Category Archives: Superintendent’s Weekly Update

State Superintendent Jillian Balow sends an update to school district superintendents at the end of every week so they can see the memos which will be sent out the following week and highlight statewide education work.

District and State Teacher of the Year Nominations

Dear Superintendents,

Welcome to summer, officially! We are excited about the participation in our summer trainings and opportunities! Thank you for encouraging staff attendance.

District and State Teachers of the Year

We have fewer applications than usual for our 2021 State Teacher of the Year (STOY). Please ensure:

  1. Your district selects a 2021 District Teacher of the Year (DTOY)
  2. Your DTOY fills out the application for STOY. The application is here.

Other Updates

  • The WDE will provide an ESSER funds update to districts in the coming days as more information about how “equitable services” affects Wyoming schools and ESSER fund calculations.
  • The Smart Start group finalized a draft fall reopening plan and presented it to the COVID-19 Education Task Force today (Friday). The draft plan contains requirements, recommendations, and considerations for schools as you consider how to reopen buildings for school in the fall.

Memos to be released on Monday, June 29:

  • 2020-101:    Webinar on English Learners and Title III Funding
  • 2020-102:    Plan “A” School Counselor Professional Development Days – Fall 2020

Wyoming Updates from USED

Dear Superintendents,

The United States Department of Education (USED) approved the following for Wyoming:

  • Wyoming received a provisional waiver permitting an extension of the period of availability in Section 421(b) of the General Education Provisions Act for Federal fiscal year (FFY) 2018 the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B grant award funds. Grant award funds will be available for obligation through September 30, 2021 and may be liquidated through December 30, 2021.
  • Wyoming’s Perkins V plan was approved, along with fourteen other sates. The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) encourages states to expand opportunities for every student to access coursework that will put them on the path to success. Wyoming, along the other approved states, crafted a plan to fulfill a promise to offer robust Career and Technical Education (CTE) options for students. The plan was developed in consultation with key constituents representing education and workforce, business and industry, and parents and community leaders.

In-person Instruction Updates:

  • Governor Gordon released new health orders on June 10. The orders relax in-person instruction restrictions and go into effect on June 15. School districts should continue to work with local health officials to determine appropriate practices.
  • The Smart Start group continues to work on considerations, recommendations, and requirements for fall reopening. This should not preclude school districts from developing local plans.

Summer and Fall Professional Development:

  • Many of our upcoming professional development opportunities have shifted to an online format. This has given us flexibility and unforeseen opportunities to expand offerings. Please be sure to check our website for updates and events.
  • TWO such events (Perkins V, literacy) are included with this week’s memos.

Memos to be released on Monday, June 15:

2020-091:    Technical Education Tuesdays
2020-092:    Virtual Learning Professional Development Survey
2020-093:    Computer Science Teacher Competency Review Committee
2020-094:    End of Year WDE652 Staffing Collection
2020-095:    WDE and UW Co-Sponsored K-3 Literacy Conference

COVID-19 Resources Available

Dear Superintendents,

Below are several resources that we have not previously shared:

Both the Wyoming and U.S. Departments of Education websites are updated frequently with resources:

Post Secondary Attainment

Early in May, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released “The Condition of Education 2020.” For a snapshot of key information, check out the “Executive Summary” and “At a Glance” options.

Among the interesting data, educational attainment rates for 25- to 29-year-olds increased at all levels between 2000 and 2019.  During this time, the percentage with high school completion or higher increased from 88% to 94%, the percentage with an associate’s degree or higher increased from 38% to 49%, the percentage with a bachelor’s degree or higher increased from 29% to 39%, and the percentage with a master’s degree or higher increased from 5% to 9%.

Wyoming’s post-attainment goals and efforts, as well as an intensified focus on career and technical education, contribute positively to this trend.


I took time yesterday to film a few words of encouragement for the Laramie County Library summer reading challenge (with EvaLyn Flores, Early Literacy Specialist at Laramie County Library and Stephanie Prescott of REMAX Professionals). REMAX is among the program sponsors.

Memos to be released on Monday, June 1:

  • 2020-086:   Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) – Request for Proposal
  • 2020-087:   Wyoming Advisory Panel Meeting for Students
    with Disabilities
  • 2020-088:   RISE Award Application Now Open

Finding Moments of Hope

Dear Superintendents,

As the end-of-school year rituals pass us by, processing these strange times does not get any easier. From cleaning out lockers to graduation, May 2020 feels surreal. Energy at WDE is usually palpable this time of year. On any given day in May and June, our staff is gearing up for summer trainings – stuffing swag bags, finalizing agendas and speakers, traveling across the state, and looking forward to learning alongside our Wyoming education colleagues. It feels much different this year. Many of our staff members are teleworking and most of our summer conferences will be virtual. Nonetheless, we find moments of hope – those moments when we know education will be better because (or in spite) of this pandemic. Hang in there, Wyoming! We love working alongside you – virtually and in-person – to create even more opportunities for students.


The newly rolled out Level Up program is going full steam ahead and is comprised of 2020 district and state teachers of the year, along with their principals, and other teaching award recipients. The 2020 cohort met face-to-face in February and quickly built a community of enthused leaders. Recently, I convened the cohort to advise me – It was incredibly valuable and our meetings will continue. Also, two members of the cohort are now serving on the Smart Start working group (see below for information). My point here is this – not all districts select a teacher of the year and that means those districts miss the opportunity to celebrate great teachers AND the opportunity to participate in Level Up. It’s not too late to select a district teacher of the year. Here is the information. 

Here’s a bonus message to Wyoming graduates from Wyoming’s State Teacher of the Year, Dane Weaver, of Ten Sleep.


This week we kicked off the Smart Start Working Group. The working group is comprised of educators, healthcare professionals, and technology partners.

They will:

  • Consider key issues and make recommendations related to reopening schools for the 2020-21 school year to Governor Gordon’s COVID-19 Education Task Force
  • Develop draft guidance for school districts and other educational institutions
  • Recommend components for the Smart Start template that school districts will use
  • Communicate with partners and stakeholders

The working group is chaired by Wanda Maloney, Wyoming Accountability Director, and Stephanie Pyle, Wyoming Senior Administrator of Public Health. We look forward to providing updates and information.



WDE Chiefs and Division Directors share project updates via Zoom

There are a number of pertinent memos this week. Please be sure to take a few moment to preview over the holiday weekend as you honor fallen military men and women. The memos will be made public on Tuesday, May 26.


Memos to be released on Tuesday, May 26:

  • 2020-082:   Career Development Facilitator Training Summer/Fall 2020
  • 2020-083:   Professional Development Grant
  • 2020-084:   District Literacy Plans and WDE626 Early Literacy Data Collection
  • 2020-085:   Leader and Teacher Evaluation Approvals