Wyoming’s Draft ESSA Plan

Dear Superintendents,

The biggest news of the week is that a draft of the ESSA State Plan was released for review and public comment. We are beginning to receive feedback already. My hope is that every school district and advocacy group will set up a process and time to review, discuss, and provide input on the plan. We will continue to seek meaningful consultation and input through community meetings, listening sessions, external work groups coordinated by WDE, and stakeholder conferences. Still, this is not a substitute for reviews and comments sparked by your leadership at the district and school level. Wyoming’s draft ESSA plan can be found here. 

Also of note is a vote by the State Board of Education one week ago to move forward with statewide accountability work (in fulfillment of HEA61) using the same foundation for post secondary readiness, goals, and support as articulated in the ESSA plan. This means we are moving toward a single, coherent accountability system versus two as was the case under No Child Left Behind.

Sixteen students stand smiling on a stage in suits and gowns with their National Honor Society medals around their necks during their induction ceremony.
St. Stephens students are inducted into the first ever NHS class

I traveled to Washington, DC, this week and met with Secretary DeVos. Generally, our discussion centered around Title funding and budget cuts, school choice, and ESSA. We started a positive and productive dialogue about education policy, vision, and initiatives. The small group of state superintendents took an opportunity to reiterate how diverse our states are and how important flexibility and state authority is under ESSA. I proudly represented Wyoming and rural education in the meeting and emphasized our strengths and challenges.

State Superintendent Jillian Balow with U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos at the U.S. Department of Education

There are a number of memos this week that are worthy of your review before they are publicly released on Monday. One is a survey about accreditation. We are asking each district to submit one survey by May 22. The work should be led by you or your designee. Results will help us to determine the best path forward in light of mandatory budget cuts to the agency.

Finally, our summer conference and training schedule is mostly set. Be sure to look our website for annual and new professional development opportunities.

Memos to be released on Monday, May 1, 2017:

Jillian