All posts by tgabrukiewicz

Our Dedicated Educators

Dear Superintendents,

While much of the state continues to dig out from our huge snowstorm, it’s not surprising that educators evaded the weather and roads to attend PLC trainings presented by Solution Tree.

plc1

More than 125 educators from across Wyoming traveled to Casper Tuesday for Solution Tree’s Collaborative Teams II Training with Aaron Hansen. We salute your dedication!

plc2

Educators from Green River, Evanston, and Pinedale navigated wet and snowy Wyoming roads to participate in the WDE’s Statewide Systems of Support-sponsored Solution Tree Collaborative Teams II workshop in Rock Springs. Aaron Hansen customized the training to meet the needs of these Wyoming educators!

Memos to be released on Monday, March 18:

  • 2019-43: Public Comment on Chapter 14 Rules
  • 2019-44: Hathaway Scholarship Success Curriculum Changes
  • 2019-45: EPA Webinars Available on Lead in Schools

Jillian

WDE Seeks Public Comment on Chapter 14 Rules

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) seeks public comment on proposed revisions to the Chapter 14 Rules: Education Program Approval of Public and Private Institutions Receiving State Funds for the Education Costs of Students. The revisions are a result of the passage of Wyoming Statute 21-13-336 in 2016 (SEA 0034).

The current rules (from 2006) detail the requirements for institutional schools in cases where Wyoming students are placed by court order; however, there are no requirements addressing placement due to medical necessity. The revised rules will define the expectations that institutions and facilities must meet in order to receive payment from the WDE for the educational costs of students placed by a court order, or placed for medical necessity as verified by the Wyoming Department of Health. The proposed revisions are a combination of rules and regulations for both W.S. 21-13-315 and W.S. 21-13-336.

Public comment on the proposed rules is open, both online and by mail from through April 30, 2019. Comments can be submitted online or mailed to:

Wyoming Department of Education
Attn: Jo Ann Numoto
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. When commenting, please specify which rule change the comment is concerning.

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

Championing Education In Wyoming

Dear Superintendents,

It was a great week to be on the Wyoming road (despite a wintry 4.5 hour drive from Casper to Cheyenne on Wednesday night). Thank you to the superintendents who shared students, teachers, and innovations with me during my visits. It is truly a joy to be a champion for Wyoming education–there are so many great things going on! I also appreciated the opportunity to visit with educators about computer science, legislation related to reading assessment and intervention, and the Hathaway Scholarship.

My staff is working to “unpack” the impacts of the legislative session and we will announce a tele-conference debrief for superintendents soon.

On the national front, First Lady Melania Trump is promoting her Be Best initiative, which includes the well-being of children, online safety, and opioid abuse. I am particularly excited about this initiative as we continue to talk about student well-being (social-emotional) in the context of school and student safety.

bruce

Wyoming Teacher of the Year, Valerie Bruce, with her students.rivcte

Riverton FFA and Welding teacher, Taylor Haley, shows how her district spent Perkins funds.

Memos to be released on Monday, March 11:

  • 2019-037:  Eighth Grade Unit of Study Certification Form
  • 2019-038:  Accreditation Training
  • 2019-039:  Computer Science Summer Workshops
  • 2019-040ESSA Report Card Feedback
  • 2019-041:  2019-20 Digital Learning Award Nominations
  • 2019-042:  Data-Based Individualization (DBI) Summit

Jillian

Analyzing New Legislation

Dear Superintendents,

The Wyoming Legislature adjourned for the 2019 session in the early morning hours of February 28. As has been our practice, we will analyze the impact of new legislation and schedule a debrief video conference with superintendents and others. Meanwhile, Governor Gordon continues to sign bills into law.

On the national front, President Trump signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019, providing funding for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2019 for all federal government agencies and programs not yet included in enacted appropriations.  While funding for the Department of Education was enacted back in September, the new bill contains $100 million for the Department of Justice’s STOP School Violence Act.  It also contains $110 million (an increase of $10 million above last year) for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) STEM education programs.

ved

The WDE celebrated Digital (Virtual) Learning Day in style–with Virtual 307 training and cake.busbill

Students, educators, board members, law enforcement, lawmakers, and others celebrated as Governor Gordon signed a bill to stiffen penalties for driving past a bus with the STOP arm down.

