I was hoping to be able to say this round that “Spring has Sprung!” But given the recent weather relapses, apparently not. Hopefully by the time you get this, things will have changed. In the meantime, we’ll hold off on any premature proclamations.
Nonetheless, we hope these final days of school prove smooth and productive as you wind things down in your districts, and do let us know how we can better support and serve you here at the WDE. Thank you for all you do.
Vision & Focus
In terms of the prospects of casting the first glimpses of a vision for our Wyoming schools, it will of necessity be rooted in identity (the character of the Wyoming people), courage (the tenacity of our school leadership), clarity (regarding the purpose and priority of education) and commitment (to being the very best).
To reiterate, the contention that Wyoming is poised to lead the nation in education does not mean that it will, it simply means that it can. Identity, courage and clarity only set the stage, they do not determine the outcome. Like anything else in life, commitment will ultimately determine that. Vision gives birth to commitment, and commitment sustains focus. We need both, vision and focus. To be continued …
The Primary Priority
On the Teacher Apprenticeship initiative, we met with Governor Mark Gordon on May 18 to present key details and aspects of the draft framework. I am pleased to report that he was excited about what he heard, and very affirming about the prospects of what this initiative can mean for our schools across the state.
We’ll continue to keep you posted about next steps as progress happens. The desire at this point (knock on wood!) is to pilot Phase One this fall in three school districts (small, medium and large). We welcome any related thoughts or questions; reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In The Spotlight
The WDE Deaf and Hard of Hearing Outreach team, consisting of Billie Wortham and Christy Fritz, uses on-site visits and data to identify areas of need in educational services for students with hearing loss across the state, from birth through grade 12. To address these needs, the team provides a high level of personalized technical assistance, training, coaching, and resources. This team recognizes a significant need in early intervention services to support language and early literacy skills.
Addressing these needs has led to the creation of a ground breaking service model in Wyoming called the Wyoming Early Intervention Initiative Plus Program (WEII). WEII Plus will officially be rolled out on July 1, 2022 During the nearly three years development, strong partnerships between the WDE, Wyoming Early Hearing Detection and Intervention, Early Intervention and Education Programs, Wyoming Families for Hands & Voices, Child Development Services and the Marion Downs Center.
Billie and Christy, thank you for all you do!
On the Road, In The Field
This week’s travels took me to two wonderful districts, Sheridan #2 and Sheridan #3, headed up by Superintendent Scott Stults and Superintendent Boyd Brown respectively. Both of these seasoned leaders have learned a lot in all their years of service and have much to share. For my part, I gained a wealth of knowledge and perspective interacting with them and picking their brains, and came away (again) inspired by and grateful for the interactions.
It was very apparent how blessed both districts are, having some very special teachers and staff. Moreover, the Professional Learning Communities philosophy that both districts embrace is a thing of beauty when done right, and bears incredible fruit on so many levels. While many schools across the nation have become some of the most toxic places on earth for a kid to have to endure, these two districts live out the dynamics of what a healthy (not perfect) community in the school setting looks like. Two more examples of why Wyoming schools can lead the nation.
Mark Your Calendars
The Wyoming State Board of Education (SBE) has launched a second round of public input sessions around the Profile of a Graduate initiative. The public can provide input on a draft profile created utilizing statewide input received during the first round of listening sessions. The Phase II virtual vetting sessions will take place on the following dates:
- From 4-5 p.m. on May 23; register here.
- From noon-1 p.m. on May 26; register here.
- From 8-9 a.m. on June 1; register here.
- From 6-7 p.m. on June 7; register here.
Wyoming-based organizations may schedule a virtual session by contacting Diana Clapp, State Board of Education Coordinator, at email@example.com. The public is also encouraged to provide feedback through an online survey, which can be found here.
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