SBE held its board meeting on July 14-15 and discussed the emergency waiver program and rules for teaching hours, research on graduation path options, legislative priorities, basic education, a panel of students with the root of our youth, and more. You can find meeting documents on SBE’s Simbli page and links to recordings (broadcast by TVW) on SBE’s meetings page.
Western Washington student Pavan Venkatakrishnan (pictured right) was sworn in and started his two-year team on the State Council as a student representative. Pavan has just completed his second year at Interlake High School. He is currently a member of his school’s student government and clarinetist with the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra. Pavan enjoys politics and is an alum of several political campaigns, the most recent of which, that of President Joe Biden. His term on the Council of State is from July 2021 to June 2023.
Student panel: Root of our youth – The Root of Our Youth (student organization) has engaged with SBE in recent months in weekly discussions on current political priorities. Root of Our Youth students presented their recommendations to Council regarding high school graduation requirements, master’s-based learning and a graduate’s profile, and the accountability system across the board. of State. See the panel: Root of Our Youth at the July meeting.
Open letter: Acknowledging the response of students, families and educators to COVID-19 disruptions – SBE would like to thank the students, teachers, administrators, educational staff associates, educational support professionals, parents and caregivers of our state for facing one of the most difficult times of our generation – and for to have done so with flexibility, creativity and innovation. Read the rest of SBE’s letter to the educational community.
Emergency Relief Program Rules – House Bill 1121 authorized the State Board of Education to pass rules to implement an emergency waiver program to allow school districts and private schools to waive certain graduation requirements of the diploma due to learning disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The board approved standing rules (WAC 180-111) for an emergency waiver program due to disruption due to the COVID-19 emergency for students in classes of 2020 and beyond who graduate during school years 2021 and 2022. These permanent rules will replace the emergency rules adopted in the spring of 2021. The rules will allow students and educators to provide that students will be able to use the exemption, if any, to graduate during school year 2022. The rules also allow additional flexibilities for private schools due to the COVID emergency and establish a framework for an emergency waiver program in the event of possible future emergencies.
Rules relating to teaching hours – The Board approved the permanent rules of Chapter 180-16 WAC (State Support for Public Schools). The rules specify that ‘in-person’ instruction is the default teaching method and that other modalities, such as distance and blended learning, are permitted under these exceptions:
- Under the funding allocation models (WAC 392-121, RCW 28A.232 and RCW 28A.250) which allow other modalities, such as alternative learning and e-learning.
- As an opportunity for individual students, under a district and student agreement, to commit to teaching hours provided by other modalities due to the health or safety needs of the ‘student.
- As needed to enable continued operation and delivery of basic education services in an emergency.
Research update on graduation path options – On behalf of the board, Strobel Consulting interviewed districts on graduation path options (as required by law), organized focus groups and prepared a report. At the July Board meeting, Linda Drake presented the highlights of the report and Alisha Strobel responded to questions and comments from Board members. By including data from students and families of current students as well as high school and district staff, this work exceeds legislative requirements.
Legislative priorities – The Council discussed and expressed support for the Legislative Committee’s recommendations on agency requests to be developed for the 2022 legislative session. These requests include:
- Creation of new credit and end-of-study path options (SHB 1162)
- This agency request legislation was introduced by the first sponsor, Representative Stonier, in the last session. Council will continue to advocate for this bill and explore potential changes in the interim.
- Agency calls for law to grant voting rights to student members of the National Board of Education
- Budget request and / or agency request legislation to support a statewide school climate survey
- Budget request for staff resources to support student, family and community engagement
The Council also began discussing other advocacy priorities for possible inclusion on the Council’s legislative platform. This conversation will continue during the September board retreat, with the final platform to be adopted at the November board meeting.
Approval of private schools – Sixty-seven additional schools have been approved or provisionally approved as private schools in Washington State to operate in the 2021-2022 school year. A total of 523 private schools were accredited during the 2021-2022 school year.
Next board meeting – The next meeting is scheduled for September 14-16, 2021. The agenda and documents will be posted one week before the meeting on the SBE meetings page.