Tag Archives: Native American Education

ESSA Town Hall Meetings

Dear Superintendents,

The third of five virtual town hall meetings to discuss the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) took place yesterday. The topic of this session was school improvement.  Under NCLB, school improvement strategies and turnaround tools were limited.  Wyoming and other states now have the responsibility to ensure that our strategies and supports are meaningful and systematic.  We are well on our way with the Statewide System of Support.  While we will need to be more prescriptive in identifying, assisting, and allocating fund to the lowest performing schools and schools with less than 67% graduation rate, it remains the intent to provide support and assistance to all schools and districts by leveraging the expertise and knowledge at the national, state, and local levels.  This is an exciting component of ESSA.

Information about ESSA, Wyoming’s virtual town hall meetings, links to audio recordings, powerpoint presentations, and other input opportunities can be found here.

Last week Wyoming submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Education in response to proposed ESSA rules on accountability.  While there were over 20,000 comments or sets of comments submitted, only about half of the states submitted.  Wyoming will continue to vigilantly review and comment on proposed rules, regulations, and guidance wherever it veers from congressional intent and/or does not fit well in our state.  Here is a link to comments submitted by other states.

A tweet from the Wyoming Department of Education is displayed that reads, "Farm to School booth for the 2016 Roadmap to STEM Share-A-Thon later today. #2016roadmaptostem" and shows a picture of the booth
One of many “tweets” from the 2016 Roadmap to STEM Conference

Two statewide training opportunities, hosted by WDE, took place this week.  Thank you for helping make both a success.  If you don’t already, please take a moment to follow WDE on Twitter and Facebook where you can view photos and read about educators from your district and around the state engaged in professional development.  At the STEM conference, science educators across the state were recognized and applauded for their work.  Here is the link to the press release.  At the WAVE conference, Carolyn Connor, from Thermopolis, was honored as the Special Education Director of the year. Here is a link to the press release.

Next week, the Native American Education Conference will be held in Riverton.  We anticipate a record number of participants and we are anxious to have important conversations with educators, community members, tribal leaders, youth, and others.

A tweet from the Wyoming Department of Education is displayed that reads, "The Week of Academic Vision & Excellence (WAVE) is underway! Over 300 Wyo educators gave up summer time to be here!" and shows a picture of conference attendees waving during the big morning session.
One of many “tweets” from the 2016 WAVE Conference

Memos to be released on Monday, August 8, 2016:




Rodeo Time in Wyoming

Dear Superintendents,

If there’s competitive ropin’ and ridin’ going on this week, chances are good it’s happening in Wyoming. The National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR) is taking place in Gillette. There are only a few places in the nation with the infrastructure to support this rodeo and two are right here in Wyoming–Gillette and Rock Springs. Economically speaking, this event brings over $10 million into the local economy with many of the dollars turning over more than once in our state. Both Rock Springs and Gillette have partnered with the State to build infrastructure using Business Council and SLIB grants and loans. Cheyenne Frontier Days also kicks off this week. As always, it’s an honor to represent Wyoming education at parades and other events.

Superintendent Balow with Governor Matt Mead, Senator Mike Enzi and Wyoming's qualifiers for the National High School Finals Rodeo
Team Wyoming at the NHSFR in Gillette
Superintendent Balow with Governor Matt Mead and Cheyenne East Ag Teacher Joe Allen and the NHSFR in Gillette.
With Governor Mead and ARCH Coal award winner/Ag Teacher Joe Allen

On Monday, WDE staff and I traveled to the Wind River Indian Reservation and met with the Shoshone Business Council (we met with the Arapaho Business Council previously) to discuss school improvement, Indian education for all students, ESSA, and more. Wyoming has worked on legislation to better incorporate tribal heritage and culture into our schools for several years.

Superintendent Balow with members of the Shoshone Business Council and Harmony Spoonhunter, Education Director for the Shoshone Tribe
Members of the Shoshone Business Council and Harmony Spoonhunter, Education Director for the Shoshone Tribe


We are quickly approaching several key conferences.  WDE staff has worked very hard over the past 18 months to ensure that all training offered by the State is timely, relevant, and impactful.  Upcoming conferences (hyperlinked to registration) include:

All three are packed with great speakers, breakouts, and networking opportunities.  Please pass this information onto staff.  I am particularly excited about the Native American Education conference that is open to students and community members this year.  Among the speakers is a student from South Dakota who worked, at the grass roots level, to reduce the number of suicides in her community.  She was successful and is sharing her story!

Superintendent’s Memo to be released Monday, July 25: