CHEYENNE – Sheridan County School District #2 seventh grade science teacher Ryan Fuhrman has been named Wyoming’s 2017 Teacher of the Year.
“Mr. Fuhrman is one of those teachers that sees the value of teaching his students lessons that will reach far beyond the classroom,” said State Superintendent Jillian Balow. “He knows that he truly holds the future in his hands when he steps inside a school and treats that privilege with great respect. His zeal for the critical thinking and problem solving skills within science is contagious, and we are honored to have a teacher like him in Wyoming, who will hold students to high standards, and help them live and breathe the science he puts in front of them.”
Mr. Fuhrman grew up in Casper and was inspired to become a teacher by his Latin teacher at Centennial Junior High School. He’s taught science at Sheridan Junior High School since 2012. In addition, he’s a Kendrick Mansion Guild Member, VEX Robotic Instructor, Camp SySTEMatic Counselor and Organizer, Science Kids Board Member, and assistant basketball coach. Mr. Fuhrman has also been selected to become an Instructional Facilitator for Sheridan Junior High School, to coach new teachers, build technology capacity, and provide insight and support to the teaching staff.
Sheridan Junior High School Principal Mitch Craft said that Mr. Fuhrman’s passion for science along with his rapport with students and ability to deeply engage them makes his classes rigorous and fun: “Mr. Fuhrman’s science classes are not cleverly disguised vocabulary courses with paint-by-number labs sprinkled in for effect. He teaches his students to think like scientists and to build mindsets that will carry them into the world well beyond their formal education. I love watching him work with kids and to see just how much fun they have in his classroom through the joy and challenge he brings to the teaching and learning of science.”
While describing his teaching philosophy, Mr. Fuhrman said, “When I am able to successfully combine the art and science of teaching the reward is simple and profound. Students learn, and learn deeply. They learn the ideas of science that help explain the world around them and prepare them to be thoughtful citizens. They learn to take risks and seize opportunities. They learn to think and to view education as more than the completion of work and grades. These are the true rewards I find in teaching.”
As the 2017 Wyoming Teacher of the Year, Mr. Fuhrman will serve as an education ambassador for the state. Wyoming’s Teacher of the Year automatically becomes the nominee for the National Teacher of the Year Program, which is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers, sponsored by Voya Financial, Inc.
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Kari Eakins, Communications Director
CHEYENNE – Educators joining this year’s 2016 Roadmap to STEM Conference can expect three whirlwind days of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) experiences, active learning, and practical classroom ideas. The conference convenes at Western Wyoming Community College (WWCC) in Rock Springs August 1-3.
“Wyoming needs to be all in when it comes to STEM education,” said State Superintendent Jillian Balow. “Our kids need to be ready for and excited about jobs in STEM fields, and this conference puts educators and industry together so we can make sure Wyoming students can fill these high-demand jobs.”
WWCC President Karla Leach said the college is at the crossroads of STEM education, providing students with the skills they need for the jobs of the future. “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics programs prepare students for careers that not only pay well and are in demand in Wyoming and throughout the nation, but that also serve critical roles in America’s energy, technology, manufacturing, communications, education, and healthcare fields.”
The theme this year is “Inspiring Wonder,” which is a perfect description for what we have in store for attendees,” said Tonya Gerharter, WDE Education Consultant.
Illusionist and World Magic Champion Jason Latimer kicks off the event, combining magic and impossible science. Attendees will also have opportunities to learn about everything from earth science data visualizations to engineering, and robotics to storm chasing using a mobile doppler system.
There is something for everyone in the general sessions. Participants have 60 and 75 minute session options including but not limited to: life sciences, robotics, earth sciences, engineering, language arts, makerspaces and much more. Tuesday afternoon will be fun-filled with STEM experiences including a guided tour to Ft. Bridger, Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge, and the Jim Bridger Generating Station, to name a few.
The Share-A-Thon is an opportunity for teachers, students, business and industry partners to share their wares. These might be a STEM activity used in a classroom, opportunities in industry that could connect with the classroom or products and services that align with STEM education.
Information about the conference and registration can be found at: https://edu.wyoming.gov/
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Kari Eakins, Communications Director
Applications for the 2016-2018 CTE Demonstration Project Grant will be available Spring 2016. Do you have a project in mind? A project in the works that needs some funding or a face-lift? Start planning now!
Call for proposals will be announced in the early spring and the application deadline will be June 1, 2016.
