All posts by tgabrukiewicz

Wyoming Digital Learning Plan Listening Sessions Set

Dear Superintendents,

Leaders are thinkers and thinkers are leaders. As Dr. Albert Mohler said, “Before anything else, leadership is an intellectual activity.” That is because it is in this first stage of leadership where the seeds of potential success or failure are sown.

There is no place where this is more evident than in the educational arena and there is no place where this is more needed than in our society. So as our teachers equip our students to become thought-leaders in this world, it falls to us to be the thought-leaders in our schools, simultaneously training both leaders and thinkers, thinkers and leaders – because with only a few exceptions here and there, they’re usually one and the same.

Vision & Focus

Math teaches kids how to think logically; Science teaches kids how to think critically. History teaches kids how to think in context with perspective, and Language teaches kids how to communicate their thoughts efficiently and effectively. Reading teaches kids to think other people’s thoughts after them while Logic teaches kids to think systematically, consistently, coherently and intelligently.

An educated mind is a well-trained mind, and there are few things in life more consequential or rewarding than to send our young people into this world with an educated mind. As we share this vision with our students, the focus will strengthen and sharpen; as we share this vision with their parents, the focus will broaden and deepen.

The Primary Priority

This week’s Wyoming Teacher Apprenticeship Q&A is:

Question: Is the Wyoming Teacher Apprenticeship initiative creating an alternative pathway to licensure?

Answer: The Wyoming Teacher Apprenticeship does not create an alternative pathway to endorsement. The apprentice will need to complete the same education prep coursework as those teachers going through the traditional route. In addition, the apprentice will spend three years in a classroom with an experienced teacher mentor throughout those years. They must also demonstrate a series of on-the-job competencies before exiting the apprenticeship.

In the Spotlight

Last week, two of our Wyoming schools were recognized as 2022 National Blue Ribbon Schools: Washington Elementary, Sweetwater County School District #2, and Henry A. Coffeen Elementary, Sheridan County School District #2. The program recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

The National Blue Ribbon School award affirms the hard work of these Wyoming students, educators, families, and communities, and for that you are ‘In the Spotlight’ this week. Congratulations!

Also, I had the distinct pleasure to travel to Newcastle last Thursday to present Zach Beam, a physical science, physics, and advanced chemistry teacher at Newcastle High School, with the Wyoming 2023 Teacher of the Year award.

It was a surprise assembly at the school, and Zach is an amazing teacher who will represent Wyoming well. Of course, Zach is “In The Spotlight” too.

Read the full media release here.


Mark You Calendars


Free Wyoming Praxis Computer Science Preparation Course 

CodeHS is partnering with the Wyoming Department of Education to host free, in-depth professional development cohorts to prepare Wyoming K-12 teachers to take the Praxis Computer Science Exam. The course is delivered within a 14-week cohort model where teachers work through the course at the same pace on the CodeHS platform. During the course, teachers are provided 1:1 support sessions, live Q&As, exam prep sessions, networking opportunities, and more.

To be eligible to apply, you should be a Wyoming K-12 public school teacher preparing to add a computer science endorsement to your teaching license. If you have questions, contact

For dates and registration for the Fall Cohort, click here.


But wait, there’s more…

Wyoming Digital Learning Plan Listening Sessions Set

We are seeking your feedback with the help of Marzano Research on the Wyoming Digital Learning Plan. We are going on a listening tour so you can have your thoughts heard. Your first opportunity will be from 4:50-5:30 p.m. on October 10 in Jackson at Teton #1 district board room at 1235 Gregory Lane in Jackson, with more dates and locations across the state.

Can’t make one of these dates? No worries! We’ll have a virtual session and another round of tours to ensure we get as many stakeholders in the conversation as possible.You can find out more on the WDE’s DLP website.

Monday memos:

There are no memos this week.



