A Productive WDE

Dear Superintendents,

Not overshadowing the biggest news of the week, the opening of Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi, it was a productive week in Wyoming education.

WY-TOPP

Work continues at the state level to prepare for WY-TOPP. This week educators met to discuss the WY-ALT items, our Info Management team worked with school districts to ensure tech readiness, and the Assessment team fielded specific questions and concerns.

Thank you for continued commitment to a successful roll out of the new assessment!

ESSA State Plan:

The 120-day clock is ticking for review and approval of our state ESSA plan by the USED. At this point USED and our staff are corresponding, exchanging documents, and clarifying various aspects of the plan.

Separately, a number of independent organizations are reviewing ESSA plans. One such review by Bellwether Education was released earlier this week. Here is the Bellwether report for all states including Wyoming which received an average rating. The independent reviews are insightful in some ways but one should be cautious of any independent report comparing state plans because:

  • ESSA shifts authority of education from the federal government to states and local districts. As such, states uniquely leveraged strengths and addressed challenges in their plans. There is not one right way to address education at the state and local levels.
  • 100% proficiency goals under NCLB led to over testing and a focus on compliance. Wyoming is focused on growth, equity, and attaining achievable and ambitious goals based on where our students are today.
  • Using one comprehensive accountability system (ESSA and WAEA) is a priority in our state. Our ESSA plan meets all federal accountability requirements while our state accountability system is more comprehensive. Not all aspects of our state accountability systems were included in our ESSA plan because they weren’t required.
  • ESSA provides opportunities for states to revisit target levels and goals regularly.
Wyoming Department of Education employees sit at tables filling a conference room during the all-staff meeting.
WDE holds an all staff meeting twice per year. Today’s meeting was informative, festive, and energetic
School Construction Director Del McOmie holds a proclamation from Governor Matt Mead recognizing the opening of Pine Bluffs Elementary School alongside State Superintendent Jillian Balow, the school's principal, and the district superintendent.
Supt. Abrams officially opens Pine Bluffs Elementary School this week

A crowd stands outside the front of the new Pine Bluffs Elementary School during the ribbon cutting ceremony, including the school children, who are holding purple and yellow balloons.

Memos to be released:

Jillian