The Career Technical Education Demonstration Project Grant program is based on Wyoming’s Career Technical Education Strategic Plan developed in 2007 entitled, “New Directions for High School Career and Technical Education in Wyoming”. The program’s purpose is to continue the work started in 2008 to: (i) Prepare high school students for postsecondary options, including two (2) year and four (4) year college, apprenticeship, military and formal employment training; (ii) Connect academic and technical curriculum grounded in academic and industry standards; (iii) Provide innovation strategies for ensuring student access to career choices, as well as opportunities for work-based learning and dual enrollment in related postsecondary education courses; (iv) Support workforce, education and economic needs of Wyoming.
The awarded consortia of required core partners and additional partners under this program may request the Wyoming Department of Education for reimbursement of expenses associated with planning, development and implementation of a CTE demonstration project as a new or expansion to any existing high school CTE program in a school district.
Amounts awarded under this program shall be used for the following: 1) Curriculum development, 2) Project design costs, and 3) Fund initial purchases of equipment and supplies incurred for the demonstration project. Consortia project proposal applications must focus on systemic development of career clusters, career pathways, career guidance, course sequencing, academic core-career technical education integration and curriculum alignment with industry standards.
Economic Development Areas and Career Clusters
The demonstration project must also lead secondary students from all levels to the workforce, certificate, credential, or college in the identified economic development areas and career clusters. The Wyoming Department of Workforce Development in partnership with economic development agencies identify areas of critical need for economic development for each grant funding period.
After nearly two decades as FCCLA State Advisor, Patty Micheli is ending a career punctuated with successes and challenges, but proud of the organization and what it’s meant to students and educators. We asked her to step back in time to recall the early days and look forward to the next era.
Thank you Patti, for your time and commitment to Wyoming youth and educators.
Patti began her career in FCCLA during the transition from the Future Homemakers of America to Family career and Community Leaders of America.
As a brand new advisor, she was uncertain of roles and responsibilities, and just where she fit in. “It was an overwhelming undertaking, and I didn’t have much knowledge of what a state FCCLA advisor did. I’d worked very hard to be prepared, but had no idea (of what to expect). Those advisers were ready to chew me up and spit me out!”
The first fall conference was in Jackson where the main business was accepting the name change from FHA to FCCLA. Micheli recalls unforeseen circumstances led to an early end of the event, but things soon improved. “We’ve come along way since then,” she laughs.” “Over the nineteen years, I have had many highlights,. Every year I feel, has been the best, but then the next year is even better.”
Challenges and Changes
Closing FACS programs across the state presented one of her greatest challenges. Teachers didn’t fully realize the impact they can have on students through FCCLA. “I strongly believe that FACS programs are needed more today than ever because students are not learning basic skills of finances, nutrition. relationships or basic life skills in the home,” she says.
Another frustration was the disadvantage to students for national recognition due to Wyoming’s one delegate status. “It was impossible for outstanding students to be elected to a national office because Wyoming had only one voting delegate based on population. Micheli passionately lobbied for change, ultimately persuading the national office to change the election process to one state, one vote. The last two years, Wyoming has had a national presence. “I voiced my opinion over and over to any and everyone that would listen that this really put our students at a disadvantage. This has been an exciting change for Wyoming. Having deserving candidates elected as a National officer has been one of my greatest experiences.”
Watching watching members grow from year to year has been especially gratifying for Micheli, like the shy seventh grader receiving outstanding national scholarships as a senior because she learned to do interviews; the keynote speaker spending time after the session to privately talk with students about their personal problems; succeeding and working with amazing advisers that are committed to making a difference. “I love working with these advisers and their outstanding students. They have been an inspiration to me.”
“FCCLA is the only student organization with a focus on families. We help our students recognize the need to balance careers with community service and family responsibilities,” she remarks.
Micheli notes that while the national organization does a great job of identifying issues and challenges facing young people today, the state was a leader in anti-bullying in schools. “We received a $10,000 grant and did a three day national FCCLA STOP the violence training for all of our members.”
She’s confident FCCLA will continue to grow and prosper, and most importantly, help students feel a sense of belonging and learn to function as contributing individuals.
“My hope is that as these committed advisers retire, new advisers will gain that same commitment and FCCLA will keep growing and growing and influencing lives for the better. I will greatly miss FCCLA, and I will always be passionate about it. I know it will just keep getting better and better. I’m excited for the future of our state organization.”