Zach Beam Named Wyoming’s 2023 Teacher of the Year

NEWCASTLE – Zach Beam, a physical science, physics, and advanced chemistry teacher at Newcastle High School, has been named Wyoming’s 2023 Teacher of the Year, in a surprise assembly at the school on Thursday.

Over the past decade that he has been teaching, Beam’s teaching model and approach has changed several times. However, his goal has always been the same; To help students learn scientific concepts and enjoy the process of doing science and engineering.

“Zach has the ability to bring the excitement of learning to his students with innovation and explanation,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Brian Schroeder. “What he is doing in the area of STEM education – and what he plans to do next fall – just goes to show that he is all-in with letting his students grasp these far-reaching concepts in a way that is really, really fun and exciting.”

Beam, who has taught in Newcastle for the past nine years, has presented at state and national conferences on managing a paperless classroom, the logistics of summer field science, and implementing a student makerspace to support student interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics  (STEM). In the fall of 2023, he will teach a STEM Lab in Newcastle.

“I was honored to be named Weston #1 District Teacher of the Year, but it is above and beyond to be named Wyoming Teacher of the Year,” Beam said. “It was amazing to see the student reaction to the announcement and it continues to get me excited to see them excited.”

“Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” – John Maxwell

“This quote is so true with Zach,” said Weston School District #1 Superintendent Brad LaCroix. “He truly does care for all his students, and it shows by the relationship he has established with every one of his students. Zach has been a science teacher for WCSD #1 for 10 years. He is an exceptional teacher that has the art of making science fun and exciting as well as educational for the students. He is greatly respected by students and staff at Newcastle High School as well as in the community..”

Beam holds a Bachelor of Science from Black Hills State University. There he majored in Math and Science Education with a focus in physics. He has a Master of Arts in Science Education from Western Governors University with a focus in chemistry. Prior to his teaching career, Beam worked for the U.S. Forest Service Job Corps’ Education Department.

“My message to my profession and to the public is to value the opportunities that we can provide our students, “ Beam said. “Every time students get exposed to new information, it could be the ember that ignites their passion for education and their future endeavors. We do not always know what will engage our students, but when we open up new avenues we show them that they are capable in new ways. I want the public to know that as teachers we are inspired by the ‘ah ha’ moments that our students have and we want to foster that excitement when our students ‘get it’ for the first time or make a connection to prior learning.”

The Wyoming Teacher of the Year comes with the significant responsibility of representing the teaching profession in Wyoming. The Wyoming Teacher of the Year acts as liaison among the teaching community, Wyoming Legislature, Wyoming Department of Education, districts and communities. In addition, the Teacher of the Year is an education ambassador to businesses, parents, service organizations, and media, as well as an education leader involved in teacher forums and education reform.


Photo of the 2023 Teacher of the Year

Media Contact:
Linda Finnerty, Communications Director

Purple Star Schools

Dear Superintendents,

Leadership is a convictional enterprise – it starts with a purpose, not a plan. Therefore, it is more about what a leader believes than what he or she does. And because ideas have consequences, it makes a difference what a leader believes.

Moreover, it is these convictions that give a leader his or her vision, mission and passion. And from this soil comes other leaders, for good or for ill, affecting generations to come. May we each lead our troops with the sense of direction and conviction that our roles require. May we also find solace in the fact that none of us do it perfectly.

Vision & Focus

Years ago, a tractor trailer truck got stuck while heading into a Boston tunnel. City officials were confused as to how they were going to move it. Some suggested they hire a blasting crew to remove part of the tunnel; others suggested that the roof of the truck and trailer be sawed off.  Meanwhile, traffic was piling up and patience was wearing thin.

Finally, a child stepped forward and suggested they let some air out of the truck tires and back it out to a nearby exit ramp. Needless to say, it worked – the truck was removed and traffic was soon flowing smoothly.

The city officials in this anecdote were taught what to think. The child was taught how to think.

The Primary Priority

This week’s Wyoming Teacher Apprenticeship Question & Answer session:

Questions: Are mentors compensated for their role, If so, by whom are they compensated? Do mentor teachers go through any training?

