Wednesday, April 25, 2018

OSPI Wants Input

State Superintendent Chris Rykdal is seeking input on two areas.

Today, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) released a survey that asks the public to determine how important they find additional public K-12 education investments.

“This will be OSPI’s first biennial budget request since I took office,” said Chris Reykdal, Superintendent of Public Instruction. “It’s important to me that it is created with input from educators, families, students, and community members across the state.”

“Even as the Legislature has added new resources to shore up ‘basic’ education, we are still a state that invests less in our schools than the national average,” Reykdal continued. “We must do better! Future investments need to increase student achievement, and we want Washingtonians to help shape that future.”

The survey asks participants to decide how important they find things like student support services such as counseling and mental health, family engagement and outreach, school safety enhancements, programs that specifically address racial disparities in learning and discipline, and more.

“The Legislature worked hard on solving the McCleary math problem,” Reykdal said. “Now it’s time to build a budget we can take to Governor Inslee and the Legislature that transforms our system to better reflect the innovations that will be necessary to close opportunity gaps, increase graduation rates, and move more students to post-secondary training and career development.”

“It’s time to focus on the additional investments that ensure our public schools are among the best in the nation,” he continued. ”We are in a global competition and it will take additional investments by our Legislature to redesign our system to better support our students and our educators.”

The survey will remain open until Friday, June 8 and is available in 10 languages. Reykdal plans to release a second survey in mid-summer that will provide Washingtonians an opportunity to prioritize budget request items that emerge from this survey. 
We need your help identifying the successes and areas for improvement for Computer Science education in our state.

10-minute survey: The State of Computer Science

This data will provide us with baseline information from which we can make critical decisions (about professional development needs, for example) and discover important trends in an emerging field.

Your answers to this survey will help us build computer science supports and a system with opportunities that are more equitable and accessible for Washington students.

If you have any questions about this survey, please contact Shannon Thissen, our Computer Science Program Supervisor, at (360) 725-6092 or Shannon.Thissen@k12.wa.us. 
Also from OSPI; informational but sad:
About one out of every 25 K-12 students in Washington state – nearly one in every classroom – is homeless, living in hotels or in cars, or with friends.

Numbers released by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction show that in 2016-17, 40,934 Washington students were counted as homeless – a 3.2 percent increase from 2015-16.

“Homelessness puts incredible strain on families,” said Chris Reykdal, Superintendent of Public Instruction. “The students might be staying somewhere unsafe. And they may not have the time or a consistent place to study.”

This can lead to higher absenteeism and lower student achievement, Reykdal said. Graduation rates also suffer: The four-year rate for students experiencing homelessness in the Class of 2017 was 53.9 percent. For all students, the rate was 79.3 percent.

“Students experiencing homelessness need a place that is stable, a place where they are supported and nurtured,” Reykdal said. “For some, that place is school.”

The federal McKinney-Vento Act provides that those students be given the same access to their education as other students and cannot be separated from other students. Where feasible, the students can remain in the district they were in before becoming homeless and are provided transportation to and from school.

Specific reasons for the increase in students experiencing homelessness are difficult to determine at the state level. Local community factors, such as a lack of affordable housing options, a reduction in services, or unemployment or under-employment, may contribute.

The McKenney-Vento law provides some funding for states. Typically Washington receives about $1 million annually. Given in the form of competitive grants, the money goes to school districts with the greatest need and can be used for a variety of purposes, such as:
helping to minimize the excess cost of transportation;
tutoring, instruction, and enriched educational services;
providing supplies and other educational materials; and
providing early childhood education programs.

The State Homeless Student Stability Program also provides supports and resources for the education of students experiencing homelessness. A total of $850,000 is being awarded for the remainder of 2017-18 to 12 school districts. The funds will be used for a variety of programs, such as professional development for staff and partnerships with community-based organizations, that support students experiencing homelessness.

As defined by McKinney-Vento, a student is homeless if they lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. The definition also includes students who are “doubled up,” which occurs when the student doesn’t have a fixed address but instead must stay with family or friends at various times.

The new data show the largest increase in students experiencing homelessness occurred with those who are unsheltered, which includes, for example, students living in parks, abandoned buildings, cars, or on the streets. In the 2015-16 school year, there were 2,134 such students; in 2016-17, there were 2,753 – an increase of 29.0 percent.

For more information
Education of Homeless Children and Youth in Washington State
Current and historical data
McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act


Anonymous said...

This survey is window dressing. What a strange thing for OSPI to do. Do you think funding professional development is more important than giving financial incentives to teachers? Who put this thing together?


Anonymous said...

I felt the survey was more straightforward than any that I have filled in for the Seattle Public Schools. Thanks for the link - I would not have heard of it otherwise.