ACSD Held Successful Fundraiser for Ivinson's Cancer Center

LARAMIE, Wyo. (December 11, 2020) – During the month of October, Albany County School District #1 (ACSD), raised $2,255 for the Meredith and Jeannie Ray Cancer Center through a staff fundraiser. The funds were presented to Ivinson's Cancer Center on Friday when Superintendent Dr. Jubal Yennie delivered the check to Amy Smith, the director of the center.

“I really think it’s important to have community involvement and for the community to know our cancer center is here,” Smith said. “We help so many patients in this community that probably have kids in this school district. Being able to coordinate together and work together is super meaningful. We deal with kids here on a limited basis, so we don’t see as much of those kids because they go to Denver, but their families are definitely here. This money helps support our whole community.”

The staff of the ACSD participated in its October Health Awareness Challenge, and the staff brought attention to cancer by wearing jeans and special colored t-shirts on Fridays. Each week, the ACSD staff raised awareness for a different type of cancer.

Throughout the month, staff wore pink for breast cancer, purple for lupus, green or teal for testicular and ovarian cancer, and yellow for childhood cancer. Each Friday, staff donated money to be able to wear jeans along with their t-shirts.

Kinkos in Laramie generously printed and donated the check that was used in the presentation to the cancer center.

Follow the Albany County School District on Facebook at facebook.com/acsd1.org or on Twitter at the handle @ACSD1WY.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ACSD Board of Education Accepting Letters of Interest for Open Albany County Recreation Board Position

LARAMIE, Wyo. (December 10, 2020) – The Albany County School District Board of Education is accepting letters of interest to fill a vacancy on the Albany County Recreation Board that will go through 2025.

The Recreation Board administers the one-mill recreation levy that is approved by the Albany County School District Board of Education. The Recreation Board reviews funding requests and makes a recommendation to the School Board about Recreation Mill fund allocations.

The Recreation Board meets quarterly. Meetings are usually held on a Monday night on a date scheduled by a vote of the Recreation Board members.

The Board of Education requests those interested in being considered for the vacancy on the Recreation Board to submit a letter of interest emailed or postmarked no later than December 30, 2020. Letters of interest may be emailed to boardofeducation@acsd1.org, or mailed to the School Administration Building at 1948 Grand Avenue addressed to the Board of Education in care of the Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Jubal Yennie.

Those with questions are welcome to call the Superintendent’s office at 721-4400.

Follow the Albany County School District on Facebook at facebook.com/acsd1.org or on Twitter at the handle @ACSD1WY.

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ACSD Welcomes Feedback on Proposed 2022-23 Academic Calendars

LARAMIE, Wyo. (December 10, 2020) – The Albany County School District is looking for feedback from parents, teachers, staff, and administrators on three proposed calendars for the 2022-23 academic school year. Below is a summary of the differences between each calendar and here is a link to a short, four-question survey about the calendars.

Option “A” moves the September and April Professional Development (PD) days from Mondays to Fridays. The new PD days would be Sept. 30 and April 7. Option “A” also has the standard two weeks for Winter Break, spanning from Monday, Dec. 19, through Friday, Dec. 30. Since New Year’s Day is on a Sunday, school would resume on Monday, Jan. 2.

Option “B” has the same PD day moves as Option “A.” However, Option “B” changes the way Winter Break is scheduled. In Option “B,” Winter Break spans from Wednesday, Dec. 21, through Tuesday, Jan. 3. This way, students and teachers will have two days off after New Year’s Day, but will be asked to come in for Monday and Tuesday classes the week of Dec. 19. It is still a two-week break.

Option “C” offers early release for all students every Friday. This option also has the standard Winter Break of Monday, Dec. 19, through Friday, Dec. 30. Additionally, PD days in September and April will be moved back to Mondays, which would be Sept. 26 and April 10, respectively. In this option, teachers would use Friday afternoons for additional work and be able to leave at a reasonable hour.

The survey will close after Friday, Dec. 18. Thank you for your help as the school district continues to discuss these calendar options.

Follow the Albany County School District on Facebook at facebook.com/acsd1.org or on Twitter at the handle @ACSD1WY.

 

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Spring Creek Elementary Raises $860 for Laramie Interfaith

LARAMIE, Wyo. (December 8, 2020) – Using a coin drive started by its student council, Spring Creek Elementary raised $860 for Laramie Interfaith last week.

