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.
This is a short and sweet update as I am hunting in northern Wyoming and there are no memos to share.
Educators from across Wyoming met in Casper this past week for the first Leadership in Personalized and Digital Learning training. This cohort of Winning innovative leaders offers school and district leaders an opportunity for job-embedded, professional learning to prepare to lead personalized learning in their schools and districts.
The week wrapped up with snow in some of our communities–fall is definitely here! With that comes additional announcements (memos) from our office. Many are the annual requests for data and the dissemination of information while some have brand new information and opportunities. As I have for the past several years, I will continue to send memos for you to preview with this update–they go public on Mondays. The WDE also shares information via social media. If you, your board members, or your staff are not connected to our social media sites, links are at the bottom of this update.
The Joint Education Interim Committee met this week in Casper to hear from stakeholders about school finance and education issues. The meeting wrapped up late this afternoon.
AdvancED held their Continuous Improvement Conference in Laramie. Former State Superintendent Judy Catchpole and Cody Superintendent Ray Schulte were recognized for their service on the council and Lovell Superintendent Rick Woodford received an award for his leadership.
This week I had the opportunity to present to a U.S. Senate Caucus on Career and Technical Education and after school opportunities. Attendance at the panel was standing room only and caucus members heard clearly about how the work they’ve done to create flexibility in both Perkins and ESSA creates more opportunities for students to achieve education goals. It was exciting to share how, through grant funding (Title IV-B and Wyoming Trust Fund), we were able to create alignment between accountability, CTE, computer science, and after school programs. Thank you for your innovation–it’s always an honor to represent the great work happening in Wyoming schools.
Wyoming’s First Ever Hackathon was a Success! (take a look at #6!)
Overstock.com committed to opening a new office for blockchain software developers in Wyoming.
ActiveAether announced it is relocating from New York City to Jackson.
ActiveAether announced a donation of compute capacity worth $20k in fogcoins to UW’s Computer Science Dept.
27 teams competed—comprised of developers from Switzerland, Egypt, Slovakia, China, Kenya, Canada and all over Wyoming and the US.
All 3 candidates for governor of Wyoming (D, L, R) judged the “Best for Wyoming” category and pitched to participants to stay in Wyoming.
A teacher and his 3 teenaged students from Shoshoni were awarded several thousand dollars in prize value by Decent, a Swiss company whose engineers traveled from Switzerland and Slovakia to attend and they mentored the Shoshoni students.
In years past, many schools have sent young women to the Wyoming Latina Youth Conference and I would like to, once again, extend an invitation for students and teachers in your district to attend. With “Power of Choice” as a theme, there are inspirational speakers throughout the event. Please share this link with anyone who might be interested: http://www.wyominglatinayouthconference.com/
Memos to be released on Monday, September 24, 2018:
Thanks to a partnership between the University of Wyoming and Ramsey Education, Wyoming high schools can receive financial literacy curriculum and entrepreneurship curriculum free of charge. Financial literacy continues to be a priority of mine and I encourage you to read my letter with more information:
Both Teton #1 and Laramie #1 welcomed Assistant Deputy Secretary Jose Viana on school visits as part of USED’s Back-to-School Tour. Jose is the Director of the Office of English Language Acquisition and both school districts were able to show their excellent work with English Learners and their families. You can read more on his visit in the articles linked below:
As the school year begins, I remind you that the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) stands ready to support your schools. We sponsored, supported, and attended dozens of trainings across the state over the summer and we understand that “sit and get” is the least effective professional development. We intend to continue supporting, coaching, and providing guidance throughout the school year.
Congratulations to new superintendents in the state and we look forward to seeing you throughout the year in your community, and at statewide gatherings.
It was a remarkable experience to attend the Solution Tree PLC and RTI conference recently in Worland. What struck me most profoundly was the enthusiasm of the teachers (mostly from Wyoming). Even on day 3, the energy was contagious. I am so proud of our work together in the RTI and school culture arena to support all schools, especially those that are struggling the most. This initiative is a hallmark that positively and immediately impacts students. Thank you for your commitment to the initiative!
In the coming weeks, we will be asking for staffing data for special education in your school district, via survey. This information is being collected in fulfillment of our statutory obligation under 2018 House Bill 140 (Enrolled Act 68), Section 4(b) which states:
“On or before January 1, 2019, the state superintendent of public instruction shall establish statewide guidelines for adequate special education staffing levels as required by W.S. 21-2-202(a)(xxiii).”
In advance, I thank you for your effort in completing the survey expeditiously.
Summer is winding down and I know many of you are already welcoming back your staff to prepare for the start of the new school year. Thank you to all who attended one of our conferences this summer. Special thank you to the sponsors who helped us put together the first School Safety Summit a couple of weeks ago.
Earlier this week, Governor Mead approved changes to rules for Chapters, 6, 10, and 31 regarding accreditation, statewide standards, and graduation requirements. More info is in the press release sent earlier today, available here.
Earlier today the Federal Commission on School Safety confirmed plans to hold its third listening session of four in Cheyenne on Tuesday, August 7. President Trump appointed members to the Commission in March of this year and they are: Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen. The Commission is charged with rapidly making recommendations to keep students safe at school. They are discussing a range of issues like social emotional support, effective school safety infrastructure, minimum age for firearms purchases, and the impact that videogames and the media have on violence.
The listening session is held in conjunction with our first statewide school safety summit where school, community, state, and national leaders will have the opportunity to coalesce around safety priorities and needs.
Here are media releases for both events with hot links to agendas, locations, registration, and more:
I am very pleased that the Commission has chosen Wyoming as the location to hold a listening session. The rural perspective is essential and your participation will ensure our voice is on the record. The first two sessions were held in Washington, DC and Lexington, KY, respectively.
In addition to taking public comment, the listening session will feature several roundtable discussions. I will have the opportunity share comments on behalf of our state and participate in a roundtable discussion.
This is a rare opportunity for our state and an important time for Wyoming voices to be heard. Please plan to attend.