Memos to be released on March 4:

  • 2019-031:  Call for Proposals: 2019 Wyoming Innovations in Learning Conference
  • 2019-032:  OER Summer Workshop Registration
  • 2019-033:  Wyoming Advisory Panel for Students with Disabilities
  • 2019-034:  Public Comment, Application for Part B Federal Special Education Funds
  • 2019-035:  2019-20 Virtual Education Program Information
  • 2019-036:  Girls Go CyberStart Challenge

Jillian

Bridging school security and student well-being

Dear Superintendents,

Last Friday the Wyoming House defeated a bill that would have created a framework for school safety and security. Specifically, it would have required inter-agency collaboration at the state level to develop guidelines and best practices for schools. Also, the bill would have emphasized specific aspects of school safety and security plans and professional development. Student safety and well-being is a priority we share. While I was disappointed in the outcome of the bill after unanimous passage out of the House Education Committee, I remain committed to keeping student safety and well-being on our front burners.

At times, it feels like a challenge to bridge school security and student well-being. Recently I had the opportunity to attend a Rachel’s Challenge student assembly. In a word, it was powerful; powerful for me, powerful for the students, and powerful for the safety and culture of the school. Many many schools in Wyoming and across the nation have hosted a Rachel’s Challenge events.

Here’s what our colleague, Superintendent Dave Nicholas from Worland, shared with me recently,

“This is the best student assembly I have ever hosted.  The training that accompanies the presentation is profound and is making a positive impact in our district. This message is ‘sticky,’ the precepts of Rachel‘s Challenge are simple and if implemented; life changing.”  David

Now, onto exciting news regarding Rachel’s Challenge: A supporter of the program has offered to pay a portion of the assembly fee for Wyoming schools. Because of the generosity of this Wyoming supporter, the “Immerse” program, that is typically $6500, is available for $2800. That price is “all-in.” This is a tremendous gift to Wyoming schools and the assembly is well worth it.

Rachel’s Challenge has partnered for years with Dr. Bob Marzano and is bringing on a new partner in Scarlett Lewis, founder of the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation. 

Below are a few links with contact information. Please reach out to me personally if I can assist you in any way as you pursue Rachel’s Challenge in your community. This is a positive, local, and impactful step toward ensuring student well-being and a positive school culture.

Chain Reaction-Rachel’s Challenge
The Story that Changes Everything

Here is a link to the pricing and programming sheet with contact information. Once again, for Wyoming schools the “Immerse” package is $2800 versus $6500.


rachels

Cheyenne East High School FCCLA students worked to bring Rachel’s Challenge to their schoolprayer breakfast

Governor’s Prayer Breakfast (L to R) Superintendent Balow, Governor Gordon, Sergent Daniel Stech (Wyoming Army recruiter), keynote speaker Navy SEAL Commander Denver Rorkeddd

Milken Educator of the Year, Chris Bessonette (and son Karsten), recieves the official reward from Milken presented by SBE Board Chair Walt Wilcox and Superintendent Balow

Memos to be released on Monday, February 25:

  • 2019-026:  Virtual 307 Website Launch
  • 2019-027:  Douvas Memorial Scholarship Applications Open
  • 2019-028:  Positive School Climate Funding Opportunity
  • 2019-029:  Wyoming Education Trust Fund Applications Open
  • 2019-030:  Science Survey, PD, and Resources

Jillian

Celebrating Milestones, People

Dear Superintendents,

We celebrated two worthy milestones in education policy this week:

  1. AdvancED accreditation for the Wyoming Cowboy Challenge Academy
  2. Signing of Senate File 0043 expanding the Hathaway Scholarship

We also hosted the 2019 Wyoming Teacher of the Year. She represented teachers and education with poise, passion, and professionalism.

The events are best told in photos. Enjoy!

Memos will not be public until Tuesday, February 19 because of the holiday.

wcca

Wyoming’s Adjutant General Luke Reiner and Superintendent Balow recap the work and collaboration it took to achieve the AdvancED accreditation status. Credits earned at the Academy can now count toward local graduation requirements. Here is a link to the media release: 

hath

Governor Gordon signed a bill that expands the success curriculum to include CTE courses and makes the scholarship more accessible to students seeking workforce training after high school. Business, industry, educators, and policymakers celebrated Friday afternoon.

This evolution of the Scholarship also creates better alignment among Wyoming’s workforce demands, our education accountability system (which recognizes graduates who are prepared for college, careers, and military service), and scholarship opportunities.

Here is a link to the media release.

WYTOY

Valerie Bruce is a 1st grade teacher at Rozet Elementary in Campbell County. She is the 2019 Wyoming Teacher of the Year. During 2019, she will learn to advocate for the education profession and her passions in diverse settings. On Thursday she addressed the Wyoming House and Senate and talked about the importance of excellent teachers. Mrs. Bruce is a stellar advocate for teachers and Wyoming education.

