Wreaths Across America

Dear Superintendents,

Earlier this week I participated in Cheyenne’s Wreaths Across America ceremony. The event was particularly emotional for me as my daughter, a soldier, prepares to deploy to the Middle East. The purpose of Wreaths Across America is three-fold: Remember, Honor, and Teach. Remember our fallen warriors and their families. Honor our men and women who serve or have served. Teach the next generation about the price of our freedom. According to the National Assessment for Education Progress (NAEP) only 23% of 8th graders are proficient in Social Studies. Wyoming citizens, including educators, frequently share their concerns about how we prepare students for civic engagement as adults. One way I hope to help in the coming months is to livestream more events like Wreaths Across America so students can join from the classroom.

Preparation for civic life was the primary purpose for establishing public schools in the United States. Students who receive effective social studies instruction are:

  • More likely to vote and discuss politics at home.
  • Four times more likely to volunteer and work on community issues.
  • More confident in their ability to speak publicly and communicate with their elected representatives.

I recently ran across this related resource from the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) that is worthy of sharing with you.

*The inaugural event for Wyoming’s statewide elected officials will be streamed on January 7. Governor Gordon’s State-of-the-State address will be streamed on January 9. Details are forthcoming.

State Superintendent Jillian Balow stands beside a wreath with Wyoming Adjutant General Luke Reiner during a ceremony in Cheyenne.
photo courtesy of Wyoming Military Department
A mix of elementary and middle school students hold their Hour of Code completion certificates and raise their hands in excitement with State Superintendent Jillian Balow, and staff from Microsoft and the Array School of Technology and Design. They are all standing in from of a Microsoft banner.
Microsoft, BEAST Foundation, ARRAY School of Technology, & WDE team up to code after school
WDE staff sit at tables in a filled conference room for the all-staff meeting while a WDE employee leads a flash mob by waving a red and green ribbon wand in the air.
WDE’s Liz Gilbert was the mastermind of the 12 Days of Christmas flashmob at our semi-annual all-staff meeting

Memos to be released on Monday, December 17:

Jillian