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.

Staff COVID-19 Testing Program Overview

Dear Superintendents,

Staff COVID-19 Testing Program Overview

Surveillance testing will be an opt-in protocol and would extend to all school staff, including volunteers. The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) will ask that 20% of the staff members be tested at least once every two weeks and each sample should include a representation from a range of staff roles. The individuals selected should be rotated every two weeks to get nearly 100% of the staff within 10 weeks. The test will detect current COVID-19 infection. Anyone with a COVID-19 infection within the previous
three months should not participate. Staff cannot be required to participate. Both negative and positive results will be reported by the WDH and staff that test positive will be required to follow the existing state protocols for quarantine and contact tracing.

The goal of this effort is to detect infected individuals who don’t have symptoms, or before they develop symptoms. This would allow public health officials to intervene. The WDH will work with school districts directly if movement between tiers is necessary based on testing results. There is no cost to school districts or staff for participation. The current goal of the WDH is to determine the interest of the school districts, as they try to define contracts for the tests.

Rural Career and Technical Education Event:

At 4 p.m. MDT on August 25, the Rural Tech Project is hosting a virtual panel of experts to discuss community engagement and coalition building.  The panel will share how Rural Tech Project entrants can approach building and maintaining partnerships among schools, school districts, and community organizations.  They will also explore topics ranging from assessing community needs to creating structures and systems for sustainable partnerships.

New National Resources as Schools Reopen:

Fact Sheet – Supporting Safe School Reopenings 

School Reopening Recommendations

CDC Guidance on Face Coverings for K-12

Content and Performance Standards

Content Standards are the content and skills students are expected to know and be able to do by the end-of-grade or gradeband.

Performance Standards are the standards all students are expected to learn and be assessed on
through the district assessment system. They specify the specific degree of understanding or
demonstration of the knowledge and/or skill for a particular content standard. Districts give students multiple opportunities to demonstrate proficiency and provide appropriate supports for student success.

Standards work in Wyoming is ramping up. Here’s a (very) brief primer of the upcoming work:

  • Public input opportunities for Computer Science Performance Standards memo and press release.
  • Educator input surveys for Science and PE Performance Standards and Performance Level Descriptors (PLDs) memo.
  • Call for Health Content and Performance Standards Review and Development Committee memo. Committee members include educators, parents, practitioners, business and industry.

Memos to be released today:

2020-131:    Innovations Showcase
2020-132:    2020-21 Hathaway Success Curriculum Course Verification
2020-133:    Wyoming Advisory Panel for Students with Disabilities
2020-134:    Educator Surveys and Call for Health Standards Committee
2020-135:    School Improvement Plans

USED Updates Its Title IX website

Dear Superintendents,

The United States Department of Education (USED)  launched a new website with Title IX resources for parents, students, schools, and other partners. The resources were released in conjunction with final Title IX rules.

The new website serves as an online hub for information and resources that students and others can use to understand rights and due process under Title IX. It also provides a fact sheet specifically for students and schools.

Here is a link to the news release.


Marissa Cornelison was named the Wyoming Ag In the Classroom Teacher of the Year during the Wyoming State Fair and received awards presented by Congresswoman Cheney, First Lady Gordon, and Superintendent Balow

Memos to be released today:

2020-125:    2020 K-12 Digital Learning Awards
2020-126:    Career Development Facilitator Training
2020-127:    2020-21 Back-to-School Toolkit
2020-128:    District Representative School Improvement Plan Training
2020-129:    WDE Professional Development Opportunities: 2020–21 School Year

CDC School Reopening Toolkit Available

Dear Superintendents,

Recently, I referenced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tool kit designed to assist with the safe re-opening of schools. The CDC released an audio recording and transcript of its July 24 media telebriefing on new science-based resources and tools for school administrators, teachers, parents, guardians, and caregivers. The CDC’s guidance supports reopening schools safely by providing key information to assist decision-making and adapt to local conditions.

Also, earlier this week Governor Mark Gordon unveiled a website that tracks CARES Act spending (including on education) in Wyoming. The website, Wyoming Sense, can be found here. 

Memos to be released on August 10:

2020-120:    Annual Accreditation Due November 1
2020-121:    Guidance for Positive COVID-19 Tests in Schools
2020-122:    Professional Development: Marzano Resources High Reliability Teacher™ Program
2020-123:    WDE Professional Development/Training Delivery Methods

Fall Sports A ‘Go’ In Wyoming

Click here for a video message from Superintendent Balow


Dear Superintendents,

Tuesday is the last day to register for Wyoming’s Native American Education Conference (virtual – Aug. 5-6). Here’s a link:

Wyoming Native American Education Conference 


Please see this week’s memo containing information about the first round of CARES Act GEER funding. As of writing this update, there are three versions of a second major relief bill in Congress (HEROES, HEALS, and CCCERA). All three versions contain funding for K-12 education. I am keeping a close eye on negotiations.


Last week new guidance, Preparing for a Safe Return to Schoolwas released by the CDC. It’s worth the read.

Dr. Robert Redfield, CDC Director, said, “It is critically important for our public health to open schools this fall. The resources released today will help parents, teachers, and administrators make practical, safety-focused decisions as this school year begins. I know this has been a difficult time for our nation’s families. School closures have disrupted normal ways of life for children and parents, and they have had negative health consequences on our youth. CDC is prepared to work with K-12 schools to safely reopen while protecting the most vulnerable.”

Please check the WDE website for updated links to resources for schools and parents.


The Wyoming High School Athletics Association released Smart Start Guidelines for fall sports. Here is the media release.


Shameless plug for fall sports and amazing kids!

Memos to be released on Monday, August 3:

2020-116:    Technical Education Tuesdays
2020-117:    Career & Technical Student Organizations (CTSO) Selected for 2020-2022
2020-118:    CARES Act GEER Allocations