All posts by Laurel Shelley-Reuss

ACT 2018 Test Window Options

ACT 2018 Test Window Options

2018 ACT Test Window Survey

As we prepare for the 2018 ACT administration, we need to gather additional information from each school. Please answer the following statement based on your school's testing calendar. This survey will need to be taken for each school in your district that serves 11th grade students. Please help us collect this information by September 1, 2017.


Standard Test - March 20
Accommodated Test - March 20-23, 26
Make-Up Dates Standard Test - April 3 and/or April 24
Make-Up Dates Accommodated Test - April 3-6, 9-13, 16-17 and/or April 24-27, 30


Standard Test - April 3
Accommodated Test - April 3-6, 9-13, 16-17
Make-Up Date Standard Test - April 24
Make-Up Date Accommodated Test - April 24-27, 30


Standard & Accommodated Test - April 3-5, 10-12
Make-Up Date Standard Test (paper) - April 24
Make-Up Date Accommodated Test (paper) - April 24-27, 30

Federal Funding of Education

Dear Superintendents,

There was notable news from Washington, DC this week regarding federal funding of education. Congress approved a $1 trillion omnibus spending bill which prevents a government shutdown and funds the government at updated levels through the end of September 2017.  President Trump is expected to sign the bill.

 The Department of Education will receive $68.2 billion in FY 2017. Here is a summary:

  • Title I—$15.5 billion, a $550 million increase above the prior fiscal year (including $450 million from the consolidation of the School Improvement Grants program into Title I).
  • Title II, Part A—which the Trump Administration had proposed to cut by $1.2 billion in FY 17, will be funded at $2.1 billion, a $294 million decrease.
  • Title IV, Part A—Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, will receive $400 million, a $122 million increase over the combined prior year funding levels for the programs consolidated in ESSA to create this program. Under ESSA sates may award these funds by formula or competitively to school districts or consortia of districts, with a priority for highest need.
  • Title IV, Part B—21st Century Community Learning Centers, will receive $1.2 billion, an increase of $25 million above FY 16. President Trump’s FY18 budget proposed to eliminate this program.
  • The Child Care and Development Block Grant will receive a $95 million increase, while Head Start will receive an $85 million increase.
  • Special education—$12 billion, up 1%, which maintains the federal share of the extra costs of educating children with disabilities at approximately 16% of per pupil expenditures.
  • Impact Aid—$1.3 billion, up $23 million
  • Charter schools – $342 million, up $9 million
  • Indian Education – $165 million, up $21 million
  • Education for Homeless Children and Youth – $77 million, up $7 million
  • TRIO programs – up $50 million, proposed elimination by President Trump’s FY18 budget.


Recently, Governor Mead named an executive council for the ENDOW (Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming) Initiative. Please see this correspondence to the governor regarding council membership. In the coming months, a number of steering committees will be developed. To you, I reiterate the importance of education leaders’ participation on these steering committees. The relationship between our economy and our education system is undeniable and deep. It would be unfortunate to not have education represented in this important work.


Malaysian members of the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) are immersing in local, state, and federal politics. It was a privilege to discuss Wyoming’s education system with them.

Memos to be released on Monday, May 8:


WASA Conference

Dear Superintendents,

It was a privilege to spend time with you at the WASA Conference. Congratulations to retiring superintendents and award recipients! And, thank you for the warm welcome and conversation–my update this week will be brief.


Prayers from children across the state are presented to Governor Mead on Wyoming’s National Day of Prayer


WDE and SBE go head-to-head in a mock Academic Bowl presented by WDE Deaf/Hard of Hearing staff and students


I travel to DC next week to meet with Secretary DeVos with other CCSSO directors. In particular, we will be discussing the President’s budget proposal, ESSA plan submission, and state-specific perspectives/challenges.

The first round of ESSA plans were submitted by states. Below are several links to information about the submissions:

Memos to be released on April 23, 2017:


OER Platform Requirements Survey

Open Education Resources Platform Survey
For example, a link to

Suicide Prevention Symposium

Dear Superintendents,

In 2016 Governor Mead hosted a symposiusm on suicide prevention that was well attended by citizens and providers from across the state. The Governor’s Second Annual Symposium on Suicide Prevention will be held on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at Little America Hotel in Cheyenne.  He has asked me to extend an invitation to you and all educators across the state.  Here are links with information.

Wyoming Geography Bee contestants hone thier skill on a giant map of Wyoming

Memos to be released on Monday, April 3:


Quality Matters Workshop Registration

Quality Matters Workshop Registration

Staff Intranet Survey

Staff Intranet Survey

Ryan Fuhrman Named 2017 Wyoming Teacher of the Year

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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Media Contact:
Kari Eakins, Communications Director

2016 Roadmap To STEM Promises Lots of Action and a Little Magic

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:

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Media Contact:
Kari Eakins, Communications Director