Dear partner in education:
The close of August is soon followed by the beginning
of another exciting school year, and teachers across the state
are gearing up to ensure all students learn the skills and obtain the
knowledge necessary for success.
August also marks the arrival of the 2009 WASL data,
giving all of us a chance to reflect on last year's academic
accomplishments and identify areas for improvement.
Although the reading and writing scores of the WASL remain strong,
students are still under-performing in math and science.
Where do we go from here?
We need to start by providing clear and comprehensive
learning targets. Our recently revised K-12 math and science standards fit
the bill. Washington teachers can now ensure that their curriculum
and instruction is tailored to our 21st century math and science
Secondly, we need to help districts/schools select and
find funding sources for new curriculum that meets the revised
SBE and OSPI have completed reviews of selected K-8 and
secondary mathematics curricula menu
options. There are several recommended curricula in both
elementary and middle schools. However, the high
school curricula menu didn't fare as well in meeting the
state standards (only one program was selected by the
Superintendent). Hopefully publishers will take heed, revising those
textbooks in the near future to address our new standards.
SBE will make official comment and recommendations on
OSPI's preliminary science curricula recommendations at a special
meeting on August 25. The Board is committed to working with OSPI to
support districts looking to adopt the OSPI recommended curriculum.
Selection of all curriculum is, however, a local decision.
Finally, we need to attract, train, and retain top notch
science and math teachers. Without these premier professionals at the
helm, widespread improvement in student achievement will not be
As the class of 2013 is the
first group required to pass the math and science portion of the high school proficiency exam,
the Board and other educational stakeholders will be sure to keep
both our math and science student
achievement goals at the forefront, not resting until all students
graduate with the mathematic and scientific knowledge and skills
necessary for post secondary education, careers, and citizenship.
SBE Accountability -
Although the 2008 WASL results
were very similar to our scores over the last three years,
over 400 additional schools did not make AYP.
Many of these schools scored well in key
content areas, but by not meeting AYP in even one of the thirty
seven "cells," they are classified as "failing."
In this system, both high and low performing schools are
thrown into the same mix. This can result in significant
confusion for parents and understandable frustration for educators.
Clearly No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has shown the
spotlight on the achievement gaps in our schools, but it does not
reflect the improvement some schools have made.
We believe there is a better way.
SBE's provisional accountability index provides
a much more rigorous, fair, clear, and comprehensive system by which
to assess schools.
Unlike the current federal system, SBE's provisional
accountability index will help education stakeholders easily
identify schools requiring intensive assistance vs. those simply
needing to shore up areas of weakness in student achievement.
The purpose of the Board's Accountability
Framework is to ensure all students receive an excellent and
equitable education. One of our primary goals in this regard is to
help schools target areas for improvement, with the ultimate
goal of closing the achievement gap that is prevalent in
many of our schools today.
The Board will consider proposing legislation this next
session to address required action for schools and districts that
continue not to improve after a set time. This will be discussed at
our September Board meeting.
This fall, SBE and
OSPI will work together to acknowledge the outstanding achievement of
Washington's top schools. SBE and OSPI will use the provisional accountability
index to determine the award recipients.
The "Outstanding Overall Achievement Award,"
presented by OSPI, will be given to the top 5 percent of all schools
in the state (based on the average index number). SBE will recognize
schools for six specific categories of achievement, including:
the Achievement Gap
SBE will also recognize the top 5 percent of
"gifted and talented" schools in the state.
More information about the new recognition system will
be available in September on both the OSPI and SBE websites.
CORE 24 Task
Force and the Meaningful High School Diploma
The Board's CORE 24 Implementation Task
Force, comprised of 20 education practitioners, continues its
work on pioneering strategies that schools/districts can use in
implementing the opportunity for a 24 credit graduation
On August 14, the Board met
to make recommendations about ways to phase in CORE 24, addressing issues
such as teacher supply, scheduling, infrastructure, and more. This
information will assist the Board as it considers possible
recomendations for submission to the Quality Education Council.
The Task Force will present an update on their work during the
Board's September 17-18 meeting.
SBE Vacancy and
It's a busy time at
The Board is filling one vacancy and closing
applications for two elected positions at
the end of August.
Two positions are available as a result of expiring
terms (one on the westside of the state and another on the
eastside). A third position is open due to an immediate vacancy.
The current four elected members of the Board hope to fill the vacancy
by the September 2009 Board meeting.
The filing dates for the two elected positions will
be from July 23, 2009 - August 30, 2009. School board members will
have from October 30, 2009 - November 25, 2009 to place their votes.
OSPI will conduct the elections.
Get to Know Your
Board Members: Jeff Vincent (Appointed)
Jeff Vincent brings a wealth of experience to the Board,
including more than 20 years of business leadership in such roles as
CEO, CFO, corporate development officer, and strategy consultant.
enjoys his current challenge of leading Laird Norton, an
investment firm that specializes in helping family businesses
In addition to his work on the SBE's executive
committee, Jeff has assumed a leadership position in
guiding the work of the science advisory panel.
Jeff enjoys reading and watching sports, but nothing
tops the time spent with two "freshmen," (one daughter
in college and one son in high school).
September 17-18, 2009
Puget Sound Educational Service District
For meeting agendas, click here.
E-mail your thoughts and questions to SBE at firstname.lastname@example.org.