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Ready Washington Announces 2017 'Opt In for Student Success' Winners

Last week, Ready Washington announced the five winners of the 2017 ' Opt In for Student Success' contest.  The contest encouraged students to submit 30-second videos demonstrating why a high-quality education is important to them and highlighting the value of assessments as a tool in preparing for college and career. Meet the winners:

1. Caedmon Calbero , Junior, Marysville Getchell High School (Marysville)
2. Ethan DuWors , Senior, Timberline High School (Lacey)
3. Annie Hager , Sophomore, Mount Si High School (Snoqualmie)
4. Sarah Archer , Junior, Marysville Getchell High School (Marysville)
5. Elizabeth Min , Junior, Decatur High School (Federal Way)

Ready Washington received submissions from high school students all around the state, representing eight of the state's nine Educational Service District regions. A committee of judges from the Ready Washington coalition selected the winners based on content, creativity, and video quality.

Legislative Update: Legislators Agree on Levy Extension

The Legislature last week agreed and voted on a bill to delay for one year the so-called "levy cliff" regarding local funding for K-12 education. Without the levy extension, local school district levy capacity would have been reduced from 28 percent to 24 percent beginning in January 2018. As part of the compromise between the House and the Senate, SB 5023 requires that (1) school districts maintain separate accounts for these excess levies to ensure funds are not spent on basic education; and (2) levies that school districts intend to run after January 2018 must be approved by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to ensure the intended levy funds are not spent on basic education. Governor Inslee signed the bill into law today, and it went into effect immediately.

Regarding the Supreme Court's McCleary decision, four proposals have been released to date. Governor Inslee offered a solution in his 2016 supplemental budget proposal. House Democrats introduced HB 1843 in January, and it passed out of the House in February. The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus introduced its solution (SSB 5607) in January, and it passed out of the Senate in early February. Finally, a group of moderate Democrats in the Senate introduced SB 5825 which received a hearing last month in the Senate Ways & Means Committee.

With all the various proposals, and with caucuses expected to release their budget proposals later this month, it's going to be a challenge for legislators to complete their work before April 23, when the Legislature is scheduled to adjourn. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on all the moving parts.
Washington STEM Testifies in U.S. Senate Subommittee on Appropriations

A U.S. Senate Subcommittee held a hearing this week titled " STEM Education: Preparing Students for the Careers of Today and the Future." Washington STEM's Caroline King testified in support of STEM education "as an engine for economic growth for our country and opportunity for children."

"While job creation is at a high, employers from Microsoft in Redmond to Matson Fruit in rural Washington starve for STEM talent. A 2016 report by the Boston Consulting Group and Washington Roundtable [ Washington Kids for Washington Jobs] estimates 740,000 job openings across the state over the next five years ... For Washington state, investing in STEM education and training isn't just the best thing to do for our businesses. It helps our citizens get on the path to the middle class." 

Watch her testimony here (beginning at 34:15) or read her remarks here
The Herald Editorial: Reason for Hope on School funding Agreement

The Herald Editorial Board released an optimistic editorial this week about K-12 funding and the state supreme court's McCleary decision. Specifically, the piece highlighted a few of the K-12 reforms supported by the Washington Roundtable:

"The necessity to end the need for local school districts to use property tax levies to provide a significant portion of salaries for teachers and other staff;

"Equitable funding for districts and schools; and

"Increased funding for students most in need, including English language learners, special needs students, foster children and homeless students and those living in high-poverty areas."

Read the full editorial here.
Blog Post: Reflections on my SBA Class

Check out this recent CORElaborate blog post from Jennifer Hargrave, a high school ELA teacher from Davenport. The post is titled "Reflections on My SBA Class" and speaks to the many challenges and rewards that come with teaching students who require extra help to meet standard on the Smarter Balanced assessments as they prepare for life after high school. 

"I have taught this class for a year and a half and thrown everything at it in terms of activities, approaches and materials. There is no curriculum, so I build or find everything. Everyday I wage war against the mentality that writing and reading are not important or that the students are not good at "it." If I win, they win too."

Read the full blog post here.

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Ingrid Stegemoeller , Communications Manager
Partnership for Learning 
(206) 625-9655