Answers: Yes, they will be paid a stipend for mentoring an apprentice. The WDE has some funds set aside to assist the district in covering these stipends while sustainable funding sources are achieved. The WDE and PTSB have resources available for training mentors, and the University of Wyoming launched a Mentor Cohort this past summer. It is a year-long training to build capacity and network of support for mentors.

In the Spotlight

Military children experience many challenges as they relocate to new schools due to a parent’s change in duty station. By establishing statewide Purple Star Schools programs, states can encourage local education agencies to implement practices that assist military children with transitions/deployments and also recognize military service and civic responsibility.

We are especially excited about the work that Ken Reynolds and his team have been doing with this program at the WDE. The Purple Star School program is designed to help schools respond to the educational and social-emotional challenges military-connected children face during their transition to a new school and keep them on track to be college, workforce, and life-ready. Military-connected refers to children of service members on active duty, and in the National Guard and Reserves. And for that, we put Ken, his team, and the Purple Star program “In the Spotlight!”

Mark Your Calendars

Seats at the Wyoming MTSS Center Effective Progress Monitoring in-person training on September 21 at Little America are going fast. Progress monitoring is the use of reliable and valid measures to assess a student’s performance and to quantify a student’s rate of improvement or responsiveness to supplemental instruction and support. During this training, participants will learn the critical elements of a progress monitoring tool and how to analyze progress monitoring data to evaluate a student’s response to instruction/intervention. Participants will evaluate and select progress monitoring tools for their own sites. Claim your spot, and register here.

Monday memos:



2021-22 School Performance Ratings Released by the WDE

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) has released its school accountability results for the 2021-22 school year after a two-year hiatus from reporting. The 2018-19 determinations were held constant during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years. Full results are available online.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, 50% of traditional schools were able to maintain their level of school performance. Additionally, 20% were able to increase their school performance rating.  As our state and education system continues to recover, more support and resources are available, as 30% of Wyoming schools are performing at a lower level compared to pre-pandemic levels.

For Wyoming schools, a graduation rate below 66.7% identifies a school as needing Comprehensive Support and Improvement under federal accountability. In 2021-22, a notable positive outcome for alternative schools is an increase in four-year, on-time graduation rates with 52% of alternative schools exceeding the 66.7% threshold as compared to only 39% in 2018-19. At the same time, when looking at overall alternative school performance, 57% are Meeting or Exceeding Expectations.

School performance is evaluated on a combination of student performance indicators, including academic achievement, equity and growth based on the Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress (WY-TOPP), the state assessment. Additional indicators for high schools include post-secondary readiness and graduation rates.

Under state law, all Wyoming elementary, middle, and traditional high schools receive one of four School Performance Ratings (SPR): Exceeding Expectations, Meeting Expectations, Partially Meeting Expectations, or Not Meeting Expectations. Alternative schools receive one of four SPRs: Exceeding Alternative Expectations, Meeting Alternative Expectations, Partially Meeting Alternative Expectations or Not Meeting Alternative Expectations. The 2021-22 SPRs show that 49% of Wyoming traditional schools are Meeting or Exceeding Expectations and 57% of Wyoming alternative schools are Meeting or Exceeding Alternative School Expectations.

This table compares traditional schools performance ratings* from 2021-22 to 2018-19.


This table compares alternative schools performance ratings* from 2021-22 to 2018-19.


*Small schools are excluded from these calculations. In grades 3-8, a school must have at least 10 students on the Achievement and Growth indicators in order to receive a school performance rating. In high school, a school must have at least 10 students on the Achievement and Graduation Rate indicators in order to receive a school performance rating.

Under federal law, schools in need of support are identified. There are three types of support:

  • Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) is for Title I schools performing among the lowest in the state and any school with a graduation rate below 67 percent.
  • Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) is for any school that has a specific group of students that is not performing well.
  • Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (ATSI) is for schools that have a specific group of students that is chronically not performing well.