 

Memos to be released on Tuesday, February 19:

  • 2019-022: 2020 Wyoming Teacher of the Year Application
  • 2019-023: Pacesetter Award Nominations Open
  • 2019-024: Preliminary Allocations for 2019-20 ESSA Consolidated Grant, McKinney-Vento
  • 2019-025: Webinar on English Learners and Title III Funding

Jillian

State Superintendent Partners with Industry and CTE Teachers to Improve Hathaway Scholarship

CHEYENNE – Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow applauds a new law that provides greater flexibility for Wyoming students to qualify for a Hathaway Scholarship.

“After years of work with industry and career and technical teachers, I am proud that Wyoming took one more step toward recognizing the viability of the trades and career readiness training,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “With this bill, we can help deliver the skilled workforce that Wyoming industries need, no matter if that’s a four-year degree or specialized training. Whatever our cars will run on in the future, we’re still going to need mechanics with advanced skills to keep them on the road. We need welders, electricians, plumbers, carpenters and wind turbine technicians. Also, with Wyoming leading the way in blockchain technology, there is a growing demand for computer coders, tech engineers, and developers.”

Senate File 43, signed into law today by Governor Mark Gordon, expands Hathaway Scholarship opportunities. Wyoming students with an aptitude and passion for specialty trades now have more options for meeting the Hathaway Success Curriculum requirements in high school.

For 2019 and 2020 high school graduates, students can take either the current Success Curriculum or the new amended curriculum. The new Success Curriculum will take full effect in the 2021 school year.

The Wyoming Department of Education will provide guidance for school districts, institutions of higher learning, parents, and students later this month

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CTE

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

WDE Helps Champion Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy’s Educational Accreditation

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) announced Tuesday the Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy (WCCA) in Guernsey received its educational accreditation from AdvancEd, a national non-profit organization that accredits educational institutions based on standards of quality. Of all the National Guard-sponsored ChalleNGe programs, WCCA is the seventh academy to gain full accreditation.

Credits students earn while attending WCCA are now more easily transferable back to students’ home school districts and will count toward graduation. Several Wyoming schools are AdvancEd accredited in addition to state accreditation.

“I am thrilled to see the Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy gain accreditation,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “WCCA gives each cadet who chooses to attend the academy the opportunity to explore many careers and trades, all while achieving their GED or earning credits toward a diploma.

“This was an incredible partnership we forged with our military, and we look forward to continuing to build on this accomplishment,” Balow added. “Wyoming succeeds when all of our students succeed.”

“Now that WCCA is accredited, we are looking forward to partnering with all Wyoming school districts in providing at-risk youth and non-traditional learners additional options for advancing their educational achievement,” said WCCA Director William Moore. “WCCA’s goal is to maximize a student’s credit recovery so they can rejoin their respective classes and graduate from high school. For those young men and women that can no longer achieve a traditional high school diploma, WCCA aims to provide them with the opportunity to obtain a GED and vocational education that will aid them in joining the Wyoming workforce.”

“We’ve been working toward accreditation for some time. I’m pleased our staff’s hard work allows us to continue to provide our state’s at-risk youth an alternative to dropping out of school, while partnering with Wyoming school districts to ensure they are college, career, and military ready,” said Major General Luke Reiner, Wyoming’s adjutant general.

The mission of the Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy is to provide a safe, disciplined and professional learning environment that empowers non-traditional learners (ages 16-18) to improve their educational level and employment potential and become responsible productive citizens.

The WDE has developed a fact sheet to help answer questions school district might have, such as how this accreditation impacts districts when a student attends WCCA, then transitions back to his or her home district. This document will be updated as necessary.

For more information about the WCCA, visit wycowboychallenge.org.

WCCACake

Major General Luke Reiner, Adjutant General for Wyoming, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow celebrated the WCCA’s accreditation with a cake ceremony at the WDE offices Tuesday. 

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

WDE Helps Champion Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy’s Educational Accreditation

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) announced Tuesday the Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy (WCCA) in Guernsey received its educational accreditation from AdvancedEd, a national non-profit organization that accredits educational institutions based on standards of quality. Of all the National Guard-sponsored ChalleNGe programs, WCCA is the seventh academy to gain full accreditation.

Credits students earn while attending WCCA are now more easily transferable back to students’ home school districts and will count toward graduation. Several Wyoming schools are AdvancedEd accredited in addition to state accreditation.

“I am thrilled to see the Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy gain accreditation,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “WCCA gives each cadet who chooses to attend the academy the opportunity to explore many careers and trades, all while achieving their GED or earning credits toward a diploma.

