As you lead your districts to the finish line of yet another school year, we hope you finish strong and enjoy the graduation celebrations of the class of 2022. These are exciting times for our seniors and their families, days they will never forget. How gratifying to be able to play such an important part in this milestone of their lives.
I do want to again focus some thoughts on the tragedy that continues to affect the families and citizens of Uvalde, Texas. The grief we all continue to feel for them propels us to be ever vigilant in making sure our own schools here in Wyoming are as safe and secure as they can possibly be. We would be remiss, therefore, not to reassess our policies and procedures, school by school, district by district.
As we look at the appropriate role in this potential review process for the WDE, please be prepared for a conversation about what more we (our agency and your district) need to do on this front. We will keep you posted as to what this review process may look like. Thanks for your cooperation and help with this.
Vision & Focus
Let’s cut to the chase … there are three things that I see on the horizon for our Wyoming schools:
First, the Teacher Apprenticeship Initiative (see the progress update in the next segment).
Second, a multi-phased/multi-pronged literacy campaign (more to come on that in subsequent months).
Third, a school leader training paradigm, seeking to dovetail the training regimens at the degree (college and university level) with the same at the department (WDE) and district levels (our local K-12 schools).
Be prepared for more conversations on each initiative in the days ahead.
The Primary Priority
The Wyoming Teacher Apprenticeship initiative continues to move forward this week with a presentation by Deputy Superintendent Chad Auer, and co-leads Brendan O’Connor and Laurel Ballard, at the Joint Education Interim Committee meeting in Casper. Based on the response, the committee members are pleased with the progress and as excited as we all are to see the work come to fruition.
The work group will be receiving the feedback from the advisory group on June 7, and will also begin to dig deeper into the details that need to be fleshed out to support a fall pilot rollout.
In the Spotlight
Last year, the WDE awarded a Wyoming Education Trust Fund Grant to Sublette County School District #1. Priority is given to Computer Science and Innovation. SCSD#1 has served 3,200 students (students are using the room multiple times), and 511 adults in six months. The project has led to a number of partnerships between local businesses and the district. Watch the video here, careful, it’s a tearjerker. What you see in this video was made possible by everyone from the state level to the district level and from the school to the classroom, and I thank you all.
On the Road, In The Field
Last week took us to two charter public school information meetings for interested parents, one in Cheyenne related to the prospects of the start-up of Cheyenne Classical Academy in the fall of 2023, and the other in Casper with potential start-up of Wyoming Classical Academy, also in the fall of 2023. The energy and excitement at both meetings was high for both groups, as well as the level of interest in a classical approach to education.
This coming week will take us to Washakie County on Friday to visit the Wyoming Boys School in Worland. This will be an especially meaningful time for me as this is the world I worked in for 14 ½ years. Under the leadership of Superintendent Dale Weber, I look forward to touring both the school as well as visiting the classrooms of this great institution.
Mark Your Calendars
Register now for the inaugural Wyoming Computer Science Education Conference on July 20-22, 2022 at Central Wyoming College in Riverton. The Computer Science Education Conference is an opportunity for administrators and educators from kindergarten through higher education, to share and explore computer science teaching and learning practices for classrooms and after school programs. This conference is hosted by the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA-Wyoming) and the WDE. Register here.