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Positive School Climate in Action at New Horizons High School

By Kelly Munn, League of Education Voters State Field Director

New Horizons Group Photo - League of Education VotersThere are schools all across this state that are making dreams come true for their students.

I had the opportunity to visit one of these schools.

New Horizons is an alternative school in Pasco. They serve juniors and seniors who are on a different journey towards graduation, perhaps a slower journey, perhaps a more thoughtful journey, perhaps more zig and zag, alternative.

The students come from all kinds of backgrounds, but what they have in common is resilience, life experiences that have matured them, and despite so many obstacles, they are determined to meet their life goals. This school is helping to get them there.

The staff surrounds the students with a sense of belonging, a sense that they contribute to their education community, that each of them matters.

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Posted in: Closing the Gaps

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2018 Legislative Priority: Postsecondary

By League of Education Voters Policy Team

More than 20,000 State Need Grant eligible students attending Washington higher education institutions are not currently receiving a State Need Grant because the program has not been
fully funded by the legislature.

Opportunity:

The legislature established the State Need Grant (SNG) fifty years ago to increase access to higher education for low-income students. Although the SNG annually funds almost 70,000 students, the underfunding of SNG left over 20,000 eligible low-income students unserved in each of the last seven years. (1)

Over ten years ago Washington established the College Bound Scholarship (2) that provides financial aid to students from income eligible families who sign a pledge in middle school that they will earn a GPA of 2.0 or higher in high school and have no felony convictions. (3)

Both programs cover a portion of the cost of attendance leaving students cover the rest of the costs via family contributions, loans, or jobs. (4) As of 2012, the average SNG award covered 12% to 35% of the cost of attendance. On average, students cover between 14% and 28% of the cost through loans with the rest of the costs of attendance being paid though other types of aid or family and/or student generated sources.

Research:

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Posted in: Higher Education

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Career Connected Learning in NEWTECH Skill Center’s Pre-Apprenticeship Program

By Suzanne Gretch, Pre-Apprenticeship Coordinator, NEWTECH Skill Center
Kathleen Proud, Administrative Intern, NEWTECH Skill Center
Tricia Talbot, Counselor, NEWTECH Skill Center
Guest Bloggers

NEWTECH Skill Center student Jacob Caputo - League of Education Voters

NEWTECH Skill Center student Jacob Caputo, working at Wagstaff, Inc.

I have been working in Career and Technical Education for the better part of a decade. Until recently, I have never seen the well-deserved attention heeded to the trades by businesses, school administrators, or our lawmakers. At the end 2017, Governor Inslee awarded $6.4 million to Career Connect Washington grant funding, which will create close to 30,000 career connected learning experiences through 2019. Students, educators, and employers will now have the funding and resources to create and run internships, pre-apprenticeships, and registered apprenticeships. Governor Inslee and Career Connect are rightfully recognizing the immediate and future demand for skilled labor in our state, and are preparing to equip our students with the skills and on-the-job learning opportunities that will fill that demand and grow Washington state’s economy.

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Posted in: Higher Education

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2018 Legislative Priority: Career Connected Learning

By League of Education Voters Policy Team

Career Connected Learning - League of Education VotersMake sure all students have access to supports & opportunities as they explore their career options and determine the academic pathway that helps them achieve their goals.

Opportunity:

Career connected learning provides the guidance and opportunities for elementary through high school aged students as they explore career options and the academic pathways to pursue their career interests inside and outside of the classroom. To better serve students our schools can be better supported to utilize and support the High School & Beyond Plan, Career & Technical Education (CTE), dual credit, student learning plans, transition planning for special education students, counseling and other elements of a robust career connected learning system.

Context:

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Posted in: Higher Education

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Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup: Hitting the Ground Running

Friends,

Chris Korsmo

Chris Korsmo

It’s so good to be back with you! After a three month sabbatical, I’m renewed and refreshed, ready to hit the ground running.

Sadly it’s hard to know where to begin when so much promise, talent and opportunity came to an end – again – in a school in Florida. Another mass shooting, another school, another day of horror and grief. I have a sixth grader and a spouse who’s an elementary school principal. I know this is my worst fear.  I also know this has to stop. I feel like my head will explode if one more person says we need a national conversation about gun violence. It feels like we have that conversation many times a year – after another incidence of gun violence. Thoughts and prayers? Pray for the courage it takes to do the right thing. And think when you fill out your ballot.

As for what we can do for kids, if we are serious about our kids’ mental, physical and social well-being, there are some school staffing ratios that should look dramatically different. Among other things.

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Posted in: Weekly Roundup

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2018 Legislative Priority: Student Supports

By League of Education Voters Policy Team

Student Supports - League of Education VotersStudents learn most effectively when their school feels safe, inclusive, supportive, and respectful. (1)

Closing opportunity and achievement gaps and improving student outcomes relies on our ability to create positive school climates for every student.

Opportunity:

Creating positive school climates and providing student supports can mitigate the impact of trauma (2), mental health needs (3), and other non-academic factors that affect a student’s ability to engage in learning (4). Washington state has embarked upon some critical work to create positive school climates. The Educational Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee (EOGOAC) spearheaded a number of reforms, most recently with the passage of HB 1541 that continued student discipline reform and created the Washington Integrated Student Supports Protocol (5). The state also convened a workgroup to develop benchmarks for Social-Emotional Learning (6) for district use. We can enhance these and other efforts to deliver services to students and enable districts and schools to create welcoming and supportive environments for every student.

Solution:

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Posted in: Closing the Gaps

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Afterschool Is Essential for Millions of Students Nationwide Each Year

By Ruben Balderas
Guest Blogger

Ruben Balderas - League of Education VotersRuben is a senior at Walla Walla High School, and recently secured a job as a Walla Walla Public Schools afterschool tutor. Throughout his afterschool journey, Ruben has acquired a number of real-world skills, and has made many friends and professional contacts along the way.

Afterschool is very important to me for many different reasons. It has taught me many different things, including computer programs, videography and cinematography skills, communicating with other people. My program has also helped me develop different strategies around critical thinking, problem solving, analyzing, planning, brainstorming, time and stress management, and leadership. All of these skills learned in afterschool can also be used in a real-world work environment; for me, that would be something in the field of animation or concept art. In both of these fields, it is essential to be able to work and communicate within a team structure in order to produce the best content for the job.

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Posted in: Closing the Gaps

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2018 Legislative Priority: Expanded Learning Opportunities

By League of Education Voters Policy Team

Expanded Learning Opportunities - League of Education VotersLow-income kids get the least exposure to family reading time, weekend day trips, preschool, summer camp, and after-school programming – adding up to a 6,000 hour learning gap by 6th grade.(1)

High-quality expanded learning opportunities, such as after-school and summer programs, correlate with decreased academic gaps, improved behavior and social-emotional skills, fewer school absences, and lower dropout for all student groups. (2) High-quality apprenticeships and internships for high schoolers help students connect their schooling to important workforce skills. (3)

The Washington Legislature made initial investments in the Expanded Learning Opportunities Quality Initiative, which provides professional development, technical assistance, and a quality measurement system to ensure that programs offered to Washington youth are high-quality and effective. An additional $2.25M investment to expand the ELO Quality Initiative can increase the number of programs able to participate by 330— and increase access to high-quality programs for more than 11,000 students across the state.

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Posted in: Closing the Gaps

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