Archive for August, 2017

There Is No Excusing Racism

This has been a really devastating week for all of us. Racism is a stain on this country. Though it cannot be erased, we can work together to remedy its effects and make a future that reflects the values for which this country stands. We recognize that people of color experience the effects of racism every day, and that it impacts our students.

We believe that every child deserves the opportunity to achieve their dreams.

We cannot let events like Charlottesville drive us apart. We have to work together. This is not the first time that hatred has raised its ugly head, and it won’t be the last time.

What’s happening is not okay today, it wasn’t okay yesterday, and it’s not okay for tomorrow. We stand together to raise our voice unequivocally that we do not tolerate racism and we will not be silent.

The League of Education Voters staff

Chris Korsmo, CEO
Daniel Zavala, Director of Policy and Government Relations
Leann Arend, Chief Operating Officer
Emily Ditty, Development Director
Nancy Hopkins, Senior Administrative and Accounting Assistant
Sandra Jarrard, Regional Field Director, Spokane
Ruvine Jiménez, Community Organizer, Tri-Cities Region
Arik Korman, Communications Director
Kelly Munn, State Field Director
Jessica Nieves, Development Associate
Angela Parker, Policy Analyst
Ashley Rammelsberg, Digital Communications Specialist
Jake Vela, Senior Policy Analyst
Julia Warth, Assistant Director of Policy and Government Relations
Joyce Yee, Community Organizer, South King County Region

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Tukwila GLAD Trains Teachers on English Language Learning

English Language Learners are engaged in an innovative way using methods developed by Project GLAD

Tukwila StudentThe Tukwila School District, one of the most diverse in the country, is in its third year of training elementary school teachers to engage English Language Learner (ELL) students in an innovative way. Project GLAD (Guided Language Acquisition Design) was field tested for nine years by the United States Department of Education and has been deployed across the country for more than 20. It is a professional development model in the area of academic language acquisition and literacy, designed to specifically target and promote language skills, academic achievement, and cross-cultural skills with groundbreaking efficiency.

At Tukwila Elementary School, trainer Jennica Kantak taught 20 fourth-grade students with support from Vice Principal Carla Carrizosa in front of an audience of about 20 elementary teachers from across the district. So far, 72 of Tukwila’s 90 elementary school teachers have taken part in GLAD trainings, which are funded by the state’s Transitional Bilingual Instructional Program (TBIP) and federal Title III money.

GLAD student Tukwila GLAD training

In this particular English Language Arts summer school remedial class, Jennica stressed to her students, whom she addressed as scholars, the importance of 21st-century collaboration skills. The morning began with the mantra of “Show respect, make good decisions, and solve problems.” On a colorful chart, she listed how cooperation looks, highlighting actions such as using a positive tone of voice, keeping voices off, focusing on the speaker, sharing resources, and being brave, patient, kind, flexible and organized.
As tools to manage classroom engagement, Jennica recognized scholars who demonstrated model behavior by designating them as “scouts” to reward other scholars making good choices, she divided the class into color-coded teams, and awarded points to those teams in the spirit of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts School.

The class began by practicing parts of speech by reading aloud and then deconstructing The Immigrant Chant (Immigrants Here, There) by Heidi Busk:

Immigrants here, immigrants there
Immigrants, immigrants everywhere!

Curious immigrants scrutinizing resolutely
Industrious immigrants working vigorously
Productive immigrants crating craftily
And new immigrants arriving eagerly

Immigrants in the cities
Immigrants around the orchards
Immigrants within our communities
And immigrants throughout the state

Immigrants here, immigrants there
Immigrants, immigrants everywhere!

Immigrants! Immigrants! Immigrants!

Student at Board with TeacherUsing the noun “immigrants,” groups of scholars formed sentences and then sang their creations to reinforce sentence construction that involved two adjectives, the noun, a verb, an adverb and prepositional phrase. One example earned the green team ten points: “Happy thirsty immigrants build nervously around the world.”

“Region” was the word of the day. Whenever Jennica would say “region,” scholars responded by repeating the word and its definition. Jennica employed a graphic organizer to teach the concept, focusing on the Puget Sound Lowlands. Different characteristics of the region, such as geography, climate, history/people, economy, and interesting facts, were each color-coded by category to aid recall. Tukwila Elementary Vice Principal Carla Carrizosa explained, “It is difficult for ELL students to learn to write, and the colors really help.”

The payoff happened when the teams played writing games. Each team came up with one sentence from the category of their choice, and each scholar took a turn writing. Everyone gathered together on the classroom carpet to read their work aloud and then revise their sentences. Acting in collaboration with facilitation from Jennica, the class composed topic and closing sentences, and together came up with:

“The Puget Sound Lowlands (PSL) is a distinct and unique region in Washington state. It was mostly forest, but now there are mostly towns and cities like Seattle, Olympia, and Tukwila. In this region, it rains 154 days per year. Some people in the PSL are Native Americans because they migrated nervously from Asia to Western Washington. The economy provides manufactured goods from Boeing and Microsoft as well as providing jobs for people. An interesting fact is (that) the Space Needle was built in 1962 for the World’s Fair. That is why the Puget Sound Lowlands is a good place for immigrants to live.”