There are currently 20 schools designated as CSI, 32 schools designated as TSI, and 16 schools designated as ATSI.

“State and federal accountability work in tandem to provide information about the overall performance of schools in Wyoming,” said Deputy State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chad Auer. “These results provide a snapshot of how schools continue to move forward – in the face of disruptions – to meet the needs of students. At the state level, we assist in providing resources for all schools – with a continued focus on helping every school succeed.”


Accountability FAQ

The WDE Releases 2022 Assessment Results

CHEYENNE – Results for the fourth administration of the Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress (WY-TOPP) are now available online.

For the Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress (WY-TOPP) and the Wyoming Alternate Assessment (WY-ALT), results indicate areas of growth in proficiency rates at individual grade levels within each content area.

Overall student proficiency rates decreased in English Language Arts (ELA) by 0.80%, increased in Math by 0.30%, and decreased in Science by 0.10% compared to the results for 2021.

“Wyoming educators have done a tremendous job ensuring student learning continued through the pandemic,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Brian Schroeder. ”Although there are areas where results decreased slightly for a second year, overall they were less than three percent compared to the state results prior to the pandemic. Wyoming’s commitment to keeping students in the classroom continues to be reflected in these assessments results.”

newsci again

*2022 Science results were based on a new science test, aligned to the 2016 Science Standards and the 2018 Science Extended Standards.

The WY-TOPP and WY-ALT assessments are administered through an adaptive online platform. Students in grades 3-10 took the WY-TOPP and WY-ALT summative assessments for math and ELA. Grade 3, 5, 7, and 9 students were also assessed in writing on WY-TOPP. Students in grades 4, 8, and 10 students were assessed in science on WY-TOPP and WY-ALT. This science test was the first administration that assessed the 2016 Science Standards and the 2018 Science Extended Standards, and new cut scores were determined in June by an educator committee. More information is available here for WY-ALT and here for WY-TOPP.

WY-TOPP, WY-ALT, ACCESS for ELLs, and ACT results will be used to inform accountability determinations to be released September 14, 2022.




*2022 Science results were based on a new science test, aligned to the 2016 Science Standards and the 2018 Science Extended Standards.

In addition to the WY-TOPP results, the 2022 state-, district-, and school-level results for the ACT taken by students in grade 11 are available online.



Assessment FAQ

2022 Governor’s Mental Health Summit

When in the role of a classroom teacher, there were times that I would wrestle with the following question: “Is education about putting it on the bottom shelf where they can reach it, or on the top shelf where they have to stretch for it?” On some days, I concluded it was the former; other days, it was clearly the latter. Eventually, I decided it was a both/and proposition rather than either/or, depending on where the student was at and what he/she needed on any given day. Though we can fall off either side of the horse as teachers, the trick was to stay on the horse. This seemed a sensible stance to take.

With more time and growth, however, I realized it could be argued that while a balanced approach is usually safest, it is not always best. So when in teaching mode these days, if I am going to error on one side or the other, I more often now choose to error on the side of placing it on the top shelf, i.e., making them stretch. Though agonizing at times (for both student and teacher!), long-term it generally produces better fruit. This is not only consistent with education’s historic tendencies, but also with its ultimate objective, the foundation of its abiding vision.

Vision & Focus

If education’s timeless purpose really is teaching thinking, then it is only logical that this would be rooted in the teaching of logic, because logic is simply the systematic “rules of thinking.”

But the discipline of logic is not easy, because thinking is not easy. In fact, as Henry Ford said,  “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.” Thomas Edison agreed: “There is no expedient,” he said, “to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.”

Nevertheless, learning to think is the singular transcendent purpose of a real education as it relates to our students, and we best serve our students by making them stretch.

The Primary Priority

The Wyoming Teacher Apprenticeship Initiative work continues at a quick pace. The Work Group is concentrating on completing the application to the US Department of Labor for the WDE to become authorized as a sponsor for the initiative, supporting our school districts in Wyoming. Once this step is complete, the pilot districts will be able to officially accept applications for apprentices. More to come soon.

