2023 Voices in the Field Conference
ACSD#1 Students hold up their writing work.

On March 30th, students from all three local high schools (LHS, Whiting, Rock River), Laramie Middle School, and the UW Lab school participated in the "2023 Voices in the Field Conference." The goal was to help students become "visible" by exploring career opportunities in their own backyard and seeing themselves in these careers. Students had critical dialogues with individuals from various fields, including:

Laramie Police Department

University of Wyoming

University of Wyoming Army ROTC Cowboy Battalion

Wyoming Game and Fish Department

WyoTech- Laramie

American Red Cross of Wyoming

Casper College

Laramie County Community College - Albany County Campus

Groathouse Construction, Inc.

Laramie Auto & Collision

...and more!

The conference, sponsored by Whiting High School, was hosted at WyoTech out of generosity from newly appointed UW Board of Trustee member and president of WyoTech, Jim Mathis. Keynote speakers included Jim Mathis (President of WyoTech, UW Board of Trustees), Lachelle Brant (Education Policy Advisor for Governor Mark Gordon), and Diana Clapp (Wyoming State Board Coordinator).

Thank you, Dr. Goldhardt and the ACSD#1 administrative team, for all the support! A big thanks to Cindy Barlow (Director of Industry Relations at WyoTech) for supporting this partnership two years in a row! And we are also grateful to Dr. Colby Gull and the Wyoming School-University Partnership (WSUP), who provided lunch and hospitality. It was an impactful day for everyone involved.

-Malinda Garcia

Whiting High School Principal

Local Educator David Hardesty Among Nation’s Best K-8 Principals
Principal David Hardesty Wyoming's 2023 National Distinguished Principal of the Year is standing in front of a decorated gym stage.

Laramie, WY – February 24, 2023– Mr. David Hardesty, principal of Velma Linford Elementary School in Laramie was selected as Wyoming’s 2023 National Distinguished Principal. The 2023 celebration marks the 40th year that the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) has presented this prestigious award.

Mr. Hardesty was nominated and selected by fellow principals through a statewide search process conducted by the Wyoming Association of Elementary and Middle School Principals, said WAEMSP Executive Director Kenny Jones.

Mr. Hardesty is a graduate of the University of Wyoming, BA 2005 & MA 2010. He served as an elementary teacher in Laramie and Cheyenne from 2005 - 2013.  He became the principal at Velma Linford Elementary in 2013.

“Principals are not just leaders in schools, but they’re also trusted leaders in their communities—especially during difficult times,” said NAESP Executive Director L. Earl Franks, Ed.D., CAE. “Schools across the country have not gone unscathed from challenges created and exacerbated by a global pandemic. Despite these challenges, principals have doubled down on their commitment to educational excellence and health and wellbeing for their students and staff. One behalf of NAESP, I extend a heartfelt congratulations and thank you to the 2023 NAESP National Distinguished Principals, who have shown that their dedicated leadership and passion for students and their communities will outshine any challenges that are thrown their way.”

In October 2023, Mr. Hardesty will travel to Washington, D.C. for two days of activities planned to honor and bring well-deserved recognition to the elementary and middle-level educators chosen by the states, the District of Columbia, plus private and overseas schools.

Criteria for selection of the principals require that the honorees are active principals of schools where programs are designed to meet the academic and social needs of all students and where there are firmly established community ties with parents and local business organizations.

Mr. John Goldhardt, Ed.D. stated “Mr. Hardesty’s caring and courageous leadership for the last 10 years at Linford has resulted in high levels of achievement for students.  Ten years ago, Linford was identified by the state as a school that was “below expectations.”  Today it is a school that is identified as “exceeding expectations” in both achievement and growth.  This dramatic change didn’t happen on its own.  Under Mr. Hardesty’s leadership, the school’s culture, climate, and purpose methodically and purposely changed to be truly learner focused.”

Since 1956, the Wyoming Association of Elementary and Middle School Principals has served as Wyoming’s professional educational association and now represents 201 elementary and middle school principals and aspiring principals throughout the state. WAEMSP maintains close ties with the metropolitan Washington, D.C. based National Association of Elementary School Principals and its 18,000 members worldwide.

What's an SRO?
Photos of School Resource Officers

School. Resource. Officer. The “S” is often mistakenly switched with the words “security” and “safety.” However, all accurately define the role of a School Resource Officer (SRO). Since 2008, the relationship between ACSD#1 and local law enforcement has ensured thousands of students' safety. But they are tasked to be more than law enforcement officers in providing security and crime prevention services. They become teachers, advisors, and an anchoring resource of stability to students and staff.

