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SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS
2 months ago
I am truly honored to serve as Superintendent of Schools for Wyoming’s largest district with more than 14,000 students. Our diverse student population includes 458 English Language Learning students speaking 50 different native languages. Some of these include Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese Mandarin, Japanese, Russian, Somali and Spanish to name a few. Our district encompasses 15 percent of Wyoming’s students. Put into perspective, the University of Wyoming’s current student enrollment is 12,366.
We have a dedicated staff that tirelessly work to meet our students’ academic and social needs often putting in extra hours in the evenings, on weekends and holidays. We are fortunate to have a supportive district parent advisory committee as well as many active PTO groups and family members who volunteer at our schools and serve on district committees to benefit our students. We are privileged to have businesses that support education through contributions and mentoring programs. Each day our dedicated elected Board of Trustees represent the interests of the students and patrons of the entire school district. The trustees govern with emphasis on organizational vision, mission and core values supporting the success of each of our students and staff. Additional elected officials, including members of the Wyoming Legislature, are working to ensure we have operational funds and facilities to provide quality educational opportunities for all of our students.
The mission of LCSD1, in cooperation with students, parents, staff and the community is to guarantee a high quality education in a safe and orderly environment for all students, inspiring them to become lifelong learners and responsible, productive citizens. Our vision is to become the premier district “of learners for learners” in the Rocky Mountain Region where every student is successfully learning.
To attain this, our school board, staff and community have developed a strategic plan outlining our focus through 2019. As a part of our accreditation cycle, we had several thousand students, parents, staff and community members respond to our surveys in developing this plan as well as several hundred individuals that met with the district. We continue to focus on ensuring students will achieve academic success as measured by the ACT and WY-TOPP assessments. Our cohort graduation rate in 2011–2012 was at 69.74 percent. Our most recently reported on-time graduation rate is 78.6 percent. Our five-year graduation rate is 81.35 percent. While we had improvement in our graduation rate over the last several years, we certainly have more to do and are working with our staff, students and families to increase that rate. Having a high school diploma is an absolute necessity in today’s world as it is the gateway to prepare our students for college, careers and for future financial security.
Our district goals for this year are to increase our on-time graduation rate to 81 percent, increase the district’s average ACT composite score to 21 and to establish achievement goals in each school’s improvement plan to increase the number of proficient students in reading and math on the state’s new WY-TOPP assessment.
We are excited about the new state assessment. WY-TOPP replaces PAWS and MAP. Teachers have the ability to use the interim tests as soon as students take them to make instructional decisions if there appear to be learning gaps. The results will become vital for future student growth and achievement.
Due to declining state revenue, last year lawmakers cut education funding in Wyoming by $34 million. In Laramie County School District 1, we cut $5.3 million from our general fund. This was primarily accomplished through employee attrition, as 66 positions were not replaced following retirements or resignations. In addition, we were forced to cut our drivers’ education program. The service is now offered through two outside entities (Laramie County Community College and Wyoming Montana Safety Council). We discontinued a long-term program with LCCC for at-risk students. We combined two elementary gifted and talented programs into one program. Unfortunately, with 80 to 85 percent of our general funds going to staffing costs, additional cuts from the legislature would mean we would have to consider cutting additional positions, which could impact our program offerings.
According to the Education Week Quality Counts 2017 Report, Wyoming has risen to No. 7 in the country based on Chance for Success, K–12 Achievement and School Finance. The Chance for Success Index combines information from 13 indicators that span a person’s life from cradle to career in order to understand the role of education across an individual’s lifetime. The School Finance Analysis examines both school spending and measures of financial equity, which capture the distribution of funding across districts within a state. This is an indication from an outside source that the funding model is indeed working and that our students, staff and community continually strive to improve our student’s success. The K–12 Achievement Index score is based on 18 distinct achievement measures related to reading and math performance, high school graduation rates and the results of Advanced Placement exams. No doubt we are doing a lot of things right in Wyoming. Careful consideration and due diligence will be incredibly important as we move forward.
Superintendent of Schools
The mission of LCSD1, in cooperation with students, parents, staff, and the community is to guarantee a high quality education in a safe and orderly environment for all students, inspiring them to become life-long learners and responsible, productive citizens.
We are a district of learners for learners.
- We will ensure all students meet or exceed essential skill proficiency
- We will measure success based on student learning
- We will measure continuous learning for all staff and students
- We will share responsibility for each student’s learning with all stakeholders including students, parents, staff and community
Maximizing Learning Opportunities
- We will maximize learning by making data driven decisions
- ...to guide the implementation of scientifically researched best practice
- ...to guide multiple learning opportunities
- We will model what we expect from others
- We will treat all stakeholders with mutual respect and dignity
- We will develop positive relationships with every student, parent, and stakeholder
LCSD1 is the premier district "of learners for learners" in the Rocky Mountain Region where every student is successfully learning.
LCSD1 students will:
- achieve academic success
- graduate from high school
- be prepared for college and careers
- be responsible citizens