While not specific to English and language arts teachers, there are a number of initiatives in place to support hiring and retention in Wyoming. The most appropriate would be Wyoming’s equity in education plan. One goal of this plan is to explore ways to recruit more Native American Wyomingites into the profession.
An understanding of the uniqueness of the state would benefit readers to help them understand the initiatives. Wyoming is the ninth largest state but the least populated. Only two communities are considered urban, according to the US Census Bureau, and many towns are isolated and remote.
There is one Native American reservation with two tribes, Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapahoe. There are 48 school districts with fewer than 100,00 students. Nearly 80 percent of that number are White students, followed by a 13 percent Hispanic population. Less than one percent of the students in the state are Native American, which is the third highest minority group (“Wyoming Plan”).
Retention opportunities for teachers include incentives for the best teachers and strategies to support master teachers. The state’s equity plan is also in place to ensure there are no shortages in the state in literacy education. The link to the pdf with more detailed information can be found here: https://edu.wyoming.gov/downloads/communications/equitable-access-plan.pdf
Two incentive programs include the Wyoming Teacher of the Year and the Trustees Education Initiative. Both programs are inclusive of all content areas, not just English language arts. The Teacher of the Year initiative has included the opportunity to place teachers into policy and leadership roles in the state. The Trustees initiative is a coordinated effort between the state and the University of Wyoming.
In addition, there are a number of state awards that might serve as incentives for teachers in the state. There is a National Teacher Certification Program that teams with the National Board Certification Program. Resources and links can be found here: https://edu.wyoming.gov/educators/teachers/
All of these initiatives and opportunities support a skilled and diverse pipeline by working to ensure that a high-quality teacher is in every classroom. An accountability measure within this is the federal oversight and submission of an equity plan to the U.S. Department of Education.
Wyoming presents a special circumstance in that a state code requires local control in school districts. To that end, the State of Wyoming cannot require that districts “adopt and implement programs, strategies, or policies that do not meet the local context of the district; the district authority lies with the local school boards” (“Wyoming Plan,” p. 2). The state uses a four-step process to ensure equity. These steps include recruitment, data review of equity gaps, analysis plan, and strategies to implement, monitor, and support any changes.
While there are no formal policies in place to offer support and continued professional growth for literacy teachers once they are in the classroom, there are opportunities for teachers. The State offers professional development throughout the year. Often, professional development is provided at the district or school building level.
Literacy teachers are getting state, district, and school support to further their professional growth. Primarily, this funding is the federal level in the form of Title II funds. Some districts have pockets of money in Title IV funds, which can prove to be beneficial for special projects and initiatives within core content areas like English language arts. The focus on professional development has positive impacts on students and teachers. Both groups are exposed to contemporary and practical best practices to improve student achievement.
“Our Amazing Teachers.” Wyoming Department of Education. Superintendent’s Weekly Update. June 5, 2017. Web. 2019. https://edu.wyoming.gov/blog/2017/06/05/our-amazing-teachers/
“Title II-A.” Wyoming Department of Education. Wyoming Equity Plan. Revised November 5, 2015. Web. 2019. https://edu.wyoming.gov/in-the-classroom/federal-programs/title-ii/
Trustees Education Initiative. The University of Wyoming. Web. 2019. http://www.uwyo.edu/trust_edu_init/
Wyoming Plan to Ensure Equitable Access to Excellent Educators. https://edu.wyoming.gov/downloads/communications/equitable-access-plan.pdf