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Wallop Civic Engagement K-12 Virtual Library Continues to Grow

     An important free resource for social studies educators continues to grow in the state of Wyoming, and that resource is the Wallop Civic Engagement K-12 Curriculum Catalog. This resource was highlighted earlier in the year in a WSUP e-newsletter, and has utilized the 2021 year to make advancements in its curriculum offerings and use feedback from Wyoming educators to shape new content development.

    In June of 2021, the Malcolm Wallop Civic Engagement Program and the Trustees Education Initiative (TEI) came together to develop a professional development training for social studies educators who were interested in best practices for utilizing the Wallop K-12 Catalog. During this time, they also invited the content creators from the community colleges and University of Wyoming to join in these conversations on the insights of the K-12 teachers when implementing these resources. This two-day workshop provided valuable insight into the needs of the educators and provided an outlet for a learning community to come together to see how each setting was incorporating this resource into their curriculum. One valuable piece of feedback was the importance of Wyoming-specific content as often other national-level information can be found in a variety of places but is not tailored specifically to Wyoming content and performance standards. Through this professional development workshop, the team was able to begin planning for the next set of expansions within the Wallop Catalog.

    After returning from this workshop, they began developing a plan for incorporating that feedback. They sent out targeted invitations to individuals at the University of Wyoming and community colleges who could discuss topics such as Wyoming government, economy, industry, land use, and Native populations. Within these invitations, they also highlighted the template that had been used for the original courses wherein educators are provided with multimedia content including a short video presentation, a resource guide that shows how the lesson lines up with Wyoming social studies standards and provides activities/questions for discussion, and supplemental information links. The Wallop Team hopes that by September of 2021 they will have around twenty new content packages that build upon the 40+ already available to educators. With the incorporation of these new content areas, the team feels the content will better assist educators in fulfilling some of the Wyoming Social Studies Standards as revised in 2018.

    An exciting development for the Wallop Civic Engagement Library Catalog is that they plan a second workshop for those interested in using the catalog of resources in June of 2022. These workshops are funded through the financial support of generous donors such as TEI and the University of Wyoming School of Politics, Public Affairs, and International Studies. Jean Garrison and Jason McConnell, co-directors for the K-12 project, would also like to give a big shout out to TEI’s staff for their ideas and follow-through which have allowed for these professional development workshops to come to be.

    The Wallop Team mentioned how the COVID-19 Pandemic led to a great deal of changes in daily operations, and yet it presented possibilities for growth and revision. This year, the team has gotten information to new areas of the state including teachers in over thirty Wyoming schools using these resources. In addition, educators at the workshop mentioned how they hope to continue incorporating some of these technological resources for the years ahead. This drive of the state’s agencies and educators displays how much we are keen to learn from our experiences and progress these innovations to better assist the students in our classrooms.

    For more information on the Wallop Civic Engagement Library, please check out the program engagement site or view the curriculum catalog. In addition, the National Network for Educational Renewal (NNER) has a journal article on page 183 written by the Wallop Team and TEI.

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