The SROs are officially assigned to do the following in our schools:

  1. Respond to disruptions and criminal activity
  2. Protect the lives and property of students
  3. Enforce Federal, State, and local criminal laws and ordinances
  4. Investigate illegal activity committed on or adjacent to school property
  5. Assist other law enforcement agencies with outside investigations dealing with the district
  6. Promote the safety and security
  7. Informs the district of any known threats, incidents, or filings relating to students on or off campus

These officers work on developing good relationships with the students and strive to be seen as approachable. As trust develops, SROs become a reliable source of support.

In 2020, Trooper Corey McCallister with the Wyoming Highway Patrol, volunteered to be the SRO at Rock River School. His experience is a rather unique one,

"I attended and graduated from the Rock River School. The SRO at the time, Deputy Clyde Harris, who has since retired when I was there and is currently the Sheriff of Platte County in Wheatland,  really helped me get through some tough life experiences. It is because of him that I became a trooper. When the opportunity came for me to have this position as the school's SRO, I jumped at it. I hope to do for these students what was done for me.”

These SROs are not just law enforcement officers. They are members of the community who desire to serve and are willing to put themselves in harm's way to ensure the security of all. Keeping the youth from becoming delinquents is the primary purpose, with the safety of each student being a top priority.

SROs receive specific training in interacting with youth. They also lead and participate in yearly training at each campus, ensuring that the staff knows how they will interact with them in emergencies.

Chief Operations Officer Randall Wilkison stated, "Our SROs are top-notch. We are lucky to have them, helping us ensure the safety of our staff and students." 

There is strong support throughout the district for these officers. However, misconceptions still abound surrounding the work of SROs.

The stewardship of ensuring the overall safety of a community can sometimes lead to difficult situations, which inevitably generate misconceptions. Laramie Police Department (LPD) Lieutenant Ryan Thompson debunks the top five:

Misconception #1: SROs are there to enforce school policy.

School Resource Officers are not there to enforce school policy. Our LPD officers are employed by the City of Laramie and certified as Peace Officers by the Wyoming Peace Officer Standards and Training commission. We enforce Laramie Municipal Code and State Statutes, although we are not looking to intrude upon normal school discipline. As such, we are governed by the Constitutions of Wyoming and the United States and are subject to case law and 4th Amendment rules for anything we do.

Misconception #2: Students can be searched, and personal property confiscated at will.

Not by SROs. School Resource Officers are governed by the 4th amendment and Supreme Court case law regarding a probable cause for searches. We are not allowed to prompt school personnel to search on our behalf either.

Misconception #3: SROs are looking to take kids from school to the Prison Pipeline.

100% False. The number one goal of our SROs is to bridge the gap between law enforcement and youth. At the end of the day, it's building relationships and keeping everyone safe.

Misconception #4: The presence of officers in a school means there is a problem at the school.

No. The SROs are there to prevent problems at school. We are there to build relationships and ensure the safety of all.

Misconception #5: SROs are unapproachable.

Please approach us. We are human, just like you, and we do this job to serve our community. We volunteered to be SROs, to be in the schools, and interact with children and young adults, and we enjoy doing so.

Articles of Interest

New school shooting research supports police in schools

What is a school Resource officer?

School Resource Officers On Patrol: A Growing Trend In Wyoming And Nationwide

About ACSD#1

OUR VISION: Entrusting and empowering everyone to excel.

OUR MISSION: Educate all students to achieve their highest potential, graduate, and succeed in life.

To stay up-to-date on all the latest district news, follow us on Facebook; Twitter at the handle @ACSD1WY, or on YouTube.

NTAC K-12 School Safety Training Report
NTAC Social Science Research Specialists Dr. Aaron Cotkin, Ph.D., and Kristy Dominguez, M.S

LARAMIE, Wyo. (9 NOV 2022) – On November 8th, the Laramie Police Department Foundation (LPDF) sponsored training from the National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) on school safety. Laramie High School hosted the event open to school personnel, educators, school resource officers, public safety professionals, medical professionals, and anyone directly involved with schools. Visitors from across the state were in attendance

NTAC Social Science Research Specialists Dr. Aaron Cotkin, Ph.D., and Kristy Domingues, M.S, flew in from Washington, D.C., to present their research on targeted school attacks. Their presentation included real-life scenarios, walking through the multi-dimensional phases of attacks that ended tragically and those that proper procedures prevented. The presenters offered suggestions and resources to assist in prevention and to augment school Emergency Response Plans.

ACSD#1 would like to thank the following: LPDF and their associates for sponsoring the event; Dr. Cotkin and Ms. Dominguez for the presentation of their research; and all attendees who dedicated their time to learning how to keep students and staff safer in their learning environments.