Tukwila GLAD training GLAD teacher training   

With broad smiles all around, Jennica and her scholars performed a celebration dance to close out the morning. “I really enjoy being a GLAD trainer,” says Jennica, “And I wish GLAD could be in every school across the state.”

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August Education Advocate, our monthly enews

education advocate header



Arik Korman

Arik Korman, Communications Director

I would like to introduce myself – I’m Arik Korman, Communications Director at the League of Education Voters. I’ve been on staff since November 2015, and served on the Board for two years prior. I have a son who is going into third grade in public school, and I believe that education, when done right, is the great equalizer in society. I’ll be sending you the monthly Education Advocate e-news, and am happy to kick things off by sharing our 2017 Legislative Session Scorecard. The 2017 legislative session resulted in plenty of good progress for Washington’s students, but much work remains to be done. Check out our Legislative Scorecard to see how we did on our legislative priorities.

Also, we’d like to thank our generous donors from the second quarter of 2017. We couldn’t do our work without you, so if you haven’t supported us lately, you can still make a gift today.

Read below for more about our work.

Thanks again for all you do for Washington’s kids. We’re all in this together.

Arik Korman signature

WA Capitol Legislative BldgLegislative scorecard

Our legislative scorecard highlights some of our key legislative priorities and the results. We know that the end of a legislative session or the passage of a bill is not the end of our work, but rather a step in a continuing journey to bring every Washington student an excellent public education – from early learning through higher education – that provides the opportunity for success. Read the PDF now


Thank youThank you donors!

We are excited about the progress we are seeing for Washington students in 2017. Thank you to all of our donors – we couldn’t do this work without you! Read more



Girls drawing with pencilTeam Child on special education in Washington

We sat down with Team Child Legal Services Director David Huneryager to discuss the special education landscape in Washington state, this year’s US Supreme Court Endrew ruling and the ACLU’s lawsuit against the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and what would happen if we all believe that every child can learn. Listen now


Teacher planner with appleBack to school: teacher resources

As temperatures rise in Washington and August begins, it’s one month until students will be back at their desks ready to learn. Teachers are preparing for the upcoming academic year, and we want to highlight some of our favorite teacher resources that can enhance their classrooms and (hopefully) make their lives easier. Read now


woman on computerWe’re making a new website and we need your help!

Take our short, 9 question survey now to help us build our new website. Thank you! Take the survey now

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Celebrating our 2017 Donors: Second Quarter

April 1–June 30, 2017

Thank youWe are excited about the progress we are seeing for Washington students in 2017. Thank you to all of our donors – we couldn’t do this work without you!

Donations are made to the League of Education Voters and the League of Education Voters Foundation by individuals, groups, and businesses throughout the community. These generous donations from those who believe in high-quality public education allow us to ensure measurable progress toward our vision that every student in Washington state has access to an excellent public education that provides the opportunity for success.

We regret any omissions or errors to the donor list. Please contact our Development team using our contact form with any questions or to correct any information.


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Back to School: Teacher Resources

Back to School: Teacher Resources

Back to school time is almost here!

As temperatures rise in Washington and August begins, it’s one month until students will be back at their desks ready to learn. Teachers are preparing for the upcoming academic year, and we want to highlight some of our favorite teacher resources that can enhance their classrooms and (hopefully) make their lives easier.

Our favorite online teacher resources:


duolingo for schools Duolingo for Schools

Duolingo is one of the largest online academies for language learning, used by many institutions and governments for language instruction, and now teachers can harness their powerful resources too. Duolingo for Schools offers resources for classroom management, allowing teachers to view students progress, assessments, strengths and weaknesses. The feedback is personalized for each student, so each student can focus on the areas they need to focus on.


teacher on computerPBS Teacherline

Summer is a great time to focus on professional development. PBS Teacherline offers a variety of facilitated and self-paced courses that can enhance your teaching methods. Interested in teaching your students digital literacy? Looking for ways to up your STEM focus? PBS Teacherline has a variety of courses focusing on math, science, and technology, as well as language arts and history.


Google EarthGoogle Earth

Enhance your geography lessons with Google Earth. You can take your students on a journey soaring over the Amazon Rain Forest, on a tour of the Eiffel Tower, or explore the Rocky Mountains. Google Earth can add a stunning visual element to your lessons, allowing students to travel around the world and see what they are learning about in their geography lessons.


pbs learningmediaPBS LearningMedia

Another resource from PBS is their LearningMedia site partnered with their Teachers Lounge. PBS LearningMedia offers a wealth of lesson plans and resources, videos, and professional development resources. They offer breakdowns by grade level and subject matter if you’re looking for lessons for your students. The lessons also give information about what learning standards they cover. This website has a wealth of knowledge and resources ready to be tapped into!


smithsonianSmithsonian Education

Want to show your students dinosaur fossils up close? Interested in taking a look at the Star Spangled Banner? Looking to quiz your students on the U.S. Presidents? Smithsonian Education brings the vast resources of the Smithsonian into your classroom. History comes to life with their depth of resources, bringing your students closer to history.


Did we miss a resource you love? Let us know! Leave us a comment and let us know what resources you use in your classroom.

Check out our blog on Summer Learning Loss for even more online resources.

Happy teaching!

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