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July Education Advocate, the LEV Monthly E-news

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Greetings

Chris Korsmo

Chris Korsmo

Now that the state budget negotiations have finally crossed the goal line, I am happy to report that our legislature has made a huge investment in K-12 education! Thanks to your advocacy and support, schools with historically underserved students will get much-needed additional help. Read more about the legislature’s solution to the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision in this blog by Daniel Zavala, LEV’s director of policy and government relations. Be a part of this landmark moment! Help ensure that the McCleary decision is implemented to benefit every Washington student by making your gift today.

Also, LEV interviewed Washington state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal about his long-term vision for K-12 education. And we’re hosting a free Lunchtime LEVinar July 20 on how adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and complex trauma impacts student learning.

Read below for more about our work.

Thanks for all you do for kids. We couldn’t do it without you.

Chris Korsmo

Chris Reykdal OSPIChris Reykdal discusses his six-year K-12 education plan

League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman sat down with Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal to discuss his six-year K-12 education plan, how the plan would prepare our kids for what comes after high school, and how we can help make it happen. Listen now

 

 


ACEs studentHow ACEs & Complex Trauma Impacts Student Learning

Childhood experiences, both positive and negative, have a tremendous impact on lifelong health and opportunity. Much of the foundational research in this area has been referred to as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). David Lewis, Program Manager of Behavioral Health Services at Seattle Public Schools, will describe how trauma impacts a student’s ability to be successful, and will share best assessment and teaching practices. Register now

 


WA Capitol Legislative BldgWhat You Need To Know About the McCleary School Funding Agreement

In what was quite literally years in the making, the Legislature has at long last presented and passed a K-12 funding solution. And, perhaps surprisingly in today’s political climate, it was passed with strong bipartisan support. Read more

 


summer learning slide Summer Learning Loss, and What You Can Do To Prevent It

School is out and the sun is shining! While summer is filled with lots of fun, time away from school can have a negative impact on students. Read now

 

 


Get Involved

Join us for a LEVinar: How ACEs and Complex Trauma Impact Learning | Register now

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Summer Learning Loss, and What You Can Do To Prevent It

Summer Learning Loss, and What You Can Do To Prevent It

Summer learning loss, what is it?

School is out and the sun is shining! While summer is filled with lots of fun, time away from school can have a negative impact on students. Summer learning loss occurs when students don’t reinforce what they have learned throughout the school year, leading to a loss in knowledge and the need for teachers to spend the first weeks of school re-teaching skills that students learned the previous year. While there are many factors that come into play, some students lose over 2 months of math and reading knowledge during the summer. Fret not! Despite this, there are ways that parents can help keep their kids engaged in learning all summer long. Here is our guide to free (or nearly free) ideas and resources to help keep your little learners, elementary schoolers, and teenagers engaged in learning all summer long.

Our favorite ideas and resources to combat summer learning loss:

 

greatschools.org- Summer Learning Loss BlogGreatschools.org

Looking for pre-K resources for your little learner? Greatschools.org offers free printable worksheets for students in pre-K all the way to 5th grade. They also offer resources for students and families from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Visit this site for a wealth of resources, tests, worksheets and articles.

 

 

Khan Academy Homepage- Summer Learning Loss BlogKhan Academy

One of the hardest subjects to keep up with during the summer can be math. Reading a book can be a treat at bedtime, but keeping up with fractions can be a bit trickier. The Khan Academy is a stellar resource. Their wealth of subject matter ranges from the basics to calculus, with everything in between. They also have coding resources for your the programmer-to-be in your family, as well as a variety of science and engineering resources. Is your teen getting ready to take those college entrance exams? The Khan Academy also offers test prep resources. Oh, and not to mention you can brush up on your macroeconomics and AP US history as well. This overall STEAM knowledge base should not be overlooked.

Postcard- Summer Learning Loss BlogWrite a Postcard

Travelling making it hard to budget studying time for your kids? On your travels have your kids pick out postcards that they would like to send to their friends and family and have them write their own letters. This is a great way to combat summer learning loss by practicing grammar, spelling, and punctuation on the go. It’s also a fun surprise for the recipients. Bring your child into the process by having them pick out the postcards they would like to send, then they will feel more connected and personally invested in the writing process. It’s a win-win for you and them!

Children's Books- Summer Learning LossGrab a book

Just about any will do! Head over to your nearest library, or maybe there is a homemade ‘little library‘ sitting on a corner in your neighborhood. Reading is one of the main subjects that summer learning loss is affected by. There are many reading lists out there:

Try this reading list from the Seattle Public Library for ages 3-5.

Or try this summer reading list from the Spokane Public Library (there is even one for adults too!).

Is your teen college bound? Here are NPR’s summer reading list suggestions.

No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars- Summer Learning Loss BlogCook with your kids

Speaking of fractions, what better way to get some hands on learning than to cook a meal with the kids. Cooking combines math and chemistry to create something special, and getting the kids involved can be a fun learning opportunity. Cooking can also give kids knowledge about healthy nutrition, and reading a recipe can help them work on their reading comprehension skills. PBS Parents offers some tips for getting your kids to join you in the kitchen, as well as recipes that kids are sure to love. We recommend checking out these No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares. Yum!

While you’re at it, why don’t you see if it’s possible to cook a s’more without fire or electricity?

duolingo homepage - summer learning lossDuolingo

Parlez-vous Français? Need to brush up on your German verb conjugations? Summer learning loss can affect students trying to learn a language if they don’t receive consistent practice. Duolingo is a comprehensive, free resource to help your student stay sharp in a variety of languages. They offer lessons in over 20 different languages, including Irish, Norwegian, and Swahili just to name a few. They have iOS and Android apps, so your kids can practice on the go. For the teachers out there, they also have classroom resources too.

 

HTML CodingCode Academy

Is your student interested in learning how to build websites, web applications, or ready to dive into more complex topics like database management? Code Academy is a great resource to learn responsive web design, HTML and CSS, or even Ruby on Rails. This free resource can help keep your kids and teens engaged in coding all summer long. All languages take consistent practice, including coding languages, and resources like Code Academy or the aforementioned Khan Academy can help prevent summer learning loss for students studying coding and computer programming.

Now get out there and learn!

There are opportunities for educational moments every day, and the internet is full of ideas a resources to help you along the way. Get the whole family involved in these fun math activities, enjoy a free children’s ebook, or make your own postcards to send to love ones. Fostering a spirit of discovery in your child’s life will help them continue to learn, grow, and be better students. Summer learning loss be banished! If you have any other ideas, or if you try out any of our suggestions, please tell us about it in the comments below. Happy summer!

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Schools, Achievement, and Inequality: A Seasonal Perspective

Posted in: Closing the Gaps

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Sixty-four percent.

By Emma Margraf

Sixty-four percent of foster kids in Washington state do not graduate from high school.It was the day that Jane was brought into the principal’s office to be scared by a police officer for threatening other kids that sent me over the edge. She was in the eighth grade, being bullied, and in a downward spiral of discipline without direction or objective. I walked into the principal’s office and told him if he ever did anything like that again without calling me first I was going to sue everyone in the district. “There is a long line of people who’ve let this kid down,” I said, “and you are one of them.”

As I walked out of the school, I realized I had to be honest with myself—the status quo was never going to work. Cut to five years later and Jane and I have pretty much worked it out, with the help of friends. Quite a bit has happened that you can read about here and here. Jane’s nearing the end of her high school career and the girl who no one wanted to let out of the resource room has tested into college-level English, gotten her driver’s license, and learned to make friends and plan for her future.

According to OSPI, sixty-four percent of foster kids in Washington state do not graduate from high school.

Sixty-four percent.

They graduate at a lower rate than any other category of students—homeless kids, kids who speak limited English, children of immigrants—they all graduate at a higher rate. It’s easy to see how Jane could have been one of those statistics—some kids and parents just don’t have the fight in them to succeed. (more…)

Posted in: Advocacy and Activism

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Activist of the Month: Ashley Guerra

At the League of Education Voters (LEV), we recognize all of the hard work that you do toward improving public education across Washington state. We are pleased to announce our Activist of the Month for July: Ashley Guerra. Read more about her experience leveraging technology to improve parental involvement in education.

The Guerra family at the June 6 State Board of Education forum. From left: From left to right, Ashley, her younger brother Julito, her mom Yelenys, and her dad Julio.

The Guerra family at the June 6 State Board of Education forum. From left: From left to right, Ashley, her younger brother Julito, her mom Yelenys, and her dad Julio.

Ashley Guerra just finished her first year of high school, so it might surprise you to hear that we chose her as our Activist of the Month for July. But it won’t surprise you for very long.

Ashley recently testified at the State Board of Education’s forum on the updated high school diploma for Washington. Her focus was parent engagement.

Her goal to increase parent engagement began as a school project at Kent-Meridian High School, which has the lowest graduation rate in Kent. Ashley and her peers decided to try to find a way to improve Kent-Meridian’s graduation rate.

After researching strategies that have been shown to improve the graduation rate, Ashley and her project group members decided to focus on parent engagement. (more…)

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Making the sky the limit

Making the sky the limit. (View from Spokane.)Rogers High School in northeast Spokane had a graduation rate of 50 percent in 2010. This year, the graduate rate was 85 percent, an increase of 35 percent in four years.

What changed between 2010 and 2014? Not the student body. Seventy-five percent of students at the high school are eligible for free and reduced lunch (FRL). What DID change is how students prepare for high school and life after high school.

Rogers High School is in its sixth year of a Navigation 101 grant from College Spark Washington, and they have also implemented the AVID program in their school. Both Navigation 101 and AVID are programs designed to prepare students for college or career.

One aspect of both of those programs is the High School and Beyond Plan, used to help students chart a path through high school to achieve their post-high school career goals. The High School and Beyond Plan is also one part of the newly updated high school diploma for Washington, which was passed during the 2014 legislative session. The League of Education Voters is working with communities across the state to ensure that the implementation of the new diploma is as effective as possible.

So how did Rogers High School implement the High School and Beyond Plan successfully? (more…)

Posted in: Closing the Gaps

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A definition of basic education worth fighting for

Chris Korsmo, CEO, League of Education VotersChris Korsmo, CEO of the League of Education Voters, submitted an op-ed to The Seattle Times‘ Education Lab yesterday. It was published in The Seattle Times print edition on June 20.

In her column, Chris argues that the definition of “basic education” in Washington is too narrow—it does not include early learning or higher education. Read below for an excerpt, or read the entire column online.

At the League of Education Voters, we support an ample, equitable, stable education funding plan. While we supported the re-definition of “basic education” developed in 2009 (it includes smaller class size, full-day kindergarten, transportation, materials and supplies) upon which McCleary is based, we advocated that the definition should also include early learning and higher education.

During the past two years, we have grown increasingly uncomfortable with the current definition of basic education. It is neither ample nor equitable. And thanks to our over-reliance on local levies, it certainly isn’t stable.

We need a definition of basic education that puts students and their learning at the center.

Read the entire op-ed on The Seattle Times website.

Posted in: Early Learning

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Activist(s) of the Month: Sarah Butcher, Jennifer Karls, Beth Sigall

At the League of Education Voters (LEV), we recognize all of the hard work that you do toward improving public education across Washington state. We are pleased to announce our Activists of the Month for April: Sarah Butcher, Jennifer Karls, and Beth Sigall. Read more about their experiences as strong advocates for special education.

Sarah Butcher, Jennifer Karls, and Beth Sigall are strong advocates for public education in Washington state. Sarah and Jennifer formed the Bellevue Special Needs PTA in 2012, where Jennifer serves as President and Sarah as co-Vice President. Beth serves as the Vice President of Advocacy for the Lake Washington PTSA Council. (more…)

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Transforming School Discipline: The Next Step

Transforming School Discipline: The Next Step [image of children running]During the 2013 legislative session, many of you helped us pass a law (SB 5946) that makes school discipline data public and limits the number of days that students can be removed from class.

That was the first step in transforming school discipline policies. Now it’s time to take another.

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is inviting public comment on its implementation of the new law.

There are a few ways you can get involved. (more…)

Posted in: Advocacy and Activism

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The 2014 Legislative Session

The 2014 legislative session may have been short, but there were significant policy accomplishments in improving public education in Washington state. These accomplishments expand access to financial aid for higher education for all Washington students, pave the way for all students to graduate from high school ready for college or career, and make steps toward reducing the opportunity and achievement gaps. (more…)

Posted in: Legislative session

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A multifaceted approach yields a strong step forward in closing the opportunity and achievement gaps

By Beth Richer, League of Education Voters Government Relations

Governor Jay Inslee signs the Dream Act (Real Hope Act). Photo by the Seattle PI. Governor Jay Inslee signs the Dream Act (Real Hope Act). Photo by the Seattle PI.

Governor Jay Inslee signs the Dream Act (Real Hope Act). Photo by the Seattle PI.

Within any given legislative session there are victories, defeats, and measures left in a state of limbo. The 2014 session was no different. But amidst those victories, defeats, and states of limbo, there was an underlying theme for much of the education legislation related to the opportunity gap. Legislators, advocacy organizations, teachers, parents, students, and business leaders alike all said loud and clear: “We must take action to close the gaps and address our most underserved students.” (more…)

Posted in: Legislative session

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