Tag Archives: S5S

S5S Registration

Dear Superintendents,

Tis the season to plan to attend the Superintendent’s Summit (S5S) in January. Last year’s summit was a huge success and we are gearing up for an even better second year! Please mark your calendars and assemble your team for S5S in Cheyenne on January 12-13. Here are a few highlights:

  • Interact with legislators at a hosted reception
  • UW President Nichols, and ECS’s Jeremy Anderson give keynotes exlusive to Wyoming’s opportunity to forge ahead
  • Tour the Wyoming Judicial Learning Center (opens on January 9)
  • Vegas Break
  • Continued and new conversations with colleagues and experts
  • Coincides with State Board meeting

Registration for a team of four is free of charge-there is an add-on fee if you want to bring additional participants. A room block at Little America is now open. We suggest your team of four include:

  1. Superintendent or district administrator
  2. Board chair or designee
  3. Teacher of the Year or outstanding teacher
  4. Principal of the Year or outstanding principal


S5S 2017. 2017 Wyoming State Superintendent's Policy Summit. Register at edu.wyoming.gov/s5s


Both the Joint Appropriations and Joint Education committees meet in December to discuss school finance. Many superintendents are planning to attend the meetings and I look forward to more in-depth discussions with you.

To reiterate my message, which is the same as last year, our state’s fiscal situation requires austerity. Education must remain a priority for our state. We must work together to make the necessary cuts and find savings so that essential education programs and opportunities for students do not deteriorate.

Also, next week the Joint Health and Labor Committee meets to discuss three Medicaid recommendations made by the National Council on State Legislatures (NCSL). One recommendation is to seek reimbursement for special education services for students who are on Medicaid. We are the only state that has not implemented this practice. To be clear, I support continued 100% reimbursement for Special Education with Medicaid recoupment as an “extra” for the state, of which part should be returned to schools. WDE leaders will be on hand to answer questions and offer comments at next week’s meeting.

Leadership and committee assignments for the new legislature were finalized recently. Many of the new members will be in the audience at upcoming meetings. Here are members of the 2017-18 House and Senate Education Committees:

House: David Northrup-Chair, Debbie Bovee, Landon Brown, Jamie Flitner, John Freeman, Hans Hunt, Mark Kinner, Jerry Paxton, Garry Piiparinen

Senate: Hank Coe-Chair, Affie Ellis, Stephan Pappas, Chris Rothfuss, Jeff Wasserburger

More information about the upcoming legislative session can be found at: http://legisweb.state.wy.us/LSOWEB/Default.aspx

A classroom of 4th grade students each sit at a laptop participating in an online program that teaches coding.
4th graders coding during Computer Science Education Week
Governor Mead and Superintendent Balow pose with a group of WDE staff and other stakeholders at the Governor's Office.
Governor Mead signs a proclamation for Computer Science Education Week-a first for Wyoming
Superintendent Balow with Rita Watson at the WDE All-Staff Meeting.
Rita Watson has been andexecutive assistant at WDE for 47 years

Memos to be released Monday, December 12:


A Busy Week

Dear Superintendents,

After a busy week, I’ll begin by saying (maybe gloating) that next week memos will be sent out for your preview without an update–I’ll be at the Women’s Antelope Hunt. FYI, proceeds from this hunt are used to improve odds for Wyoming women and children. In 2016, the Wyoming Women’s Foundation completed a self sufficiency study that indicates 1 out of 10 households in Wyoming fall below the federal poverty level.

