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September Board Meeting Recap

Release Date: 

September 18, 2020

SBE held its annual retreat and Board meeting September 15-17 and discussed graduation requirements rules, legislative priorities, private schools, and more. You can find a recording of the retreat and meeting on SBE’s meetings page, as well as links to approved/adopted items. Find also a link to SBE’s new document management system (Simbli) where all the meeting documents are housed (including agendas).

Approved/adopted at the meeting:

  • Final permanent rules regarding High School Graduation Requirements, Emergency Waiver Authority, and Private Schools
    • Increase flexibility for districts to waive Washington state history for students impacted by school closures or other disruptions due to COVID-19 or other emergencies.
    • Clarify that districts can award credit based on student demonstration of mastery. The rules outlines what a district’s policy for awarding mastery-based (MB) credit should contain (including an equity provision) and recommend that districts who offer MB crediting opportunities make certain categories of demonstration of proficiency available to their students (state assessments, local assessments, equivalency course of study, and success in a higher level course).
    • Private school rules allow private schools, including schools approved under provisional status, to open online-only for the 2020-2021 school year if state or local health requires it or the private school decides to be online-only for safety needs of the community.
  • Approval of Private Schools for the 2020-2021 school year
  • Initiation of rulemaking to amend the Private School application process (motion)
  • Agency Fiscal Year 2021 budget
  • Board meeting dates

Agency request legislation
The Board is recommending three bills to the Governor’s office for the upcoming legislative session:

  • Emergency waiver authority – this legislation would provide the State Board of Education with authority to establish an emergency waiver program to allow school districts to waive certain graduation requirements on an individual student basis after the district makes a good faith effort to help the student meet the requirements. This waiver program would address the credit and subject area requirements as well as the graduation pathway requirement.
  • New graduation credit and pathway options – this legislation would allow students to graduate with fewer than 24 credits as long as they meet a pathway option, pass the 17 core subject credits and three personalized pathway credits, and complete all other graduation requirements. In addition, this proposal would add a portfolio option to the graduation pathways.
  • Supporting mastery-based learning – this legislation outlines a work plan for advancing mastery-based learning. It would continue the Mastery-based Learning Work Group, expand research on graduation pathways to incorporate student voice, and lead to the development of a cohesive system of graduation requirements that align with mastery-based learning.

Leaders in Native Education panel
On Thursday, September 17, SBE hosted leaders in native education for a panel discussion on compact schools, school mascots, the Since Time Immemorial curriculum, and more. The panel was facilitated by Bill Kallappa (SBE Board member), and featured panelists Jon Claymore (OSPI Office of Native Education), Joe Davalos (Superintendent of Chief Kitsap Academy), Jerad Koepp (Native Student Program Specialist for North Thurston Public Schools), Willie Frank III (Nisqually Tribal Council), and Hanford McCloud (Nisqually Tribal Council).

The recording can be found on SBE’s meetings page.

Student Voice Panel
The State Board of Education hosted a student voice panel on August 24 from 12:30-2:00 p.m. facilitated by Margarita Amezcua (SBE's west-side student Board member). The session was entitled "Modern Day Racism in Education."

The goal of this panel was to give policymakers a better understanding of the problems that students of color face in the education system and the broader world, so that policy actions can be informed by student voice. Over 200 people registered to listen to the experiences of students Mineva Misiaita (Auburn Riverside High School), AJ Lopez (Bainbridge High School), Shreya Mehta (Hanford High School), Jennifer Tran (Foster High School), Shafaq Buttar (Foster High School), Ally Sutherland (Woodinville High School), Alicia Ing (recent graduate, Renton High School), and Margarita Amezcua (Auburn Riverside High School).

At the September 2020 Board meeting, Margarita answered Board member questions and reflected on the panel

Learn more about the Board and members on the SBE web page with member bios. Questions? Contact us at

Media Contact: 

Stephanie Davidsmeyer
Communications Manager