All posts by tgabrukiewicz

Educators Embrace Computer Science Training

Dear Superintendents,

This week saw the first of several CSforAll SCRIPT trainings for educators to help bring computer science and computational thinking to every Wyoming classroom by 2022.

Wyoming received more than $93,000 in grant funding from Microsoft’s TechSpark initiative to offer Strategic CSforALL Resource & Implementation Planning Tool (SCRIPT) training for school districts. CSforALL is an organization dedicated to making computer science part of every K-12 student’s education.

SCRIPT training provides districts with strategic planning tools to think through what is needed to provide equitable, high-quality computer science education available to all students in their districts. Through a series of self-assessment and goal-setting activities, districts will develop a computer science education vision and roadmap for implementation.

Training will occur in five locations and will be open to six districts in each location. Each training consists of several sessions over a year.

  • Casper: May 14 & 15, 2019, Oct. 15, 2019 and May 20, 2020.
  • Rock Springs: June 4 & 5, 2019, Nov. 14, 2019, and June 4, 2020.
  • Cheyenne: June 11 & 12, 2019, Nov. 19, 2019, and June 11, 2020.
  • Worland: Aug. 5 & 6, 2019, Jan. 7, 2020, and Aug. 6, 2020.
  • Gillette: Sept. 24 & 25, 2019, Feb. 25, 2020, and Sept. 24, 2020.

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Educators, industry partners and WDE teammates took time for a group photo at the CSforALL SCRIPT training in Casper this week. 

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CSforALL SCRIPT training asked educators to work on how to engage their communities to help bring computer science to the classroom. The groups then shared out in a ‘gallery walk’ to promote and share ideas.

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The leadership group from Prairie Wind Elementary in Cheyenne came to the WDE offices Friday to discuss education policy and leadership with Chief Policy Director Kari Eakins. The group also got a tour and talked with WDE teammates. 

Memos to be released:

  • 2019-066: Native American Education Conference
  • 2019-067: Hathaway Success Curriculum Changes and Guidance
  • 2019-068: Change in Home Language Survey Requirements

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WDE Seeks Public Comment on Chapter 10 Rules and Computer Science Standards

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) seeks public comment on proposed revisions to the Chapter 10 Rules: Wyoming Content and Performance Standards. In addition, the WDE is seeking public comment on the revised proposed Computer Science Content and Performance Standards that will be incorporated into the Chapter 10 rules.

The revisions to Chapter 10 rules are a result of the passage of Senate Enrolled Act 0048 in 2018 that added computer science and computational thinking to the common core of knowledge and skills for Wyoming students kindergarten through 12th grade. The bill requires the promulgation of uniform content and performance standards for computer science by January 1, 2022, then going into effect beginning with the 2022-23 school year.

The proposed Computer Science Content and Performance Standards were developed and then revised by a standards review committee composed of 40 members, which included educators, professors, parents, content experts, and business and community members.

The comment period is the final opportunity for the public to comment on the Computer Science Content and Performance Standards. Input on the proposed rules and standards will be open, both online and by mail, from May 13-June 28, 2019. The public may comment on one, or both, of these topics.

Comments can be submitted online or mailed to:

Wyoming Department of Education
Attn: Barb Marquer
122 West 25th Street, Suite E200
Cheyenne, WY 82002

All public comments will be recorded verbatim, including the submitter’s name and city of residence, on the Secretary of State website as part of the rules promulgation process.

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Media Contact:
Michelle Panos, Communications Director
michelle.panos1@wyo.gov
307-777-2053

 

Let’s all celebrate Military Appreciation Month

Dear Superintendents,

On Monday, May 13, Governor Gordon will proclaim May as Military Appreciation Month – I look forward to attending the ceremony and celebration. Military Appreciation Month was introduced by Senator John McCain and passed by Congress in 1999.

We would love to help you celebrate past and present military servicemen and women in your schools using social media. Send photos and blurbs to thom.gabrukiewicz@wyo.gov. Here are a few observances during the month of May:

Military Spouse Appreciation Day
Date: Friday, May 10th, 2019. The Friday before Mother’s Day is a day to honor military spouses.

Armed Forces Day
Date: Saturday, May 18th, 2019. A day (and the week leading up to it) to thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.

Memorial Day
Date: Monday, May 27th, 2019. Commemorates the men and women who died while in military service.

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Early in the week I had a visit from a retired Wyoming education leader, Bill Hardesty, who now works with Troops to Teachers. The program’s tagline is “Proud to Serve Again” and assists veterans who want to become classroom teachers.

When you hire a veteran, you bring unique skills, experiences, and dedication to your schools and students. Skills needed to be successful in the military transfer nicely to the classroom and community.

Here is a link to learn more about Troops to Teachers.

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Bill Hardesty of Troops to Teachers visited the WDE to share the work of the organization during Military Appreciation Month.

Tech directors met in Casper this week. There were great conversations about district tech infrastructure, computer science standards, professional development, leadership, the legislature, and much more.

tech directors conference

Memos to be released on Monday, May 13:

  • 2019-063: Virtual Education Vendor Teacher Collection
  • 2019-064: Change in English Language Proficiency Criteria
  • 2019-065: Public Comment Computer Science Standards

 

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Professional Development Opportunities Abound

Dear Superintendents,

Staff at the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) are coordinating multiple opportunities for professional development this summer. We are excited about offering new and established events for Wyoming’s educators. Thank you for partnering with us to ensure all trainings are relevant, timely, and substantial. The best way to stay abreast is via the WDE website and social media:

WEBSITE: https://edu.wyoming.gov/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/WYOEducation/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/WYOEducation

Here’s a sneak peek at some of what we will offer  and/or coordinate this summer:

  • SCRIPT Computer Science Training – various dates and locations
  • Roadmap to STEAM – July 30-August 2 in Laramie
  • Open Range OER Workshops – various dates and locations
  • STAR Conference – June 18-20 in Cheyenne
  • Week of Academic Vision and Excellence (WAVE) Conference, July 29-31 in Laramie
  • Native American Education Conference – August 7-8 in Riverton
  • State Superintendent’s Policy Summit (S5S) – October 1-2 in Laramie

We look forward to learning from one another and national experts!

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WDE CTE Director Dr. Michelle Aldrich and CTE Consultant Jeannie Coulson hosted an online listening session for the Perkins V grant recently. The CTE team is gathering public input on how the grant will be utilized in Wyoming over the next five years.

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While gathering public input on Health/P.E., Fine & Performing Arts, and Math Extended Standards in Casper Monday, WDE teammates got to hear the Casper Fiddle Club, whose members were practicing at the Natrona County School District #1 offices. Members talked about how music education provides opportunities for lifelong experiences, gives students hands-on learning, and can give positive social interactions.

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Wyoming’s Teacher of the Year and Rozcoe the Bear visit Washington, DC and Wyoming’s delegation.

Memo to be released on Monday, May 6:

 

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Moving Forward on Computer Science Standards

Dear Superintendents,

Last week Wyoming’s State Board of Education (SBE) unanimously voted to move forward with  the process to adopt the K-12 content and performance standards for Computer Science. Below are links to the standards along with a letter from the standards development committee comprised of teachers, members from business and industry, parents, and others. The next phases of Boot Up Wyoming include rules promulgation and a shift in focus from standards development to standards implementation.

Wyoming has three years to fully implement the standards. Implementation, as with other content areas, includes efforts by educators to unpack standards, select curriculum, reset scopes and sequences for integration, and seek professional development. This work is familiar to educators and the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) stands ready to facilitate opportunities and assist in the work. There are also other entities poised to support the implementation of Computer Science including UW and community colleges, Wyoming Professional Teaching Standards Board (PTSB), business and industry, tech companies and experts, the WDE, and schools that have already implemented Computer Science.