To learn more about the NTAC or the LPDF, please click the links below:

About ACSD#1

OUR VISION: Entrusting and empowering everyone to excel. OUR MISSION: Educate all students to achieve their highest potential, graduate, and succeed in life.

To stay up-to-date on all the latest district news, follow us on Facebook; Twitter at the handle @ACSD1WY, or on YouTube.


Snowy Range FFA Takes Gold & Silver at the National FFA Convention
Members of the Snowy Range FFA

Last week 12 members of the Snowy Range FFA traveled to compete in the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. They were chaperoned by LHS Agriculture Instructors, FFA Advisors Danielle Kunkel, Brian Coxbill, and LHS assistant principal Brady Humphrey.

The three Career Development Event teams that went were Meats Evaluation, Poultry Evaluation, and Environmental and Natural Resources. All three teams were state champions in April and were invited to travel to represent Wyoming at the National CDE contests last week. During the week, the group did a variety of things:

  • Toured and witnessed working Dairy and Pork operations at Fair Oaks Farms.
  • Visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway museum and kissed the bricks at the speedway's famous finish line.
  • Students competed in their respective events.

Results of the contests:

Meats Evaluation and Technology:

  • Gold Placing Finish - The team placed 8th in the Nation

    • Members were Riley Lake, Kolton Lake, Barbara Martin, Elijah Fletcher

Poultry Evaluation and Technology:

  • Silver Placing Finish

  • embers were Kinley Wade, Kymber Stinson, Kenzia Martinez, Grace Baas

Environmental & Natural Resource Management

  • Silver Placing Finish

  • Members were Justin Chatfield, Danta Satake, Amadeus Satake, Jack Bullock

We are very proud of the students and how hard they worked to get to nationals in the first place. They did a great job and represented our school, community, and state well.

Beitel Elementary Students Contribute Christmas Ornaments to D.C. Christmas Tree
One-of-a-kind ornaments designed by students will decorate 58 trees around the National Christmas Tree

National Park Service News Release

| Release Date: November 14, 2022 |

Contact: Chelsea Sullivan, Chelsea_Sullivan@nps.gov, 202-297-2659

Students get creative for the 100th National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

American Celebrates trees in 2021. Ornaments designed by students from each state, territory, and more, adorned small trees around the National Christmas Tree. NPS Photo.

WASHINGTON—From state flowers to notable landmarks, American students have designed one-of-a-kind ornaments to celebrate the places they call home. These ornaments will adorn 58 smaller trees that surround the National Christmas Tree. The trees represent states, territories, and schools managed by the Bureau of Indian Education and the Department of Defense Education Activity.

The America Celebrates ornament program is an annual collaboration of the National Park Service, the U.S. Department of Education and the National Park Foundation (NPF). Each federal partner worked within their organizations to facilitate the identification of elementary, middle and high schools to participate in the America Celebrates program. The project is funded by the NPF.

The National Christmas Tree Lighting has strong ties to education.

  • In 1923, a letter arrived at the White House from the District of Columbia Public Schools proposing that a decorated Christmas tree be placed on the South Lawn of the White House. On Christmas Eve that year, President Calvin Coolidge walked from the Oval Office to the Ellipse and pushed a button that lit the first National Christmas Tree.
  • During World War II, wartime restrictions meant no new ornaments were purchased for the National Christmas Tree in 1942. Washington, D.C students donated ornaments that would supplement the use of reused ornaments from previous years.
  • This year, more than 2,600 students participated in the American Celebrates ornament program! The students, ages 4 to 19-years-old, learned about the places they call home. From history and ecological wonders, to exploring different mediums of art, these students’ ornaments are a must-see this holiday.

Since 1973, the National Christmas Tree has been a living tree which can be viewed year-round in President’s Park – one of America’s 423 national parks!

The America Celebrates display is one of the highlights of the National Christmas Tree experience. You’re invited to view the National Christmas Tree and the 58 trees’ ornaments up close from Dec. 2 through Jan. 1, 2023. Can’t make in in person? Check out the President’s Park Facebook page for photos of the ornaments!

In partnership with NPF, CBS will broadcast the 2022 ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 11 (8 – 9 p.m., ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. The National Christmas Tree Lighting will also be available for the public to view at CBS.com beginning Dec. 12.

Stay tuned to learn more about this year’s event! For more event information and updates, please visit www.thenationaltree.org and follow President’s Park on Facebook or Twitter.