In the Spotlight

Which brings us to two very special people here at the WDE: Shelley Hamel and Dr. Laurel Ballard.

The WDE most certainly could not function without either one of them and their teams. Shelley brings a love for special education and dedication to the work of literacy that edifies us all. Laurel has brought an expertise and joy to the process of building the Teacher Apprenticeship program that has made it move along at a rate many outsiders thought impossible. Together, these two ladies are titans in the Wyoming education world and, for good reason, have earned the respect of their peers in both the department and in the districts.

So this week, for their incredible and meaningful service, we put Shelley Hamel and Laurel Ballard ‘In the Spotlight’! Thank you both for all you do.

Mark Your Calendars


2022 Governor’s Mental Health Summit, 7 a.m.-5 p.m. on October 11, 2022

Join Governor Mark Gordon, alongside members of the Legislative and Judicial branches, to discuss the state of mental health in Wyoming. Discussions will focus on current efforts related to mental health and substance abuse, the continuum of care, expectations of the system from various perspectives, and the development of a common agenda for Wyoming. In addition, Dr. Rob Anda, developer of the Adverse Childhood Experiences research and founder of ACE Interface, will connect leadership conversations related to mental health and substance abuse support with the importance of establishing trauma-responsive communities using panel discussions of current efforts. The event will also include opportunities for networking with state leaders and community partners across Wyoming. Register here.

Monday memos:



SBCTE to Hear Teachers Present on Professional Development Externships

CHEYENNE  – The Wyoming State Board of Career and Technical Education (SBCTE) and Wyoming State Board of Education (SBE) will hold its next virtual meeting at 8:30 a.m. on September 15, 2022.

The board will initially convene as the SBCTE and receive an update on statewide Career and Technical Education (CTE) activities. The board also will hear presentations from CTE teachers who have completed professional development externships as part of the state’s Perkins V plan.

Upon reconvening as the SBE, Susan Patrick, President and CEO of the Aurora Institute, will provide the SBE with insights on competency-based education and how these approaches may support the work of the Profile of a Graduate.

School accountability determinations will be presented by the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE). Due to disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic, schools have not received updated school performance ratings for two years. Performance ratings this fall are based on the 2021-22 school year. WDE staff also will provide an update on the Statewide System of Support, which  provides assistance to schools in addressing low performance ratings.

The board will discuss proposed revisions to the state health standards with specific discussion around the inclusion of mental wellness and suicide prevention awareness.

All SBE meetings are open to the public. To attend the virtual meeting, register in advance here.   After registering, participants will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Materials for board meetings are available on BoardDocs. Previous meetings’ minutes and materials may be viewed through the board’s website. Follow the SBE  on Facebook and Twitter.

– END –

Media Contact:
Diana Clapp
(307) 851-3478

Wyoming Teacher Apprenticeship

Dear Superintendents,

With the demands of the job and the stressors that go with a profession that is highly people-intensive, each of us at times struggle on various fronts and in various ways with our own leadership prowess. We each have our own strengths and weaknesses, which carry with them their own assets and liabilities. Experience is certainly one of the best instructors, but just as certainly, not the only one.

While some are only open to learning from their own experiences, others are open to learning from the experiences of those who have gone before them. Hopefully, life has done enough of a number on most of us to where we fall into the latter category. If so, the budding School Leaders Training Regimen (SLTR) will become a lifeline for many of our school heads across this state.

Because leadership is sometimes lonely, the SLTR can provide some much needed community. Because leadership is often difficult,  SLTR will provide support. And because leadership is a very deep ocean, this new statewide leadership training paradigm envisions becoming a repository of mentoring, instruction and learning. Led by some of Wyoming’s best and most successful school leaders, this emerging “leadership academy” will prepare our school boards, superintendents and principals to lead their schools more effectively so our schools can lead the nation more proactively. Stay tuned …

Vision & Focus

To learn to think … In math, to learn means computation, to think means application. In history, learning is about what happened, thinking is about who told you what happened.  In science, the learning side comes through observation while the thinking side comes through experimentation. In reading, it’s not only learning how to read, but also distinguishing what is worth reading.

This is where the finer appetites are cultivated, because as C.S. Lewis reminded us, “We are far too easily pleased.” So the more we expose our students to the “great works” of literature, which embody some of the greatest thoughts from some of the greatest minds of all time, the more we teach kids how to think. And with few exceptions, once they’ve had steak, it will be hard for them to go back to hot dogs.

The Primary Priority

We get asked often what the general path of a Wyoming Teacher Apprenticeship (WTA) candidate would look like. When the apprentice completes the program they will have at least a bachelor’s degree. They will also be required to complete on-the-job training, demonstrate on-the-job competencies, receive ongoing, intensive mentorship from experienced teachers, and meet all PTSB licensure requirements. The WTA will not create an alternative pathway to licensure. The graphic below illustrates this:

WTA Image 2

In the Spotlight

August is a very busy month for the WDE School Foundation Program. Data is the lifeblood of the Wyoming Funding Model and August is the time of year when multiple data collections are due to the WDE so that numbers can be crunched and entitlement payments distributed. A big thank you to the SFP team and all of the business managers for your incredible efforts over the past few weeks. It’s because of you that schools have the necessary resources to kick off the new year and continue to provide Wyoming students with a world-class education, and for that….you are “In the Spotlight!”

Mark Your Calendars

The Sixth-annual Wyoming Innovations in Learning Conference will be held virtually on November 3-4, 2022. The Innovations Conference is an opportunity for educators to share and explore innovative teaching and learning practices for classrooms and distance learning environments, from kindergarten through higher education. Don’t miss out on this chance to connect with other inventive educators – register here.

Monday memos:



Wyoming National Board Certification Initiative

Dear Superintendents,

As we are now past the August 16 election, we want to congratulate Megan Degenfelder on her primary victory for Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction. We also will assure the winner of the November general elections that we will do everything we can to achieve a smooth and successful transition, for the good of the WDE, Wyoming, and most importantly, our schools and our students.

In the meantime, I look forward to the remainder of my term here (four months) and the work that still needs to be done. Besides the Teacher Apprenticeship Initiative that is now off the ground, we have in our sights the Wyoming Literacy Campaign (to be officially launched in November), a School Leadership Training Regimen (in the works), and the Tourism & Hospitality Project (in concert with our CTE programs). We are excited about how each of these programs will further position Wyoming to lead the nation in education, reinforcing our vision and focus.

Vision & Focus

The great historic education tradition was about teaching young minds how to learn from others so they could think for themselves. The thrust of Aristotelian logic and the Socratic teaching method was always on developing thinkers. Socrates himself said, “I can’t teach anyone anything, I can only make them think.”

The Primary Priority

Here are the Wyoming Teacher Apprenticeship questions for this week.


Can districts limit the number of candidates based on available funding? Is there a screening beyond meeting the requirements or qualifications?


Yes, districts can have additional considerations for who they select as apprentices beyond the minimum qualifications identified by WDE and PTSB. Apprentice applicants will need a letter of recommendation from a building administrator, and participate in an interview about the apprenticeship. Some of the additional considerations may include: content area staffing needs and apprentice candidates wanting to become licensed in those areas; availability and number of mentors selected and their work load; eligibility of apprentice applicants to enroll in an educator preparation program; or any potential funding limitations.

In the Spotlight

This week, we wish to recognize our very capable Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chad Auer, and commend him for the impressive work he has done on several fronts in the past few months: (1) holding down the fort here at the WDE while I’ve been gone campaigning, (2) traveling the state conducting a series of roundtables reviewing the safety/security of our community schools (see his progress update memo to me here), and (3) representing Wyoming at a national think tank hosted by the Hunt Institute and SAS on Covid-related learning loss (see highlight video here).

