Successful Literacy Models

Wyoming Department of Education > Superintendent's Update > Successful Literacy Models

Dear Superintendents,

Congratulations on closing out another school year in your district. I’m sure you’re all exhausted and I hope you are able to get some good downtime and rest this summer. Thank you again for all your hard work, as well as the leadership you provide to our local communities and our Wyoming schools.

Vision & Focus

Along with and beyond the Teacher Apprenticeship Initiative (see update ahead), our vision for future days will extend to a literacy focus that will pursue, strengthen and reinforce the best and most successful literacy models. We just convened our first meeting here at the WDE on the prospects of launching a multi-phased/multi-pronged literacy campaign. The long-term objective will be to clarify the focus and intensify the commitment to our early literacy efforts in each of our Wyoming schools. Moreover, the challenge before us through this campaign will be to get this right once and for all.

As we dedicate ourselves to this doubled-down effort, we will seek to work it on three fronts:  (1) the legislative front (fostering good literacy policies), (2) the school front (working closely with our schools), and (3) the home front (encouraging family reading efforts).

The multiple phases of this campaign are yet to be fully defined, but the key distinctives will incorporate the training aspects of teaching reading effectively along with the actual teaching side of it (best evidence-based practices), as well as a testing model that is designed to effectively and thoroughly assess reading proficiency. It is critical that we pursue a policy of excellence at laying a strong literacy foundation as it is essential to everything else we do with our students.

The success or failure of this effort will of course (like anything else in life) hinge entirely on leadership. Hence, the corresponding effort to simultaneously begin developing a School Leadership Training Regimen, which will seek to bring together state-wide school leadership training on three levels:  the degree level (college/university), the department level (WDE) and the district level (in our schools). More on that next time …

The Primary Priority   

The application to request participation in the Wyoming Teacher Apprenticeship pilot went out to district superintendents on June 15. The three school districts chosen will be notified by July 8, and will begin collaboration with the WDE and PTSB this summer to stand up the local program. Meanwhile, the WTA Work Group is working diligently on putting details in place to support the pilot.  So in a nutshell, things are moving forward according to plan with our Teacher Apprentice Initiative and we will continue to keep you posted every step of the way.

In the Spotlight

Small but mighty is what I heard from day one about our WDE communications team, and with a duo like Thom Gabrukiewicz and Ed McCollum, new technology means fun new ways to reach people. Lately Thom has been mastering the utilization of our new access to digital marketing through the Google Ad Network and YouTube to get the word out around the state about some of our events and programs. But these campaigns can’t get off the ground without the creative…enter Ed! They use 15-second video spots that need to attract attention and get folks to click through to the PTSB landing page on its website. A new Hathaway campaign will be starting on YouTube in July.

Recently, Deputy Superintendent Chad Auer and CFO Trent Carroll challenged these guys to create a set of 15-second videos that could run on YouTube and be targeted to specific counties in Ohio, California, and Northern Colorado. The goal was to inspire folks to ‘picture themselves teaching in Wyoming’ and hopefully click through for more information. Check out the videos here. Turns out that the folks at CFD liked them so much, they are going to run them on the big screens at the rodeo this year. Hitting the teacher shortage from all angles is just good strategy, so Thom and Ed, you are in the spotlight for your contribution to the cause!

Mark Your Calendars

.The Embracing Literacy Conference is a virtual conference that will take place over a three-week time span, with three sessions offered every Tuesday and Thursday from July 5-July 21. All sessions will be presented live, but will be recorded and available via Zoom for ongoing access to registered participants. The theme for this year’s conference is “The Science of Reading” and includes topics such as early childhood literacy, special education literacy, phonemic awareness, dyslexia, comprehension, and much more. The cost is $50/person. Register here.

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