including the Hathaway Scholarship Program, computer science education, civics, Indian education, online education, and more.  You can view, filter, and track progress of bills at http://legisweb.state.wy.us/lsoweb/session/SessionHome.aspx 

Memos to be released on Tuesday, January 17, 2017:

*There are several memos this week about upcoming trainings.  Know that we are working to combine trainings and training dates to maximize efficiencies and savings for the State and the district.  At the same time we are ramping up the quality of the trainings we provide.  We ask that you and your district staff consider taking advantage of in-state trainings before looking beyond our borders.

Jillian