Via memos, professional development events, social and traditional media, grant/funding opportunities, and technical assistance the WDE will continue to broker opportunities for educators to onboard the new standards.

Adopted CS Standards (with minor changes):
BUW

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The SBE discusses computer science standards in Riverton

School Climate Document from USED:

The Federal Commission on School Safety released recommendations after a series of listening sessions. One recommendation addressed the topic of  school climate and student well-being. This week USED released The Parent and Educator Guide to School Climate ResourcesThe guide was produced jointly by the Department’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) and Office for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) and it provides best practices and resources that parents and educators can utilize as they work to achieve a positive school climate, lower disciplinary issues, and enhance school safety.

There are no memos this week.

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The Push for CTE Education in Wyoming

Dear Superintendents,

Next week my family welcomes my daughter home from a military deployment in the Middle East. For so many reasons I am a proud mom – but I’ll save the bragging for a different time. Through high school and since graduation, she has had countless opportunities to learn. Through CTE pathways in high school she earned FFA degrees and deepened her knowledge of agriculture. She also became a Certified Nurse’s Assistant (CNA) and earned college credits through dual enrollment. During her tenure as a soldier she has served her country, trained, traveled, and earned a semester’s worth of college credits. As a mom and educator, I love how college, career, and military readiness has evolved to mean more than three singular pathways after high school. Today, all three paths (or any combination therein) prepare the next generation of adults for success and fulfillment through coursework, training, experience, and discovery.

According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics study, a group of baby boomers (now nearing retirement or retired) changed jobs 11.7 times during their careers. Most economists agree that today’s millennials are on-track to change jobs more times during their careers. This means that lifelong learning is more important than ever and exposure to foundational and executive skills is key.

I’ll add three final thoughts:

  1. Thank you Wyoming educators for instilling a love of learning and discovery in students while preparing them for the world of today and tomorrow.
  2. We must never lose sight of the demands of this fast-paced world and must always ensure every student has relevant learning experience.
  3. It always takes more than school to develop lifelong learners and self-sufficient adults. I am so encouraged to see strong partnerships between education, business/industry, and community partners.

Over the past couple of weeks, WDE’s Dr. Michelle Aldrich and her CTE team have traveled across the state to conduct listening sessions for Perkins V. Stakeholder participation for these events has been immense and we are so encouraged that Wyoming is interested in steering the career and technical education ship. Of note, Perkins V:

  • Places greater emphasis on developing clear connections between CTE programs and labor market demands.
  • Encourages states to to invest in early postsecondary opportunities.
  • Expands stakeholder input requirements.
  • Provides states and local recipients more flexibility in how they spend Perkins funds.
  • Creates the framework for Perkins accountability at the state and local levels.

In Wyoming, we look forward to leveraging Perkins V as a way to ensure that all students have opportunities to discover and acquire valuable skills as they make choices about college, career, and military readiness.

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Teams from Wyoming Destination Imagination competed recently. DI is a program that teaches students the creative process and 21st century skills.2

Students compete using their skills to develop innovative solutions to complicated problems.

Memos to be released on Monday, April 22:

  • 2019-057: Innovative Leaders Virtual Conference-Spotlight on Wyoming
  • 2019-058: Kindergarten Readiness Data Collection
  • 2019-059: Student Volunteer Opportunity: My Life, My Story
  • 2019-060: 2019 Summer Learning Opportunities for Students
  • 2019-061: 2019-20 Hathaway Success Curriculum Course Verification

 

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 No Longer Forgotten: The Triumphs and Struggles of Rural Education in America 

Dear Superintendents,

Over the past eighteen months it’s been a privilege to contribute to a book project about rural education. The book, No Longer Forgotten: The Triumphs and Struggles of Rural Education in America was released earlier this week. I am grateful to have taught in a rural Wyoming school (Hulett) and believe our smallest communities have more strengths than challenges. My small town experiences are with me in every policy discussion as State Superintendent. Here are a few takeaways from the book and panel:

  • There is no consistent definition for “rural” except “areas that are not urban.” Rurality is defined at least 72 different ways by the federal government.
  • Think tanks, majorities, and education philanthropies are located in cities. This is just one of many reasons rural education reform doesn’t usually gain traction.
  • While diverse yet undefined rural “regions” exist (deep south, northeast, midwest, west, southwest), rural areas and schools have much in common especially around pride in schools, social cohesion, shared values, and parental involvement.