Each day during the coin drive had a theme. On Tuesday, it was “Neon Nickels Day,” where students wore bright neon and brought in nickels. Wednesday was “Dazzling Dimes Day,” as students donated dimes and wore something shiny or something that made them different and unique.

Thursday was “Crazy Quarters Day,” and students wore a crazy hat or holiday hat to school and donated quarters. Friday was “Team Up for Kindness,” where students wore their favorite team’s jersey or collars and collected dollars and all coins.

The raised money will go to help Laramie Interfaith continue its mission of providing a means for the community to help neighbors meet their basic needs.

Laramie Interfaith has a food pantry, provides safe and secure lodging, helps with emergency assistance with rent, utilities and unexpected expenses, and more for the community of Laramie. The organization receives support for United Way of Albany County, the City of Laramie, Albany County and the Ellbogen and Guthrie foundations.

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ACSD#1 Will Provide Meals Over Winter Break

LARAMIE, Wyo. (December 3, 2020) – The Albany County School District will provide meals for students over the Winter Break. The break spans from Monday, Dec. 21, 2020 through Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021.

Parents who would like to sign up for the meal service should call Food Services at (307) 721-4482 by Monday, Dec. 14.

On Tuesday, Dec. 22, and Tuesday, Dec. 29, Food Services will be distributing meal bags between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. from the Central Kitchen located at 419 South 8th Street. Meals can be picked up behind the building in the alley located off Custer Street between 9th and 8th Streets.

Delivery can be arranged if transportation is unavailable.

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Karen Bienz Named to WASA All-Wyoming School Board

LARAMIE, Wyo. (December 2, 2020) – Outgoing Albany County School District #1 trustee Karen Bienz has been named to the Wyoming Association of School Administrators (WASA) All-Wyoming School Board. Bienz was honored at a virtual ceremony in November.

“I am simultaneously honored and humbled to receive this recognition of my service as a trustee to the Albany County School board,” Bienz said at the virtual ceremony. “The rewards and challenges during my tenure these last four years have been to numerous to mention. When I decided to run for a position on the school board, I felt that my life experiences to that time positioned me well to serve.”

Bienz was nominated successfully by Superintendent Dr. Jubal Yennie, who highlighted Bienz’ breadth of passion and skill as a board member.

Bienz, whose term began in December of 2016, has served as treasurer of the board of trustees since 2018. Bienz also volunteered for numerous committees and task forces. Her work helped advance student achievement, and she supported effective policy changes by working with employees of the district.

Wyoming school board members earn points for attending Wyoming School Board Association workshops and conferences, and during her four years, Bienz earned a total of 150 points, attending an average of three of these events per year.

In the nomination, Dr. Yennie wrote that Bienz “modeled firm belief, professional assertiveness, and a genuine caring for ACSD students and the community,” as she helped guide policy during the times of COVID-19.

Bienz worked hard to update graduation requirements, physical education curriculum, and worked through a dual language immersion program evaluation.

Bienz’ term on the Albany County School District Board of Trustees ended on Nov. 30, 2020.

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ACSD#1 Holds Groundbreaking for New Slade Elementary School

LARAMIE, Wyo. (December 1, 2020) – Albany County School District #1 (ACSD) held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Slade Elementary School Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. The socially-distanced event was held at the corner of 15th and Reynolds streets, inside the auxiliary gym behind the Old Deti Stadium.

“It’s probably important that it’s so close to Thanksgiving, that there is an overriding theme of gratefulness that we have today,” said district superintendent Dr. Jubal Yennie, who made the opening remarks at the ceremony. “Throughout this celebration this morning, you’ll find out how grateful we are, not only for the community we live in, but also for the state we live in. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us and for the students in the community of Laramie.”

State Superintendent Jillian Balow, Representative Dan Furphy, Representative Cathy Connolly and Senator Chris Rothfuss all joined Superintendent Yennie by speaking at the event. Additionally, Randy Richardson of Richardson Construction, Inc., the contractor for this project, made a few remarks before sending everyone outside with the golden shovels for the ceremony.

Third grade students from Slade Elementary school also made the trip over to watch the ceremony. They were welcomed by all the speakers, especially Balow, who is a Slade alumna, herself.

All of the event’s speakers, as well as board of trustees members, Slade principal Heather Moro, district staff, and construction crew made the ceremonial groundbreaking outside the auxiliary gym in front of the Slade students and teachers.

The new Slade Elementary is scheduled to have substantial completion on June 30, 2022, and ready to be used starting in the 2022-23 school year. The total construction cost is $17,581,000 with a total construction budget of $19,200.000.

