Recap: Washington state Principals on Education in the Time of COVID

By Lizzeth Mancilla
Engagement and Policy Intern

Students at Summit Atlas Public School

In this webinar, we partnered with the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP) to assemble a panel of principals from across Washington state to discuss how the 2020-21 school year is going, how they would reimagine education based on what they have learned from this unprecedented school year, and how principals can be better supported at the state and district levels. They also answered your questions. 

Panelists included:

  • Jason Smith, Rogers High School, Puyallup School District
  • Tricia Kannberg, Regal Elementary School, Spokane Public Schools
  • Carlos Gonzalez, McFarland Middle School, Othello School District
  • Nathan Plummer, Sultan Middle School, Sultan School District
  • Cindy Cromwell, Kelso Virtual Academy, Kelso School District
  • John Belcher, Mount Si High School, Snoqualmie School District
  • Justin Hendrickson, South Shore PreK-8, Seattle Public Schools

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Our State of Education: Principal Survey

By Angela Parker, League of Education Voters Policy Analyst

Principals are some of the busiest people in a school building. Rarely out of range of their walkie talkies, principals take responsibility for in-the-minute decisions about crises both large and small. At the same time, they must also craft long term strategic plans in the context of a rapidly changing school ecosystem. As principals often serve as one of the key lynchpins of policy implementation, we knew we needed to get a better sense of how they understand the current and emergent needs within Washington’s K-12 system.

We surveyed principals in Washington state to better understand what new and emerging issues their schools and communities are facing. In December, we sent a survey request to 2,034 principals in Washington; 180 returned our survey, giving these results a 95% confidence level with a 7% margin of error. Although elementary principals are slightly underrepresented in our survey, the overall proportions are not widely divergent from statewide proportions. Our survey also over represents smaller schools, those with 100 to 499 students, and larger districts, but does represent strong geographic diversity.

Aside from demographic details, our survey was limited to three main questions:

  1. How urgent are issues such as achievement/opportunity gaps, student supports, teacher supply, college readiness, etc. in your school?
  2. What new or different educational issues is your school experiencing?
  3. What should we be working on in the next legislative session?

This post summarizes our broad findings from the survey, and we commit to working on these issues with principals and educators across Washington.

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