Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jillian Balow, addressed the State's back to school plan during the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Luncheon on Friday, August 7th at the Red Lion Hotel & Conference Center.
Wyoming has a strong community of support and leadership to make it through difficult times. Superintendent Jillian Balow shared the importance forging new relationships with each other to accelerate productivity and planning now that the pandemic has become a part of our lives.
"Plans are worthless, but planning is everything," this quote by Dwight D. Eisenhower laid the framework for much of Balow's discussion.
Balow revealed that between CARES Act funding and funding from the Governor's office, over $35 million was allocated to schools in response to the pandemic. This funding will support K-12 education, community colleges, and the University of Wyoming.
On July 1st, the state released a Smart Start Guidance document for fall school re-openings. The document focus more on planning and less about the plan itself. The guidance provides requirements, recommendations, and considerations based on three tiers of possible reopening and operating scenarios schools may face.
"My guidance from the beginning was, let's make sure that the requirements are minimal, and the considerations and the recommendations are maximum. We wanted the guidance to be a conversation starter and guide for our local school districts," explained Balow.
"We knew we couldn't do this just as educators, so we engaged the Department of Health as the co-lead...we wanted education and health and safety to be the front and center on this."
Balow shared that it is essential for these decisions to be made at home, in schools, and by the community. Not at the state or national levels.
"The most important decisions are being made by you all as parents and community members, invested citizens in your community," said Balow.
This input from community members across the state will help support district leaders in opening their schools in a way that allows optimal learning while keeping students and staff healthy.
Listen to the full discussion - Leadership Luncheon
Leadership Luncheon Audio Timeline:
Intro - 1:00
Western States Bank, Dave Cook - 1:16
New Partner Introductions - 5:28
Leadership Cheyenne Graduation - 11:20
Chamber Report, Dale Steenbergen - 26:07
Superintendent Jillian Balow - 39:47
View the Smart Start Guidance Document: