OSPI releases new way to measure student success

December 31, 2013

The state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction released a new measure of student performance Dec. 9, known as Student Growth Percentiles.

The percentiles are designed to measure the amount a student learns during one year and to show how students grow over time compared to their academic peers, students who earned similar scores on a prior test.

“We shouldn’t look at the data in just one way,” state Superintendent Randy Dorn said in a news release. “We need multiple measures. If a school is showing high growth from year to year, we should celebrate that. They’re doing exactly what they need to do to help kids be successful.”

Read more

Two positions are open for state Board of Education

August 6, 2013

In November, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn will conduct an election for Western Region Position 5 and Eastern Region Position 2 of the State Board of Education.

Candidates must be residents of the region they wish to represent.

According to the state Legislature website, the western region covers all counties including and west of Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King, Pierce, Lewis and Skamania counties. The eastern region covers all counties including and east of Okanogan, Chelan, Kittitas, Yakima and Klickitat counties.

Read more

Governor appoints former Issaquah school member to state school board

April 10, 2012

Though she was defeated in voting for Western Position 3, former Issaquah School Board member Connie Fletcher will retain a seat on the Washington State Board of Education thanks to Gov. Chris Gregoire.

While appointments need legislative approval, Gregoire directly names seven members of the 16-member board.

Fletcher first began serving on the state board in 2009. Her seat expired in December and she lost a bid for re-election to Mukilteo’s Kevin Laverty.

In total, five members of the state board are elected by public school board members from Washington.

Read more

Issaquah School District files for extension on new state civics requirement

April 3, 2012

With the approval of the school board, the Issaquah School District has filed for a two-year exemption from new graduation requirements put in place by the Washington State Board of Education.

The new state rules specifically spell out the social studies credits students in the graduating class of 2016 will need in order to take home a diploma.

For Issaquah schools, the biggest hurdle seems to be a requirement for .5 credit hours of civics: voting rules and so on. The district already meets other requirements, such as credits of Washington history and government.

Until February, the district thought it could embed the .5 in civics inside an existing class, said Patrick Murphy, executive director of secondary education for the district. State officials informed the district the civics class must be a separate course, Murphy added.

Read more

State hosts video contest

March 1, 2011

The Washington State Board of Education invites students to create films about the importance of math, science, technology, or Career and Technical Education courses for a video contest.

Each entry should be between five and 10 minutes, and fall into the categories of documentary or creative, fiction or nonfiction. All entries will be placed on the board’s YouTube channel and will be used during meetings and outreach sessions.

The first and second place prizes for each category are a $75 and $25 gift certificate, respectively.

Entries are due May 2. Learn more at www.sbe.wa.gov.

State eyes tougher high school graduation credits

December 28, 2010

Proposed graduation requirements

Before earning a high school diploma, it’s no secret that students have to pass a number of required courses — 19 mandated by the state and a few others required by their school.

After a three-year study of high school credits, the Washington State Board of Education has recommended that the number of mandatory credits increase from 19 to 24. Such an endeavor would cost the state an estimated $188 million between 2011 and 2016, and would need financial approval from the state Legislature.

Most of the money would pay for teacher and counselor salaries. The state pays for five high school periods now, and it would have to fund six if the bill passed. About $28 million would pay for facility costs, since some schools would need extra science and art classrooms so their students could meet the new recommended requirements.

With a gaping state budget deficit estimated at $4.6 billion, some educators aren’t holding their breath while waiting for the bill to pass.

Regardless of funding, Washington is woefully behind in the number of credits it requires of its high school students. The board reviewed how Washington ranks compared to other states and found 16 states require more than the state’s three credits of math; 36 required more than two credits of science; 39 required more than two and a half credits of social studies; and 45 required more than three credits of English.

Read more

Washington falls short in Race to the Top for school dollars

August 17, 2010

Washington is out of the running for the Race to the Top federal education grant program.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced 19 states as finalists July 27, but the list did not include Washington.

Race to the Top is a federal, incentive-based grant program that asked states to submit education reform packages to address assessment, teaching standards, early childhood education, graduation rates and the achievement gap.

“We are disappointed that the Department of Education did not select Washington to move forward in their competition for these federal education dollars,” Gov. Chris Gregoire, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn and state Board of Education Chairman Jeff Vincent said in a joint statement released after the July 27 announcement.

“We knew the process would be extremely competitive,” they added.

After a request from Gregoire this spring, Issaquah and 265 of the state’s 295 school districts — including the Lake Washington, Snoqualmie Valley and Renton districts — signed on as partners to the state’s Race to the Top application.

Read more

Issaquah School District stands to lose after Washington stumbles in Race to the Top

July 27, 2010

NEW — 4 p.m. July 27, 2010

It’s official. Washington is out of the running for the Race to the Top federal education grant program.

On Tuesday, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced 19 states as finalists advancing to the next round. Washington was not among them.

Race to the Top is an incentive-based grant program that asked states to submit bold education reform packages addressing assessment, teaching standards and professional development, early childhood education, increasing graduation rates and requirements, and closing the achievement gap.

The grant money is part of a nationwide initiative to kick-start a more competitive education system. At stake is a $3.4 billion grant jackpot to advance plans of the final states selected.

Read more

All-mail election could keep decision unknown on Nov. 3

October 27, 2009

When City Council candidate Joan Probala and her supporters gather at Gibson Hall on election night, the crowd could be cheated out of knowing how the months-long campaign culminates. Read more

Memorial stalled

October 27, 2009

Connie Fletcher laughs and enjoys a surprise sign placed on a ladies’ room stall door Oct. 19 during a reception honoring her retirement from 16 years of service on the Issaquah School District Board of Directors. In a ‘Very Special Resolution’ passed unanimously, the other board members, after several ‘whereas’ commendations, noting her ‘decided preference for the second stall from the left,’ resolved that it be ‘hereafter known as the ‘Connie Fletcher Commemorative Ladies’ Room Stall.’By Sara Niegowski / Issaquah School District

Connie Fletcher laughs and enjoys a surprise sign placed on a ladies’ room stall door Oct. 19 during a reception honoring her retirement from 16 years of service on the Issaquah School District Board of Directors. In a ‘Very Special Resolution’ passed unanimously, the other board members, after several ‘whereas’ commendations, noting her ‘decided preference for the second stall from the left,’ resolved that it be ‘hereafter known as the ‘Connie Fletcher Commemorative Ladies’ Room Stall.’By Sara Niegowski / Issaquah School District

Next Page »