If you are interested in watching the panel, here is the link:

https://www.aspeninstitute.org/events/no-longer-forgotten-the-triumphs-and-struggles-of-rural-education-in-america-book-talk-and-panel/

Here is an article summarizing a few main ideas from the book:

https://www.educationnext.org/improve-rural-schools-focus-on-strengths-facilitate-school-choice-charter-conversions-solutions/

This week at the annual Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) convening we had many discussions about Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). I wanted to share three diverse documents on the topic because I know we all (leaders, school boards, parents, and teachers) are thinking about the SEL issues, such mental health, and its role education. None of the documents come with a specific endorsement from me other than having found each one insightful and thought-provoking:

Setting the Right Conditions for Learning

From a Nation at Risk to a Nation of Hope

What SEL Needs to Survive

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STEM Teacher and State Board member, Ryan Fuhrman, engages in discussion with the computer science standards committee in Lander this week. The committee is reworking and refining the standards.

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Who says you can’t be two places at once? I greeted the computer science standards committee via video from my meetings in Washington, DC.

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It was so much fun to interview Hadi Partovi, founder and CEO of code.org, on-stage after his keynote speech at the CCSSO opening dinner.

THERE ARE NO MEMOS THIS WEEK.

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WDE Teams Up with Microsoft and CSforALL to Offer Computer Science Strategic Planning

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) is pleased to announce key support from Microsoft Corp. enabling the department to offer computer science implementation and planning training to school districts. Wyoming will receive over $95,000 in grant funding from Microsoft’s TechSpark initiative to offer Strategic CSforALL Resource & Implementation Planning Tool (SCRIPT) training for school districts. CSforALL is an organization dedicated to making computer science part of every K-12 student’s education.

SCRIPT training provides districts with strategic planning tools to think through what is needed to provide equitable, high-quality computer science education available to all students in their districts. Through a series of self-assessment and goal-setting activities, districts will develop a computer science education vision and roadmap for implementation.

“The WDE is excited to work with Microsoft and CSforALL on this project,” said Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jillian Balow. “The Wyoming Legislature gave us the directive to prepare students to compete in a world that is more and more technology based, by incorporating computer science education into our classrooms by 2023. A priority of the WDE is to provide districts with the support they need to succeed.”

“Computer science skills are going to be fundamental as employers in every industry from agriculture to transportation uses technology to innovate and compete in the economy,” said Dennis Ellis, manager of Microsoft’s TechSpark Wyoming, an initiative to partner with rural and smaller metropolitan communities to spark new economic opportunities and job creation. “Making computer science education an opportunity within reach of every student ensures Wyoming’s children can be future ready and will make our state attractive to public and private investments that can drive economic growth.”

Districts must apply to attend, and those serving substantially rural and under-served students will be given priority. Participants will include district leaders and school leaders, media/tech facilitators and educators teaching computer science.

Training will occur in five locations and will be open to six districts in each location. Each training consists of several sessions over a year.

  • Casper: May 14 & 15, 2019, Oct. 15, 2019 and May 20, 2020.
  • Rock Springs: June 4 & 5, 2019, Nov. 14, 2019, and June 4, 2020.
  • Cheyenne: June 11 & 12, 2019, Nov. 19, 2019, and June 11, 2020.
  • Worland: Aug. 5 & 6, 2019, Jan. 7, 2020, and Aug. 6, 2020.
  • Gillette: Sept. 24 & 25, 2019, Feb. 25, 2020, and Sept. 24, 2020.