“This was an incredible partnership we forged with our military, and we look forward to continuing to build on this accomplishment,” Balow added. “Wyoming succeeds when all of our students succeed.”

“Now that WCCA is accredited, we are looking forward to partnering with all Wyoming school districts in providing at-risk youth and non-traditional learners additional options for advancing their educational achievement,” said WCCA Director William Moore. “WCCA’s goal is to maximize a student’s credit recovery so they can rejoin their respective classes and graduate from high school. For those young men and women that can no longer achieve a traditional high school diploma, WCCA aims to provide them with the opportunity to obtain a GED and vocational education that will aid them in joining the Wyoming workforce.”

“We’ve been working toward accreditation for some time. I’m pleased our staff’s hard work allows us to continue to provide our state’s at-risk youth an alternative to dropping out of school, while partnering with Wyoming school districts to ensure they are college, career, and military ready,” said Major General Luke Reiner, Wyoming’s adjutant general.

The mission of the Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy is to provide a safe, disciplined and professional learning environment that empowers non-traditional learners (ages 16-18) to improve their educational level and employment potential and become responsible productive citizens.

The WDE has developed a fact sheet to help answer questions school district might have, such as how this accreditation impacts districts when a student attends WCCA, then transitions back to his or her home district. This document will be updated as necessary.

For more information about the WCCA, visit wycowboychallenge.org.

WCCACake

Major General Luke Reiner, Adjutant General for Wyoming, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow celebrated the WCCA’s accreditation with a cake ceremony at the WDE offices Tuesday. 

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

Celebrating CTE Month in Wyoming

Dear Superintendents,

What a special week for Wyoming CTE students! State officers from DECA, FBLA, FCCLA, FFA, and Skills USA visited Cheyenne for a special day of discussions with legislators, a Governor’s Proclamation, and good old-fashioned networking.

We would love to see Wyoming educators, business and industry community members, and students participate in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month celebration. This is an annual Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) Twitter chat and it will take place February 19 at 3:00 p.m. Wyoming time.  Be sure to use #CTSOchat when responding and let others know Wyoming is represented.

ctso

State Officers from the Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) visited the Captiol this week. They represented all CTE students very well!biz

Members of the business and industry community celebrated Governor Gordon’s signing of the CTE proclamation. This was the third proclamation signed by Governor Gordon.

 

Every Student Succeeds (ESSA) Implementation

The USED released proposed, non-regulatory guidance to support school districts’ compliance with the Every Student Succeeds Act’s (ESSA) requirement that federal funds supplement, and do not supplant, state and local funds.  The guidance explains how ESSA changed the long-standing requirement in order to reduce administrative burden, simplify the compliance demonstration, and promote effective spending.  (Note: The Department welcomes stakeholder comment on the proposed guidance directed to OESE.Feedback@ed.gov through February 25.)

While important and well-intentioned, the supplement not supplant requirement was restrictive and burdensome, to the point that some districts made ineffective spending choices in an effort to avoid non-compliance.  Under ESSA, the requirement changed to provide more flexibility to districts while still ensuring that federal funds are supplemental to state and local funds and cannot be used to replace them.

In order to comply, a district need only show that its methodology to allocate state and local resources to schools does not take into account a school’s Title I status.  For many districts, the requirement can be met using the district’s current methodology for allocating state and local resources. At the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) we are committed to supporting you to spend federal dollars as flexibly as possible.

Marzano

Marzano training Phase IV- Proficiency Scales for Exceptional Learners in Casper this week

 

Funding Opportunity

Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youth (P3) is a unique initiative that offers state, local, and tribal governments more flexibility to innovate to improve the outcomes of some of the nation’s most disadvantaged youth.  Specifically, P3 enables government entities to obtain waivers of statutory or regulatory requirements that impede effective service delivery to disconnected youth and also gives them the ability to blend together funds from multiple federal programs, eliminating the need to account for and report on each of them.  The deadline for applications is April 29.  (Note: Examples of possible waivers are in the Federal Register notice, while a list of waivers previously granted for prior pilots is on the Youth.gov program page.)

 

Memos to be released on Monday, February 11:

  • 2019-016: ACCESS 2.0, ALT ACCESS Participation Rate Requirement
  • 2019-017: Celebrate Digital (Virtual) Learning Day
  • 2019-018: BOCES Survey Reminder
  • 2019-019: 2018-19 CTE Course Approval Timeline
  • 2019-020: Survey for ALT 1 Percent Cap (WY-ALT, ACCESS-ALT)
  • 2019-021: Call for Presenters for the 2019 Native American Education Conference

Jillian