On September 28, Governor Mead signed the first ever proclamation recognizing military readiness and career exploration. Governor Mead, military leaders, and others shared how military service is a viable path for students pursuing STEM careers, college, or lifelong military service. Service to our country is distinctly different from other career paths.  Here is an article about the event. Did you know:

  • The ASVAB (military entrance exam) is an excellent career exploration tool for students not entering the military.
  • Only 3 in 10 youth who pursue military service qualify because of the rigorous entrance requirements.
  • All military personnel have access to college credit and career training opportunities.
  • Wyoming students who serve maintain eligibility for the Hathaway scholarship.
  • The National Guard is an option for students who want to go to college or pursue a career while serving in the military.  In today’s Casper Star Tribune, student athlete and guardsmen, David Schall, was highlighted for his accomplishments in school, military, and football. Here is a link to the article. 
Governor Mead sits at a desk after signing the proclamation as Superintendent Balow, Chief Whipple and General Reiner stand behind him.
Chief Whipple, Major General Reiner, and I as Governor Mead signs the proclamation recognizing military readiness and career exploration
Governor Mead, WDE Staff and members of the Wyoming National Guard pose for a photo outside the Governor's Office.
Guardsmen and Guardswomen at the proclamation signing

Wyoming is one of seven states selected by the U.S. Department of Education to host a listening session for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Additional information will come from Senator Enzi and myself regarding specifics. It’s important that Wyoming is well represented at this roundtable discussion. It is open to all and we will reach out broadly to educators, business and industry, parents, partners, and others. Please make plans to attend and bring your comments about how ESSA is/should be implemented by states.

Save the Date, ESSA Community Roundtable, October 26, Casper

On Tuesday, Governor Mead hosted a Suicide Prevention Symposium. There were only a few educators there—the audience was comprised mostly of survivors, family members, community resource partners, and advocates. Auditor Cloud shared the story of her son’s recent suicide. It is clear that many in Wyoming are interested in “moving the needle” on our suicide numbers, including schools. It will take continued collaboration and new approaches to prevention to truly make a difference. One first step is to talk about suicide–that was the purpose for the symposium.

State Auditor Cynthia Cloud speaking at the Governor's Suicide Prevention Symposium.
Auditor Cloud shares the devastation her family feels after her son’s suicide in March. It is imperative we talk openly about suicide.

We are planning the second Superintendent’s Summit (S5S) and will, once again, ask districts to send four people (superintendent, board chair, principal of the year, teacher of the year or designees) to the event in Cheyenne. This year, our main focus will be on leveraging ESSA to impact transitions into post-secondary. We confirmed UW President Laurie Nichols as a speaker (and that’s just the teaser).

Save the Date: S5S 2017. 2017 Wyoming State Superintendent's Policy Summit, Continued Conversations. Superintendent Balow invites every Wyoming School district to send their superintendent, board chair, outstanding principal, and teacher of the year to join the WDE team for vertical conversations about education from national, state and local perspectives. January 12-13, Little America Hotel & Resort, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Governor Mead signs the proclamation for K9's for Mobility as two black labs put their front paws on the desk, one licking the Governor's face.
Governor Mead is kissed by Roonie the service dog. Roonie will be placed at Davis Elementary School in Cheyenne to assist disabled students.

Memo to be released on Monday, October 3:


Update from Superintendent Balow: S5S 2016


S5S was a remarkable event and I thank each and every one of you for contributing. Over 150 attended! Those who participated brought with you enthusiasm, ideas, and questions. I hope you left feeling inspired and motivated. If you weren’t able to attend, you were with us in spirit and probably the butt of a few jokes made by your colleagues. I have a feeling S5S will make a comeback in 2017!

All conference materials will soon be available electronically but I want to share with some urgency the following presentation slide deck from Richard Laine, Education Director at the National Governor’s Association.  ​​http://edu.wyoming.gov/wordpress/downloads/s5s/richard-laine.pptx

In particular Richard Laine walked through the major components of ESSA and how states now have the responsibility and flexibility to make impactful decisions. I think you will find that the themes and talking points are compelling and informative.

Here are some photos from S5S: A New Conversation and a video about Wyoming’s Teacher of the Year Amy Pierson:  https://t.co/f2SDE9xPji

Richard Laine opens S5S
​Supt. Marty Kobza and WPR Reporter Aaron Schrank on a panel
​Supt. Marty Kobza and WPR Reporter Aaron Schrank on a panel

Here are the memos that will be released to district leaders and the public on Tuesday, January 19, 2016:

Have a wonderful weekend.