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June Work Session Recap

Release Date: 

June 29, 2020

On June 17, 2020, the State Board of Education held a work session to discuss the long-term impacts of COVID-19 school building closures, related disruptions to learning, and the challenges with reopening schools during the ongoing public health crisis. Board members discussed policy options to support schools in reopening and to facilitate serving students in a more equitable and effective way. The discussion helped identify the top priority policy options for staff to develop into proposals for Board consideration at the July meeting. 

Board members were able to share thoughts for what will be needed following building closures, and also appreciation for districts working hard to serve students through it all. Check out the video clip of Board member, Dr. Susana Reyes and a clip from Harium Martin-Morris from this session.


Pressing issues

The most pressing issues under the Board’s purview that impact planning for next school year include: 

  • Minimum instructional hours and days requirements
  • Graduation pathways requirement
  • Credit graduation requirements

Rulemaking Proposals

Some issues can be addressed through SBE’s existing rulemaking authority. SBE staff will bring forward the following proposals for consideration at the July meeting.

  • Instructional hours and days – counting instructional time that occurs outside of the traditional classroom for the 2020-21 school year
  • Mastery-based crediting – articulating districts’ existing authority in an explicit way to clarify what is allowed and to support districts in offering these opportunities more widely
  • Clarification for meeting subject-area graduation requirements – clarifying that a single course may meet more than one subject area graduation requirement
  • Flexibility for Washington State History (WSH) requirement – extending current ability of principals to waive this requirement in certain circumstances to include students who did not complete a WSH course because of an emergency school closure
  • Private schools online programs – allowing private schools to provide online programs to be responsive to COVID-19 public health requirements or community concerns

Legislative Requests

In addition, the Board will consider making legislative requests to address the need for graduation requirements flexibility.

  • Graduation pathways flexibility
    • Staff propose extending the Expedited Assessment Appeal waiver as the best option to propose if there is a Special Session
    • Other options under consideration include:
      • Establish a local waiver of pathways for individual students
      • Establish a waiver to allow districts to innovate with pathways
      • Suspend pathways statewide for one or two years
  • Credit graduation requirements flexibility
    • Revise and extend the emergency waiver of credit graduation requirements, but with more restrictive parameters on the number and type of credits that can be waived

The Board will continue this conversation during the July 8 and 9 meeting, held virtually on Zoom. Find more information on SBE's meetings page.

Media Contact: 

Stephanie Davidsmeyer
Communications Manager