The new elementary school will cover 63,096 square feet, including an auxiliary gym, on a nine-acre project site. The school can serve up to 440 students.

This project was first approved on April 1, 2015 by the School Facilities Commission, but it was halted in 2017 at the 95% level of design. Then, on April 8, 2020, the District and School Facilities department authorized the Plan One/Architects Design Team to renew the work, updating the plans to comply with current building codes.

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Whiting’s Truman Solverud Wins Everyday Champion Award from NCLD

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 30, 2020) – Truman Solverud, Whiting High School’s special education and culinary teacher, has won the Everyday Champion Award from the National Center for Learning Disabilities, it was announced by the organization.

“It’s kind of affirmation that the things I’m doing are making a difference and I’m helping,” Solverud said. “There’s not a lot of feedback, sometimes, in education, so to get this feedback that I’m helping and supporting kids is a big deal.”

Solverud spent nearly 30 years working in the restaurant industry before switching paths and becoming an educator.

“Working in special education gives me the purpose that I was needing when I decided to go to school and become a teacher when I’m almost 50,” Solverud said. “Being able to support kids and help them achieve their goals means a lot.”

The organization will recognize three individuals, an educator, administrator, and a parent or caregiver who have shown outstanding achievements in remote learning during the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic.

“His philosophy and his belief system is just perfect for this environment,” said Whiting principal Scott Shoop. “What he was able to do, when we were quarantined as a district, he was helping families above all, not just kids on his case load. He has phenomenal energy and commitment to what he does.”

The educator who wins the award is someone who has provided innovative and impactful services to advance the success for students with learning and attention issues, above and beyond the requirements of their job description. The essence of teaching is not solely in the classroom but the effective creation of situations in which learning takes place.

The NCLD chose the winner of the award based on the educator’s dedication to students with learning and attention issues and their families, ability to use a range of approaches to learning, creative and innovative ways to support students with disabilities, service to students with learning and attention issues, and advocacy for persons with learning disabilities.

The Everyday Champion Award comes with a $5,000 prize. Solverud will be honored at a virtual event hosted by the NCLD on Dec. 9.

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Emily Siegel Stanton Wants to be There for All her Constituents

Emily Siegel Stanton was inspired to run for school board by the members of the school board. She remembers watching the group work hard at meetings, and she realized she wanted to be one of the people who helps take charge of the community.

“People have to sit at the table to do the hard work and make important decisions and make things happen,” Stanton said. “At this time in our country, coping with Coronavirus and all the important stuff we’re facing, I felt like I was ready to lend some energy to that, step forward, and be one of those people helping make our community stronger.”

Once she decided she wanted to do the hard work, the campaign started. Local elections can be won based on name recognition alone, but the Albany County Educator’s Association put on a forum for the candidates, and Stanton was thankful for the opportunity to speak to voters with her fellow candidates.

“I really want to thank the Albany County Educator’s Association,” Stanton said. “They put together a forum where all the candidates could speak on some of the issues. I think sometimes with local elections, we can wind up in a popularity contest. I think that the diligence with which they put together that forum allowed voters to hear directly from all of the candidates about the issues, and that’s what’s most important in voting. So, I’d like to thank them for bringing the candidates together so that we could learn about each other and allow voters to hear from us, rather than just running on community name recognition.”

When all the votes were tallied, Stanton found out she was one of the newest Albany County School District board members.

“I was very happy,” Stanton said. “It was very rewarding to put effort into a campaign and earn the voters’ trust. And a little intimidating. Campaigning is exciting, winning is fun, and hard work is hard work. I’d be dishonest to say I wasn’t a little bit sobered by the facts of the tasks I’m about to take on. Those are very different from the tasks of a campaign.”

Among the duties Stanton will have, she does have a few goals. While hesitant to discuss exact goals due to the uncertainty of our times, she does have some ideas that she will hold on to and keep at the forefront of her time as a school board member.

“During the time of COVID, one of the things I want to accomplish is having each segment of the community feel heard,” Stanton said. “There are so many different needs right now, and they can’t all be met at one time. But even in and among that, I want all of the segments of the community is to feel heard. One of the things I want to accomplish would be community engagement around funding of education. I’d like to help raise awareness about what’s going in our state legislature and the ways education is being handled from a financial perspective at the top. It’s not just a fact of life that budget cuts happen, these are choices our legislature are making. I’d like to help engage our community around being aware of those choices of our legislature.

“Other things I want to accomplish, this is a time when society at large is thinking about non-dominant populations, whether that’s the LGBT community, people of color, and our native students, one of the things I’d like to bring is an eye toward equity and an eye toward students who don’t necessarily have their voices heard all the time, families who don’t have their voices heard all the time. So those are some things I want to bring my attention to.”

Stanton also wants to be seen as a type of board member who is always there to help. Someone who is always there to listen to her constituents and make sure the constituents know they were heard.

“I hope they view me as present, both to their calls and emails and their personal concerns,” Stanton said. “I won’t be able to write a policy to address every single person’s concerns, just because they’ll be so different. But I hope people view me as present and hearing their concerns and doing what I can do to create balance among community needs, whether that’s around COVID or other issues. I hope that they view me as present on the board. I hope to be able to share my thinking. Even if people disagree with a vote I might make, I hope to be able to share my thinking and be transparent about how I’m drawing my conclusions.”

Stanton will join the board starting on Dec. 1, and she will focus on making sure everyone is heard, and everyone is represented.

“But also toward the community, a really important quality is always keeping an eye on some of our most vulnerable members of our community, not necessarily those that have the loudest voices,” Stanton said.


Kim Sorenson is a Volunteer at Heart

Education is certainly a large part of Kim Sorenson’s life. He was a teacher and education administrator for over 40 years before he retired, and his wife recently retired from her career as a teacher. Sorenson has served at nearly every level of education, elementary, high school and post-high school. It was a natural step for him to take on a new adventure on the school board.

“From being a teacher, virtually from kindergarten through post-high school because I taught at LCCC, as well, being an administrator from elementary through high school, and as a coach and an activities person, I just thought I might have skills from those experiences that might be useful to the district,” Sorenson said. “My personal skills are I’ve always been a volunteer, not afraid to jump in. I’ve become a good listener. I don’t have a problem with making decisions. I try to be as transparent as possible and always tell the truth.”

But making the move from a career in education to running for school board did have a few unexpected hurdles. For one, he had to switch from the educator mind set to one of a politician.

“This has been a whole new ball game for me. From being a teacher, an administrator and all the other things I’ve done in education, being ‘a politician’ has been a whole new thing,” Sorenson said. “I had to learn how to place signs, what kind of slogans to come up with, and all those types of things. I always fell back on the vision, mission and belief statements that I developed as a teacher and an administrator, but it was very different.”

The timing was right this year for Sorenson, since he and his wife are now both retired from education. He said he is now able to vote without any possible kind of conflict of interest. Sorenson is also one to volunteer for the hard work, and with the COVID pandemic and all the related issues affecting the community, he raised his hand again to ask to be one of the people to help steer the District through these times.

“My history as an administrator has always been volunteering when things are going through a rough patch,” Sorenson said. “I think the COVID and all of the different things that have developed because of it, whether it’s the budget, staffing, course offerings, curriculum, and all those things being affected, made me want to help and be part of that. Whatever I can do to help and assist students and the district as a whole is what I want to accomplish.”

When his term starts on Dec. 1, Sorenson will be ready to get to work. In fact, people are already reaching out to him about what he will do.

“Respect is something you have to earn,” Sorenson said. “That’s why the time between the election and the time you take it on officially is maybe the hardest part. You have people communicating with you or asking for assistance, but there’s really nothing you can do yet because you have an existing board, and they need to be able to finish their terms without any kind of interference. You also don’t know all the inner workings and don’t have access to all the information that’s being used to make decisions. That’s difficult. So, you’re hoping over time, people will see you for what you want to be, which is honest, hard-working, and transparent.”

With his spot on the school board secured, Sorenson recognized the people that helped him earn his spot, especially his wife.

“I’m retired, I retired six years ago, and my wife just retired, and I think she observed what that looks like,” Sorenson said. “So, when you dive in to something new, I certainly have to thank her first for allowing me to pursue this rather than fishing with her every day, or whatever the things were that we planned to do when we retired. She’s been very supportive. I also want to thank the parents and the staff. I was told I have name recognition, and I had to have that proven to me. I think I’m a lot like many people, in that I remember all the good times, but I also remember the times that I may not have met expectations, and I worried about that. I really want to thank the people that voted for me, that gave me a shot, and I hope I don’t let them down.”

The Albany County School District is excited to add Kim Sorenson to the school board starting on Dec. 1, 2020.