As the school year begins, here are a few stats from our great state and beyond:
- 93,029 students were enrolled in Wyoming’s 48 public school districts in the 2018-19 school year. This was a slight increase from the 2017-18 school year.
- State data for 2019-20 enrollment will be collected on October 1.
- About 56.6 million students will attend elementary, middle, and high schools across the United States during the 2019-20 school year.
- 50.8 million students in public schools
- 5.8 million students in private schools
- About 19.9 million students will attend colleges and universities in fall 2019.
- 11.3 million female students
- 8.6 million male students
When a tragic shooting occurs in our nation there is an unfortunate urge to place blame and focus on only one or two aspects of safety. However, it is critical to approach student safety from a broad-based perspective — addressing a range of preventative and safety measures both at individual schools as well as at the district and community levels. One size never fits all, especially in Wyoming which is why I am active at the national and state levels to ensure that all communities (large and small) are represented in the conversation and that safety also encompasses student well-being.
There is no way to confidently predict human behavior, even when it comes to safety in our schools. However, there are tools, actions, and strategies that can reduce incidences of school violence and help create safe and supportive school environments that address the needs of all students. I remain committed ensuring Wyoming’s communities have the knowledge, tools, and resources to help ensure our students are safe. As part of this commitment, there is a memo this week with a link to a school-level survey. We need to better understand what steps Wyoming schools are currently taking to evaluate risks related to school violence – this is a first step. Please encourage principals in your district complete the survey by September 23, 2019.
At the national level and following the deadly attacks in Dayton, OH, and El Paso, TX, in early August, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tasked the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) with identifying ways to improve school safety. On Aug. 9, Senate HELP Chairman Lamar sent a letter to Committee members, asking for input on how to prevent future school shootings. This is on the heels of a report released by the Federal Commission on School Safety in early 2019. I look forward to staying abreast and involved in the national discussion, as well as discussions here at home.
Memos to be released on Monday, August 26:
- 2019-089: Threat Assessment Survey
- 2019-090: Final 2019-2020 ESSA Consolidated Grant Allocations
- 2019-091: 2018-19 School Performance Confidential Reports Available
- 2019-092: Hathaway Technical Assistance
- 2019-093: Annual Accreditation Due November 1
- 2019-094: Constitution Day September 17, 2019