58 schools designed ornaments for the 2022 National Christmas Tree display in President’s Park:

Alabama - Barton Academy for Advanced World Studies (Mobile)

Alaska - Effie Kokrine Charter School (Fairbanks)

American Samoa - Nu'uuli Vocational Technical High School (Pago Pago)

Arizona - San Luis High School (San Luis)

Arkansas - Little Rock West High School of Innovation (Little Rock)

California - Nueva Vista Language Academy (Delano)

Colorado - Infinity Middle School (Aurora)

Connecticut - O'Connell Elementary School (East Hartford)

Delaware - North Dover Elementary School (Dover)

District of Columbia - Friendship Public Charter School Blow Pierce Academy

Florida - Tohopekaliga High School (Kissimmee)

Georgia - Heritage High School (Conyers)

Guam - iLearn Academy Charter School (Dededo)

Hawaii - James Campbell High School (Ewa Beach)

Idaho - Christine Donnell School of the Arts (Boise)

Illinois - Oregon Junior/Senior High School (Oregon)

Indiana - Union Elementary School (Zionsville)

Iowa - Eagle Grove Elementary (Eagle Grove)

Kansas - Leawood Middle School (Leawood)

Kentucky - Owensboro Innovation Academy (Owensboro)

Louisiana - Harry Hurst Middle School (Destrehan)

Maine - Robert Connors Elementary School (Lewiston)

Maryland - Calvert High School (Prince Frederick)

Massachusetts - Falmouth Academy (Falmouth)

Michigan - Hanover-Horton Elementary School (Hanover)

Minnesota - Clover Ridge Elementary School (Chaska)

Mississippi - Madison Middle School (Madison)

Missouri - Sullivan High School (Sullivan)

Montana - Hyalite Elementary School (Bozeman)

Nebraska - Bennington South Middle School (Bennington)

Nevada - Garside Junior High School (Las Vegas)

New Hampshire - Arts Academy of New Hampshire (Salem)

New Jersey - Leeds Avenue Elementary School (Pleasantville)

New Mexico - Bernalillo Elementary School (Bernalillo)

New York - Maplewood Intermediate School (Huntington Station)

North Carolina - Greene Central High School (Snow Hill)

North Dakota - Valley City Jr. Sr. High School (Valley City)

Northern Mariana Islands - Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Public School System

Ohio - Lakota Central (West Chester)

Oklahoma - Jenks Middle School (Tulsa)

Oregon - Oregon School for the Deaf (Salem)

Pennsylvania - Kutztown Area High School (Kutztown)

Puerto Rico - Escuela Especializada de Educacion Bilingue (Cidra)

Rhode Island - Young Woods Elementary School (Providence)

South Carolina - Saluda High School (Saluda)

South Dakota - Stanley County Elementary School (Fort Pierre)

Tennessee - Arlington High School (Arlington)

Texas - Del Valle High School (El Paso)

U.S. Virgin Islands - St. Croix Educational Complex (Christiansted)

Utah - Helen M. Knight Elementary School (Moab)

Vermont - Wallingford Elementary School (Wallingford)

Virginia - Falmouth Elementary School (Falmouth)

Washington - Lummi Nation School (Bellingham)

West Virginia - Robert L. Bland Middle School (Weston)

Wisconsin - Jackson Elementary School (Janesville)

Wyoming - Beitel Elementary School (Laramie)

Bureau of Indian Education

  • Taos Day School (N.M.)
  • Riverside Indian School (Oka.)

Department of Defense Education Activity

  • Brussels Elementary High School (Belgium)
  • Bechtel Elementary School (Japan)
  • Fort Campbell High School (KY)



More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. The National Park Service has cared for the White House and its grounds since 1933. President’s Park, which includes the Ellipse and Lafayette Park, was officially included in the national park system in 1961. Visit us at:www.nps.gov, on Facebook:www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter:www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube:www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.


The original Department of Education was created in 1867 to collect information on schools and teaching that would help states establish effective school systems. In 1980, Congress established the U.S. Department of Education as a Cabinet-level agency. While the agency’s name and location within the Executive Branch have changed over the past 150 years, this early emphasis on getting information on what works in education to teachers and education policymakers continues to the present day. Today, the Department operates programs that touch on every area and level of education. Its elementary and secondary programs annually serve over 18,000 school districts and more than 55 million students attending nearly 100,000 public schools and approximately 35,000 private schools. Department programs also provide grant, loan, and work-study assistance to about 16 million postsecondary students.


The National Park Foundation works to protect wildlife and park lands, preserve history and culture, educate and engage youth, and connect people everywhere to the wonder of parks. We do it in collaboration with the National Park Service, the park partner community, and with the generous support of donors, without whom our work would not be possible. Learn more at nationalparks.org.


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