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July 14-15 Meeting Recap

Release Date: 

July 16, 2021

SBE held its Board meeting July 14-15, and discussed emergency waiver program and instructional hours rules, graduation pathway options research, legislative priorities, basic education, a student panel with the Root of our Youth, and more. You can find documents from the meeting on SBE’s Simbli page, and links to recordings (streamed by TVW) on SBE’s meetings page.

PavanWestern Washington student, Pavan Venkatakrishnan (photographed to the right) was sworn in and began his two-year team on the State Board as student representative. Pavan just finished his sophomore year at Interlake High School. He's currently a member of student government at his school and a clarinet player with the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra. Pavan loves politics, and is an alum of several political campaigns, including most recently, President Joe Biden's. His term on the State Board is July 2021 - June 2023.

Student Panel: Root of Our Youth - The Root of Our Youth (student organization) has engaged with SBE over the last several months in having weekly discussions about current policy priorities. The Root of Our Youth students provided their recommendations to the Board around high school graduations requirements, mastery-based learning and the Profile of a Graduate, and the statewide accountability system. View the panel: Root of Our Youth at July Meeting.

Open Letter: Recognizing Student, Family, Educator Response to COVID-19 Disruptions - SBE would like to recognize our state’s students, teachers, administrators, educational staff associates, educational support professionals, parents, and caregivers for facing one of the most trying times of our generation—and for doing it with flexibility, creativity, and innovation. Read the rest of the letter from SBE to the education community.

Emergency Waiver Program Rules - House Bill 1121 authorized the State Board of Education to adopt rules to implement an Emergency Waiver Program to authorize school districts and private schools to waive certain graduation requirements because of disruptions in learning as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Board approved permanent rules (WAC 180-111) for an Emergency Waiver Program due to disruptions from the COVID-19 emergency for students in the Classes of 2020 and beyond who graduate in the 2021 and 2022 school years. These permanent rules will replace the emergency rules adopted in spring 2021. The rules will allow students and educators to plan for students to be able to use the waiver, if appropriate, to graduate in the 2022 school year. The rules also allow for additional flexibilities for private schools due to the COVID emergency and establishes a framework for an emergency waiver program in the event of possible future emergencies.

Instructional Hour Rules - The Board approved permanent rules for Chapter 180-16 WAC (State Support of Public Schools). The rules clarify that "in-person" instruction is the default method of delivery and that other modalities, such as distance and hybrid learning, are allowable under these exceptions:

  1. Under funding allocation models (WAC 392-121, RCW 28A.232, and RCW 28A.250) that allow for other modalities, such as Alternative Learning and Online Learning.
  2. As an opportunity for individual students, under district and student agreement, to engage in instructional hours delivered through other modalities due to health or safety needs of the student. 
  3. As necessary to allow for continued operation and delivery of basic education services during an emergency. 

Graduation Pathway Options Research Update - On behalf of the Board, Strobel Consulting surveyed districts about graduation pathway options (as required by legislation), conducted focus groups, and prepared a report. During the July Board meeting, Linda Drake presented highlights from 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 Board discussed and expressed support for the Legislative Committee’s recommendations on agency requests to develop for the 2022 legislative session. These requests include: 

  • Creating new graduation credit and pathway options (SHB 1162)
    • This agency request legislation was introduced by Prime Sponsor, Rep. Stonier, last session. The Board will continue to advocate for this bill and explore potential changes over interim.
  • Agency request legislation to grant voting power to student members on the State 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 Board also began discussing other advocacy priorities for potential inclusion on the Board’s legislative platform. That conversation will continue at the September Board retreat, with the final platform to be adopted at the November board meeting.

Approval of Private Schools - Sixty-seven additional schools were approved or provisionally approved as Washington state private schools to operate in the 2021-2022 school year. A total of 523 private schools have been approved during the 2021-2022 school year.  

Upcoming Board meeting - The next meeting is scheduled for September 14-16, 2021. The agenda and materials will be posted one week in advance of the meeting on SBE’s meetings page

Media Contact: 

Stephanie Davidsmeyer
Communications Manager