“Our WDE school support team worked hard with Microsoft to provide this support for schools,” Balow said. “We will continue to identify important resources as we implement computer science education.”

-END-

Media Contact:
Michelle Panos, Communications Director
michelle.panos1@wyo.gov
307-777-2053

Call for Participants and Community Input on Standards for Health, Physical Education, Fine & Performing Arts, and Mathematics Extended Standards

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) seeks Wyoming residents who are interested in serving on the following standards review committees: Health/Physical Education (Health/PE), Fine & Performing Arts (F&PA), and Math Extended.

Standards outline what students should know, and be able to do, by the time they graduate. Standards are concise written descriptions that describe educational objectives. The standards do not describe any particular teaching practice, curriculum, or assessment method.

The Math Extended Standards committee will meet June 14-16, 2019. This committee will work on aligning extended standards, for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, to the newly adopted 2018 Wyoming Mathematics Standards. Those interested in serving on this committee should complete the Math Extended Call for Participants Survey by April 21, 2019.

Both committees for Fine and Performing Art (F&PA) and Health/PE will meet August 15-17, 2019. Those interested in serving on the F&PA committee should complete the F&PA Call for Participants Survey by April 28, 2019. Those interested in serving on the PE/Health committee should complete the Health/PE Call for Participants Survey by April 28, 2019.

Completing any one of the three surveys expresses interest in participating but does not commit anyone to serving on the review committee. Standards committee members will be chosen from the list of those interested and contacted directly through the email address provided in the survey.

Community Input on Standards

Community input will be collected on Health/P.E., Fine & Performing Arts, and Math Extended Standards during Regional Community Input Meetings at the following locations:

Date & TimeLocation & Address
April 23, 2019
4:00-5:00 pm: Math Extended
5:30-7:00 pm: Fine & Performing Arts
7:00-8:30 pm: Health/PE
Saratoga: Carbon County School District #2 Administrative Building
315 North 1st St.
Board Room
April 30, 2019
4:00-5:00 pm: Math Extended
5:30-7:00 pm: Fine & Performing Arts
7:00-8:30 pm: Health/PE
Casper: Natrona County School District #1
Central Services Facility
970 N Glenn Rd.
Fairdale Room
May 1, 2019
4:00-5:00 pm: Math Extended
5:30-7:00 pm: Fine & Performing Arts
7:00-8:30 pm: Health/PE
Gillette: Campbell County Educational
Service Center
1000 W. 8th St.
Board Room
May 16, 2019
4:00-5:00 pm: Math Extended
5:30-7:00 pm: Fine & Performing Arts
7:00-8:30 pm: Health/PE
Pinedale: Sublette County School District #1 Administrative Building
665 N Tyler Ave.
Board Room

The public can also provide input by completing the following online surveys which will close on May 19, 2019:

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Media Contact:
Michelle Panos, Communications Director
michelle.panos1@wyo.gov
307-777-2053

With Help From Microsoft, New Educator Training Opportunities

Dear Superintendents,

WDE and school districts are coordinating multiple training opportunities for the summer. Of note and in this week’s memos, Wyoming received a grant from Microsoft to provide Computer Science training for teachers and registration is available for the annual STAR conference.

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WDE teammates were in Cheyenne Thursday with K-12 science teachers working in Performance Level Descriptors and Blueprints for the 2016 Science Standards. Thanks to all our educators who take the time to help strengthen Wyoming’s standards.

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Look carefully, you may recognize faces of your former students. These UW biz students presented their investments to the State Loan and Investment Board on Thursday.

Memos to be released on Monday, April 8:

  • 2019-053STAR Conference Information
  • 2019-054: Health, Physical Education, and Fine & Performing Arts Standards Review
  • 2019-055: Time Sensitive: 2017-18 WDE950 Student Transcript Review
  •      2019-055a: Report Legend
  • 2019-056: Computer Science Training: Strategic Planning Tool for School Districts

 

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