As my first hire here at the WDE, Chad has proven to be a huge asset both to our agency and the school districts we serve. He’s a good listener, a careful thinker, articulate communicator, and provides balanced leadership in terms of his work ethic and decision-making skills. Moreover, the counsel he provides on any given issue will always be honest and well-reasoned.

Though he does not like the spotlight, we would be remiss not to put him in it.  His contribution to Wyoming K-12 education in the short time he has been in his role has been significant and we are grateful for his passionate commitment to the work of the WDE. Chad, you are the man, and therefore … You are In The Spotlight!

Heads Up

As indicated in legislation, the $4,000 National Board Certification state stipend is still in place. The Wyoming National Board Certification Initiative will support teachers pursuing certification for the next two candidate cycles (2022-23 and 2023-24 school years). Go here for more information.

Mark Your Calendars

Applications are now being accepted for the United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP), a unique educational experience and scholarship opportunity sponsored by the U.S. Senate for outstanding high school students who are interested in pursuing careers in public service.

Find out more information about the program here.

Apply here.

Monday memos:



Wyoming Teacher Apprenticeship

Dear Superintendents,

After a long and tiring campaign, Superintendent Schroeder is taking a few days to rest and recover.

As you lead our schools into the new school year, all of us at the Wyoming Department of Education are working hard to support you and we are cheering for you!  You are the heart and soul of our great schools and we appreciate you.

It is a tremendous honor to serve alongside you as Wyoming goes back to school!

Deputy Superintendent Chad Auer

Vision & Focus

It will always be the purpose of any endeavor that drives its vision and focus. For us, it is the purpose of education that will drive the vision and focus of our K-12 Wyoming education institutions. If teaching thinking is the timeless purpose of education, and if that purpose is constantly clarified and reinforced through each of the content areas (“basket of goods”), then we will see our way more clearly to what it is we’re supposed to accomplish with our students. Classrooms become think tanks, students become fellow thinklings, and our schools become “schools of thought.”

If not, education can quickly become confused with such good things as job-training, such nefarious things as propaganda, such inappropriate things as proselytizing or such well-meaning things as therapy. But education is none of those things, and must never succumb to the pressures to become such.

Education provides a solid foundation for job-training, but it is not the same thing as job-training.  Real education is contrasted by propaganda (and exposes the same) while propaganda is an inept poser. True education improves the heart, but is not simultaneously conflated with the therapeutic model.  The challenge is to stay in our lane, and keep others out of it.  May that ever be our focus as that will ever be education’s vision.

The Primary Priority

Here are our Wyoming Teacher Apprenticeship questions for this week.

Questions: Who will provide the coursework necessary for the apprenticeship program? Will it be through the apprenticeship program, University of Wyoming, the college of the apprentice’s choice or the school district itself? When the apprentice has completed the program do they have a Bachelor’s Degree?


  • The apprentice will enroll in a preparation program that leads to Professional Teaching Standards Board (PTSB) licensure and a Bachelor’s Degree. The WDE and PTSB will verify the programs will meet the requirements before apprentices enroll. Preparation programs will complete an Institutional Recommendation form attesting that the apprentice has completed all program and licensure requirements.
  • The University of Wyoming and Central Wyoming College have some programs that are available and accessible for apprentices – Elementary Education/Special Education dual major, and Early Childhood Education/Early Childhood Special Education respectively. Not every content area aligned to a district’s need is currently available at these two institutions, so additional preparation programs may be necessary within the apprenticeship initiative.
  • On-the-job training will be provided by district personnel.

Mark Your Calendars

The Sixth-annual Wyoming Innovations in Learning Conference will be held virtually on November 3-4, 2022. The Innovations Conference is an opportunity for educators to share and explore innovative teaching and learning practices for classrooms and distance learning environments, from kindergarten through higher education. Don’t miss out on this chance to connect with other inventive educators – register here.

Monday memos: