• AWSP News for January 26, 2020

    by Xenia Doualle | Jan 26, 2020



    In this episode of AWSP News, we discuss:

    • our January Advocacy Weekend,
    • our annual Day on the Hill,
    • the changes to our governance structure,
    • AWSP’s third annual Future School Leaders Day,
    • a Networked Community Improvement grant,
    • the 2020 MTSS Fest in Seattle,
    • our “A Matter of Principals” podcast,
    • our survey about the pay gap and your workload,
    • a Seattle Times report on mental health and schools,
    • and our Calm Room video.

    Prefer to read the news? Check out the script.

  • 5 Things You Should Know About AWSP - Winter 2020 Edition

    by David Morrill | Jan 25, 2020

    Hi there. It’s your friendly state principals association reaching out to say hello. Be honest…how many of you just opened this blog post by accident? You might have meant to click on an update about Harry and Meghan and landed here instead. Either way, welcome…we’re glad you’re here. 

    A lot of you know us well already, but some of you are still getting to know us, and for those of you in that camp, you might not even know why you’re getting emails from AWSP*. Either way, let's all start here and check out this list of five things you need to know about AWSP.

    1. We’ve Got Goals

    We’ve got two massive goals in our strategic plan: one focused on equity and one focused on principal sustainability. Basically, we want better outcomes for all kids, we want to serve all our members regardless of location/PD budget/etc, we want to make your jobs more manageable and enjoyable, and we want you to stay at your school longer (because it’s better for kids). Learn more.

     


    2. We Believe In Self-Care & Growth Mindset

    If we’re honest, the past few years have been challenging. We’re in the middle of some pretty massive transitions. We actually have a third goal on our strategic plan, and that’s our own organizational health. We tell you to take care of yourself so you can do your best work taking care of and leading others. For us, it’s about practicing what we preach. We’re improving a ton of technological systems, for our benefit and yours. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and that’s exciting.

     


    3. Ch-ch-ch-changes

    We’re changing our governance structure and how we get representation on our board, grade level leadership committees, and advisory councils. By moving to more regional representation across the state and organizing by ESD, we think we can get more voices involved, make it easier to have more local relationships with AWSP representatives, and increase our members’ connections with each other. Learn more.

     


    4. We’re Here to Support You

    We know you’re busy, but that’s exactly why we’re here for you. We have many ways to help support you, and we want ALL of you to take advantage of your member benefits! Our team is ready and waiting. In short, we’ve got you…and you’ve got us.

     


    5. Let Us Count the Ways

    How do we support you? Let us count the ways. We offer Networked Improvement Community (NIC) Grants to support you in tackling a problem of practice with your peers. You might also like our A Matter of Principals podcast. Our YouTube channel can help you through your day with Fact or Fiction videos, AWSP News, great stories highlighting cool programs, and interviews with educational leaders. We also offer you an award-winning Washington Principal magazine, bargaining and contract support, evaluation resources, and more. Working through some relational challenges with a supervisor or colleague? Let us help.

     


    There are tons of ways to reach out, to participate, and to take advantage of your membership. If you don’t know where to get started, just send us an email or give us a call (800–562–6100). If you don’t know us by now, it’s never too late to start, whether you’re a new kid on the street or you’ve been around the block a few times.

    *It’s because, for the vast majority of you, someone really nice is paying your membership dues, likely your district.

  • Retirement & Health Benefit Report for January 24, 2020

    by Xenia Doualle | Jan 24, 2020

    retirement-health_072315

    AND THE BAND PLAYS ON…

    Hearings and any resulting actions moving bills out of committees have begun as both houses move toward the first cut-off date.

    This is only a summary of bills that have had some degree of action to date or have been recently introduced. Last week’s report covered all the bills that been introduced to date.

    Retirement Related Proposals

    SB 6165 | Providing a benefit increase to certain retirees of the public employees’ retirement system plan 1 and the teachers’ retirement system plan 1. It would provide a one-time, 1.5% percent increase to the retirement benefits of retirees in the Public Employees’ Retirement System and the Teachers’ Retirement System Plans 1, up to a maximum of $22 per month.

    This bill was heard in the Senate Ways and Means Committee on 1/15. It was a courtesy hearing on the Governor’s budget proposal. Testimony acknowledged the Governor’s awareness of the need to address Plans 1 members, but the amount was too small to account for the inflation and loss of purchasing power that has occurred since their COLA was removed in 2011.

    The issue of a COLA adjustment for Plans 1 members is still alive. Members have stated their commitment to do something this session. The questions are what and how much?

    HB 1390/SB 5400 are the preferred alternatives. Either would provide a one-time 3 % percent increase to the retirement benefits of retirees in the Public Employees’ Retirement System and the Teachers’ Retirement System Plans 1, up to a maximum of $62.50.

    This issue will remain alive until the very end of Session. School Employee Benefit Board (SEEB) and Other Health Related Proposals.

    The Senate Ways and Means Committee held a public hearing (Jan. 23rd) on a number of SEBB related bills: SB 6479, SB 6189, SB 6290, SB 6296. They were all interrelated and testimony for one applied to the others as well. Representatives from WEA, PSE, WASA, numerous Superintendents and others spoke both ‘Pro’ and ‘Con’.

    It is important to note that this was the first time the members of the whole committee had heard any mention of the costs of SEBB to the districts. (Although a number of individual members mentioned hearing from their districts.) The committee’s previous SEBB briefing at the start of session was all about enrollment numbers. The testimony from the school superintendents was telling. They pointed out that these added benefit costs, just for substitutes and coaches, and then the required waiver payments meant fewer dollars for hiring instructional staff or purchasing instructional materials. These excess dollars came out cash reserves and levy monies.

    They all sought legislative action/relief. See testimony summaries below.

    HB 2458/ SB 6479 | Concerning optional benefits offered by school districts. This bill allows for districts to continue offering some benefits that are not in competition with those offered by SEBB. If SEBB is not providing the benefit, then a jurisdiction should be able to provide it. It was pointed out that these benefits are employee paid. Examples would include VEBA, cancer insurance, auto insurance, etc. WSSDA pointed out that the bill could be amended to allow districts to charge a small administrative fee, and add a caveat that there was no contractual obligation on the district’s part connected to the benefit.

    SSB 6189 | Clarifying eligibility for school employees’ benefits board coverage. A substitute bill was submitted earlier in the day that changed the original proposal. Here is a link to the changed bill report.

    Briefly summarized, the substitute bill calls for an OSPI/Health Care Authority study of the issue of districts’ uses and costs of substitutes and extracurricular staffing and include recommendations for funding. A preliminary report summarizing the 2018–19 and 2019–20 data is due to the fiscal committees of the Legislature by December 15, 2020. The final report that includes data from the 2020–21 school year and recommendations from the workgroup is due to the fiscal committees of the Legislature by December 15, 2021. WASA testified that the scheduled was too elongated, and that at a minimum deadlines should be moved up a year.

    Dual coverage would not be allowed in the future. Eligible retirees who are receiving Medicare benefits on the date that they return to work, are ineligible for benefits under the SEB Board. However, if these retired school employees would otherwise be eligible for SEB, the school district must provide the employee with a stipend in addition to all other regular compensation equal to the additional cost the employee would pay for premiums receiving insurance through PEBB.

    Testimony was appreciative that this issue was evolving. WASA appreciated the fact that the conversation continues, but still had concerns. Eatonville School District pays $150,000 extra to cover benefit costs just for subs. Toledo School District pays $35,000/month in excess costs ($427,000 year). Their costs went from $71,736/month to $107,350/month for benefits. West Valley School District pointed out that the benefit cost for 5 subs would cover the costs for hiring one teacher. Their costs were $400,000 This district’s 55 waivers, cost an additional $667,000. Reardon School District excess benefit costs were $29,000/month. Medical Lake School District had 48 waivers (20% of staff) costing $570,000/monthly. Lake Washington School District has 600 subs and there is a $3.7 million dollar gap between what the state pays and what the district pays. Plus, it was pointed out and suggested that the SEBB program, through what ever bill moves, allows districts to drop coverage for any employee who has not paid his/her premium share for 60 days. Furthermore, what about summers, when an employee is not paid. Is a district to become a collection agency?

    SEBB/HCA pointed out in testimony that the bill needs some refinement. It should be clear that retirees could choose coverage as proposed in the original bill and defer their PEBB enrollment until their SEBB coverage ended. This present process causes confusion. Also, there is no recognition in the bill that ESD’s and charter schools need are included in SEBB.

    SB 6290 | Concerning contributions to and eligibility for school employee benefit plans. Eliminates the requirements that school employers make contributions for employee health care when the employee has waived coverage. Makes substitute employees and coaches ineligible for benefits under the School Employees’ Benefits Board.

    The fiscal note is worth reading.

    The current rates for coverage are socialized state-wide and waivers are calculated into the rate structure. If you spread the rate over a smaller number, the costs would increase. If waivers were not paid, projected rates would increase around $152/month. (It was suggested in an earlier panel, that a fairer way in lieu of paying for those that waive would be to raise the rate for all.) There are currently 19,000+ waivers.

    Although WEA was opposed, it acknowledged that there is a need for proper funding. It was pointed out that if waivers were not paid by a district, those with low numbers of waivers would probably be paying the same. Those with high number of waivers would pay less and those with an average number would pay more.

    Reardon School District pointed out that a coach earning $5,000 could easily qualify for $12,000 in benefits. One district pointed out that they have directed their coaches to keep time sheets and not exceed 630 hours.

    SEBB/HCA expressed some frustration in that the issue of rates and waivers is very complex and not easily summed up in 2 minutes. But briefly stated; If ‘x’ plus ‘y’= $2 billion dollars (as an example), a change in ‘x’ (like waivers’) will means ‘y’ increases in order to still hit the $2 billion mark. Also, it was noted that waivers apply to medical, but many persons are still enrolled the vision, dental, life and long-term disability.

    As an aside, and in response to a question; there are 148,000 employees covered, 350,000 covered lives, and 290,000 on medical.

    SB 6296 | Concerning health care benefits for public school employees. Beginning September 1, 2020, a teacher employee in a job sharing position who is anticipated to work at least six hundred thirty hours is benefits eligible and will receive a prorated portion of the full-time employer contribution that is consistent with the district’s job sharing plan under RCW 28A.405.070 35.

    WEA was opposed to this change as it opens the door to prorating other positions. It was also pointed out that other district jobs that met the 630-hour threshold would receive full benefits, so why single out teachers?

    Other bills:

    SB 6176 : Incorporating the costs of employee health benefits into school district contracts for pupil transportation. A school district may only enter into a pupil transportation services contract with a nongovernmental entity that provides the following to its employees:

    • (a) An employer health benefits contribution equal to the monthly school employer funding rate for the state health benefits program for school employees, less the retiree remittance for the public employees’ benefits board; and
    • (b) An amount equivalent to the plans 2 and 3 normal cost employer contribution rate of the school employees’ retirement system, multiplied by the estimated salaries of the employees of the private nongovernmental entity.

    This bill is scheduled for a public hearing on 1/24 before the Senate Education Committee. WASA will be testifying “Con”. This bill is problematic for a number of reasons; added cost to districts for example. Furthermore, once this door is open, what about contracted food service workers?

    Other Bills that may have fiscal/HR impacts for districts

    HB 2171 | Concerning vested vacation or paid time off upon an employee’s termination. If an employer has an established policy, practice, or agreement to provide paid vacation or paid time off, and an employee is terminated from employment by death, reduction in force, resignation, dismissal, or retirement, any of the employee’s unused vested vacation time or paid time off must be paid to the employee as wages at the employee’s final rate in accordance with the employment policy, practice, or agreement with respect to eligibility and vesting requirements.

    No action was taken in Executive Session on Jan 23rd.

    HB 2304 | Concerning shared leave and industrial insurance benefits. The requirement that an employee diligently pursue and be found ineligible for industrial insurance wage replacement benefits is removed. An employee receiving wage replacement benefits may not receive more than their base salary as a result of receiving shared leave. This bill was passed out of committee on January 16th and has been scheduled for a public hearing before the House Appropriations Committee on 1/27.

    HB 2614/ SB 6349 | Concerning paid family and medical leave. This bill is agency request legislation clearing up some areas with the family and medical leave act, laying out penalty process steps and clarifying certain issues.

    HB 2614 passed out of committee on 1/23.

    HB 2740 | Concerning the employment of individuals who lawfully consume marijuana. This may nor may not affect school districts since all are posted “Drug Free Zones”, but it may be worth a look.

    Check out the bill report. This bill will have a public hearing on 1/28 and is scheduled for Executive Action on 1/30.

    SB 6242 | Adjusting school directors’ compensation. For a district with a total student enrollment of twenty thousand or more students, the daily amount of the compensation must be established by the board, but the annual compensation may not exceed the annual salary for a legislator under RCW 43.03.013.

    This bill is scheduled for a public hearing on 1/24 before the Senate Education Committee.

    SB 6368/ HB 2685 | Concerning sick leave for K–12 employees. Leave provided in this proviso not taken shall accumulate from year to year. Such accumulated time may be taken at any time during the school year may be used for the purpose of payments for unused sick leave in accordance with RCW 28A.400.210.

    SB 6368 has been scheduled for a public hearing before the Senate Education Committee on 1/29.

    Fred Yancey/ Mike Moran
    The Nexus Group

  • Retirement & Health Benefit Report for January 17, 2020

    by Xenia Doualle | Jan 17, 2020

    retirement-health_072315

    “Begin at the beginning, and go on till you come to the end; then stop.” ~ Lewis Carroll

    In the beginning, there were close to 300 bills pre-filed even before the Legislature convened. And then, once started, new bills continue to be introduced. Included among those are a number of bills affecting pensions, health, and job benefits.

    Hearings and any resulting action moving bills out of committees have begun as both houses move toward the first cut-off date.

    This is a brief summary of bills of interest including bills that were introduced but may have no action last session. These bills could still be brought forward.

    Retirement Related Proposals

    SB 6165/ HB 2325 | Provides a one-time, 1.5 percent increase to the retirement benefits of retirees in the Public Employees’ Retirement System and the Teachers’ Retirement System Plans 1, up to a maximum of $22 per month. This bill was the Governor’s request and had a hearing in the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Jan. 15th. Cities and Counties opposed the bill given the cost. Other groups/associations testified that this was not enough to offset the losses Plan 1 retirees have had since the COLA was removed in 2010. They instead asked the committee to support SB 5400 which the Select Committee on Pension Policy again approved and forwarded to the Legislature for action.

    SB 5400/ HB 1390 | Provides a 3% cost of living adjustment (COLA) to TRS1 and PERS1 members up to maximum of $62.50 per month for the first $25,000 of pension. These bills are Select Committee for Pension Policy (SCPP) agency request legislation.

    SB 5400 is in Ways and Means awaiting scheduling. HB 1390 is in House Rules awaiting scheduling.

    HB 1132/ SB 5178 | Revises provisions of the teachers’ retirement system and the school employees’ retirement system plans 2 and 3 regarding early retirement options for members of those plans and allows early retirement with no reduction at age 60. Neither bill had a hearing last session but are still before their respective fiscal committees.

    SB 5414/ HB 1409 | Changes the amount of annual leave that may be accumulated by a part-time employee who is under contract with a school district. Currently, upon retirement, an individual can cash in his/her accumulated sick leave at a 1:4 ratio using a maximum of 180 days. This change would increase the maximum to 260 days reflecting the longer contract years many school employees, especially administrators work. Neither bill had a hearing last session but are still available for action.

    School Employee Benefit Board (SEEB) and Other Health Related Proposals

    Overview: The SEEB program has been launched. Full data has yet to be furnished on the program, but a few points are known particularly after talking with fiscal staff:

    1. The Governor’s budget projected a $37.2 million dollar savings from earlier projected expenditures in SEBB. It is anticipated that the savings will be even greater once all enrollment and follow-up issues are completed. In fact, it was suggested savings may be in excess of $400 million. (Earlier estimates had put the projected cost of SEBB at $898 million.)
    2. Some of the reasons for the savings are that the Health Care Authority (HCA) assumed 7% of potential enrollees would waive coverage. Close to 14% to date have waived. These persons statewide likely have spouses with existing coverage already, or are on Medicaid, or Tricare. In short, fewer persons (40,000) enrolled in medical than projected. Also, it appears fewer dependents have been enrolled. More data to follow.

    The staff member made the statement that the overall cost for this program for many districts and the state will be much less expensive that what districts and the state have paid in the past.

    Regarding waivers: The HCA has repeatedly stated that even though an individual may waive coverage, a district must still pay for their insurances. The staffer made the point, that this was misleading because waiving coverage affects the pool by making the premium costs smaller, so the net effect is cheaper costs to the district on a statewide basis.

    HB 2458/ SB 6479 | Concerning optional benefits offered by school districts. This bill allows for districts to continue offering some benefits that are not in conflict with those offered by SEBB. Examples would include VEBA, auto insurance, etc. The bill text points out some others. An interesting section of the bill does however, state, “Each full-time employee, regardless of the number of dependents receiving basic coverage, receives the same additional employer contribution for other coverage or optional benefits…” (This author’s experience has been that administrators often got extra benefits with district contributions than other employees. This apparently can no longer occur.)

    HB 2458 is scheduled for a public hearing on January 20th.

    SB 6176 | Incorporating the costs of employee health benefits into school district contracts for pupil transportation. A school district may only enter into a pupil transportation services contract with a nongovernmental entity that provides the following to its employees: (a) An employer health benefits contribution equal to the monthly school employer funding rate for the state health benefits program for school employees, less the retiree remittance for the public employees’ benefits board; and (b) An amount equivalent to the plans 2 and 3 normal cost employer contribution rate of the school employees’ retirement system, multiplied by the estimated salaries of the employees of the private nongovernmental entity. This bill is scheduled for a public hearing on 1/24 before the Senate Education Committee.

    This bill is problematic for a number of reasons; added cost to districts for example. Furthermore, once this door is open, what about contracted food service workers? Others?

    SB 6189 | Clarifying eligibility for school employees’ benefits board coverage. Retirees receiving insurance through PEBB, substitutes, and employees who are covered as a dependent by someone already receiving PEBB or SEBB insurance are not eligible for SEBB coverage. However, it is important to note that someone receiving Medicare can not be denied such coverage. This bill has not been scheduled for a hearing as of yet.

    SB 6290 | Concerning contributions to and eligibility for school employee benefit plans. For school employee benefits beginning July 1, 2021, for the 2021–22 school year, contributions to the authority are not required for individuals (eligible for benefits under RCW32 41.05.740(6)(e)) who waive their coverage. Substitute employees and coaches are not eligible for benefits beginning with the 2021–22 school year through the school employees’ benefits board. A public hearing is scheduled before the Senate Ways and Means Committee on 1/23.

    SB 6296 | Concerning health care benefits for public school employees. Beginning September 1, 2020, an employee in a job sharing position who is anticipated to work at least six hundred thirty hours is benefits eligible and will receive a prorated portion of the full-time employer contribution that is consistent with the district’s job sharing plan under RCW 28A.405.070 35. A public hearing is scheduled before the Senate Ways and Means Committee on 1/23.

    Other Bills that may have fiscal/HR impacts for districts

    HB 2171 | Concerning vested vacation or paid time off upon an employee’s termination. If an employer has an established policy, practice, or agreement to provide paid vacation or paid time off, and an employee is terminated from employment by death, reduction in force, resignation, dismissal, or retirement, any of the employee’s unused vested vacation time or paid time off must be paid to the employee as wages at the employee’s final rate in accordance with the employment policy, practice, or agreement with respect to eligibility and vesting requirements.

    This bill was heard on Jan 20th and is scheduled for Executive Action on Jan. 20th.

    HB 2304 | Concerning shared leave and industrial insurance benefits. The requirement that an employee diligently pursue and be found ineligible for industrial insurance wage replacement benefits is removed. An employee receiving wage replacement benefits may not receive more than their base salary as a result of receiving shared leave.

    This bill was passed out of committee on January 16th.

    HB 2614/ SB 6349 | Concerning paid family and medical leave. This bill is agency request legislation clearing up some areas with the family and medical leave act, laying out penalty process steps and clarifying certain issues.

    Both bills are scheduled for public hearings on 1/20 before their respective labor committees. HB 2614 is scheduled for Executive Session on 1/23.

    SB 5473/ HB 1445 | Making unemployment benefits accessible to persons with family responsibilities and other availability issues and making clarifying changes. Briefly, the term ‘good cause’ is modified to include that the separation from work was necessary because care for a child or vulnerable adult in the claimant’s care is inaccessible. Therefore, an individual may be entitled to unemployment benefits.

    SB 5743 had a public hearing on 1/16.

    SB 6242 | Adjusting school directors’ compensation. For a district with a total student enrollment of twenty thousand or more students, the daily amount of the compensation must be established by the board, but the annual compensation may not exceed the annual salary for a legislator under RCW 43.03.013.

    This bill is scheduled for a public hearing on 1/24 before the Senate Education Committee.

    SB 6368/ HB 2685 | Concerning sick leave for K–12 employees. Leave provided in this proviso not taken shall accumulate from year to year. Such accumulated time may be taken at any time during the school year may be used for the purpose of payments for unused sick leave in accordance with RCW 28A.400.210.

    No hearings have been scheduled to date.

    And finally, SB 6320 | Concerning the ability of a minor to operate a lemonade business on an occasional basis. This will not subject you to charges of child slavery when parking your child on the curb during vacations as a fundraiser.

    Fred Yancey/ Mike Moran
    The Nexus Group

  • Ridgeview Elementary's Calm Room

    by Xenia Doualle | Jan 16, 2020




    As part of a PBIS initiative, Ridgeview Elementary in the Yakima School District created a space called the "Calm Room" to help students with social-emotional learning. The Calm Room is a place where students and staff members can come and relax when needed.
    Watch Ridgeview's efforts to involve the whole community in this effort.
  • AWSP News for January 12, 2020

    by Xenia Doualle | Jan 12, 2020


    In this first episode of AWSP News for 2020, we discuss:

    • another great monthly school safety newsletter,
    • AWSP’s third annual Future School Leaders Day,
    • a Capturing Kids’ Hearts workshop,
    • the AWSP Advocacy Advisory Council,
    • a message from Roz Thompson,
    • a call for presenters at this May’s Annual Equity Conference,
    • some new Fact or Fiction videos for you about the new Graduation Pathways,
    • the Xicanx Institute for Teaching and Organizing (XITO) at the Cispus Learning Center,
    • an opportunity to serve a two-year term on the AWSL Student Voice & Advocacy Board, and
    • a reminder about the powerful and impactful role you have as a school leader.

    Prefer to read the news? Check out our script.

  • Resources for Combatting Domestic Violence

    by David Morrill | Jan 10, 2020

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    Over Christmas break, the Bellingham School District lost Sunnyland Elementary School principal Lynn Heimsoth and her therapy dog to a senseless and tragic act of domestic violence. Our hearts are with the entire community. The response team in Bellingham has done an amazing job of supporting their schools and community through tough times. We can't do much, but we can offer some resources to support school leaders across the state.

    If you're a principal or assistant principal, you almost definitely have some staff members who at one point or another, have encountered domestic violence. According to data from the US Center for Disease Control, one in four women (and one in 10 men) have been victims of domestic violence. One in three teens have experienced dating violence. Help and resources are out there. Check out this great list of resources provided by the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and while you're at it, make sure you know how to find your local support center. 


    (Back to top)


    Resources

  • OSPI School Safety Tips for January

    by Xenia Doualle | Jan 09, 2020



    Happy New Year!  Welcome back!

    There has been a lot of conversation about drills lately – the whats, the whys, the hows and the whens. Old requirements; new requirements. Muscle memory, option-based responses, and more.

    So what do we need to know and know how to do? What else should be consider when planning our drills?

    Schools are required to have at least one drill per month, including summer sessions, when students are present. Our WA required drills practice four basic functional threat or hazard responses: earthquake response, evacuation, lockdown, and shelter-in-place. For schools in mapped tsunami or lahar zones, a pedestrian evacuation drill is also required.  (More on that requirement at a later time.) Finally, at least one drill per year must incorporate the school mapping system. Schools may choose to practice one or more functional drills multiple times during the course of a year, based on the specific threats and hazards which the school faces.

    The drills are intended to practice a single emergency response. Each drill focuses on a single function in order to strengthen skills, build muscle memory, and identify areas of improvement. It is important to note, though, that there are times when drilled functions may be sequential. A drop-cover-hold earthquake drill followed by an evacuation drill is one example of this.

    Drills are frequently scheduled and announced: “We will have an evacuation drill on Wednesday at 10:25.” The question has been raised as whether this is really a useful drill. The answer, “Yes, it is.” Remember muscle memory. Such an announcement will prepare staff and students to practice what they need to do within the context of an evacuation. Less specific drill times can also be useful: “We will have an evacuation drill on Wednesday.” Such a plan may test that muscle memory.

    All of which leads into the conversation around staff and student preparation. Take time to talk with your staff about the practice of drilling. Work through scenarios and mini-table top exercises. Consider option-based responses – “what-if” situations. Develop parallel, age-appropriate lessons for classroom use prior to your actual drills. Include your school’s rules to be followed during a drill. Remember that the drills, themselves, are ultimately meant to teach students and staff to take appropriate action based on specific situations. Prior conversations will also help reduce levels of anxiety during various drills for both staff and for students.

    Finally, remember to involve your local first responders and families in your drill preparations. Depending on the nature and timing of a particular drill, you may want or need to invite them to participate along with your staff and students.

    Plan before your drill. Make it a New Year’s resolution!

    Additional Resources on Drills and Drilling:

  • AWSP TV - Ep. 20 - Choose 180 with Sean Goode

    by Xenia Doualle | Jan 06, 2020
  • AWSP TV - Ep. 18 - Justyn Poulos

    by Xenia Doualle | Dec 28, 2019

    Kurt Hatch sits down with OSPI Director of MTSS Justyn Poulos to discuss MTSS.
  • Fact or Fiction? Classroom Exclusions #4

    by Xenia Doualle | Dec 28, 2019

     

    Fact or Fiction?

    A student is directed to leave the classroom in order to have a conversation with the teacher in the hallway.  This action needs to be documented as a Classroom Exclusion.

    It Depends.

    If the student remains under the teacher’s supervision while in the hallway for a brief period of time and the purpose of the conversation is to support the student in meeting behavioral expectations, the teacher’s action would constitute “other forms of discipline” and would not be a Classroom Exclusion. 

    Similarly, if the teacher calls for support so a different adult can work with the student for a brief period of time - for purposes of re-teaching or reviewing classroom expectations - that action would not constitute a Classroom Exclusion.

    However, if a teacher directs the student to go into the hallway and leaves the student there unsupervised—or, for example, with a para-professional for longer than a brief duration of time—those actions would constitute a classroom exclusion. 



    Check out the other Classroom Exclusion Fact or Fiction videos on our Youtube Channel!

    “School Suspensions are an Adult Behavior”

    Supporting and Responding to Behavior: Evidence-Based Classroom Strategies for Teachers

    What is PBIS?

    Tier I

    Understanding Implicit Bias


  • AWSP News for December 22, 2019

    by Xenia Doualle | Dec 22, 2019

     

    In this final episode of AWSP News for 2019, we discuss:

    • our annual principal workload and compensation survey,
    • our 2020 Legislative Platform,
    • a Capturing Kids’ Hearts workshop,
    • our 3rd annual Future School Leaders Day,
    • next year’s Annual Equity Conference,
    • the 2020 AWSP/WASA Summer Conference,
    • Richard Sherman,
    • new faces at AWSP,
    • the 2020 Census,
    • our AWSL Student Voice and Advocacy Board, and
    • some professional advice for you during your Winter Break.

    Prefer to read the News? Check out the script.

  • Alfonso Lopez's Five Tips for Embracing Diversity

    by Xenia Doualle | Dec 21, 2019

    2019 Elementary Principal of the Year Alfonso Lopez shares five tips for embracing diversity in your school.
  • Fact or Fiction? Classroom Exclusions #3

    by Xenia Doualle | Dec 21, 2019

     

    Fact or Fiction?

    A “Brief Duration” is defined by law as 5 minutes or less.

    Fiction.

    State regulations actually do not define “brief duration”.  So, there is no set amount of time that defines a Classroom Exclusion. 

    That said...the goal is to keep students in class as much as possible and the intent of the new discipline law is to avoid students being punished by having them out of class or school for extended periods of time.

    Evidence-based behavioral interventions and classroom strategies that include brief durations of time away from instruction typically recommend a duration not to exceed five minutes. 

    For example, Breaks are Better—a tier 2 intervention intended for students who engage in task-avoidance behaviors—provides students explicit opportunities to request breaks from academic activities for approximately 2 to 5 minutes. 

    The key questions in all of this is…”What we are having students do while they are out of class? And how can we develop non-punitive classroom instructional systems for behavior modification that support students as they work to increase behaviors that promote learning?


    Check out the other Classroom Exclusion Fact or Fiction videos on our Youtube Channel!

    “School Suspensions are an Adult Behavior”

    Supporting and Responding to Behavior: Evidence-Based Classroom Strategies for Teachers

    What is PBIS?

    Tier I

    Understanding Implicit Bias


  • AWSP TV - Ep. 17 - MTSS with Susan Barrett

    by Xenia Doualle | Dec 21, 2019

    Kurt Hatch sits down with Director of the Mid-Atlantic PBIS Network Susan Barrett to talk about Multi-tiered Systems of Support.
  • Winter Closure/ Happy Holidays from AWSP

    by Xenia Doualle | Dec 19, 2019

    Happy Holidays from AWSP

     

    As you head into the holiday break and some well deserved quiet time with your families, we will be doing the same.

    Please note that the AWSP office will be closed Monday, December 23, 2019 until Monday, January 6, 2020. If you encounter a professional emergency at this time, you can call us at (360) 464-2968.

     



    On behalf of all of us here at AWSP and the students and principals in our state, we want to wish you all a happy holiday season, well-deserved winter break and a chance to rest, relax and recharge for the 2020 year.

    We are all in this business together. The business of shaping the future by impacting the kids in our system. Strong partnerships, collaboration and networking is the only way to put hope in the center of our educational system. 

    Thank you for the continued “forever impact” you are having on each and every child in our great state and beyond. Together, we are making a difference.

    Again, we wish you a restful, family-filled holiday season. See you in 2020!



  • 'Twas The Night Before Winter Break

    by David Morrill | Dec 19, 2019

    winter break image


    Please enjoy this clever bit of poetry, courtesy of Omak High School Principal David Kirk.



    ‘Twas the week before break and all through the school

    The students were studying for exams that aren’t cool.

    The students’ work was hung on walls with care,

    With hopes that high scores would soon appear there.

     

    Technology is working, and the staff is in step

    As the administration is quickly filling out TPEP.

    The end of first semester is coming near

    As we only have three weeks after the New Year.

     

    I walk through classrooms, seeing great education being taught

    Knowing that my teachers always give all they’ve got.

    As we stress over data and the achievement gap

    It is clear that there is space in the brains left to tap.

     

    Then came an OSPI bulletin that arose such a clatter

    And I rushed to the website to see what’s the matter?

    What a great surprise to a new assessment name

    As my students are struggling to hit the ‘moving target’ game

     

    With education changing, and Collections of Evidence not coming back

    The confusion with graduation, is rising high in my stack.

    With no AYP and no support team to blame

    OSPI called all the assessments out by name:

     

    On WASL – Wait that’s SBAC, on Finals – that was EOC

    Testing MAPS and DIBELS, no one is free

    Smarter Balance confusion is on the rise

    With stress and frustration in students’ eyes.

     

    As this poem is meant to add joy and smile

    Knowing that education always goes the extra mile

    So many assessments for goodness sake

    Please hug a teacher and have a safe break.

  • Resources for Maximizing Your School Counselor's Role

    by Caroline Brumfield | Dec 19, 2019

    counselor

    We recently met with representatives from the Washington School Counselor Association (WSCA) and would like to share some information and resources with you for maximizing the role that school counselors play in your building.

    According to a 2008 report by the NASSP, the College Board, and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), when principals and school counselors work together effectively, they can have a huge impact on student achievement.

    Check out these resources to learn more:

    "Finding a Way" tells the stories of principals and school counselors who have formed strong partnerships to overcome challenges and prepare students for college. This publication highlights the activities, skills and behaviors contributing to their success.

    "A Closer Look at the Principal-Counselor Relationship" reports on the results of a national survey of more than 2,300 school counselors and principals. Respondents shared their perceptions about the most important characteristics of a successful relationship and the most significant barriers they face.

  • AWSP TV - Ep. 16 - Cultural Competence with Ben Ibale

    by Xenia Doualle | Dec 17, 2019


    WEA's Human and Civil rights Coordinator Ben Ibale joins our executive director Dr. Scott Seaman to talk about cultural competence and the role of the principal.
  • October Principal Leadership Weekend Wrap-Up

    by David Morrill | Dec 16, 2019
    In late October, our Grade Level Committees and Advisory Council's met. Here's a summary of what we was talked about. 

    Grade Level Committee Updates

    Elementary

    The Elementary Grade Level Committee spent time as a committee in break out sessions, collecting good thoughts/ideas and answering questions in relationship to our AWSP governance reconfiguration, advocacy platform, self care & work-life balance, MTSS supports in place at the building level, and celebrations of what’s working in your school.

    Additionally, with new membership to our committee we spent some time completing a “Goose Chase” with the Goose Chase app to get to know our colleagues on the committee better and to have a little fun prior to heading to our dinner social. We encourage you to check out this fun app – it’s easy to do and a fun way to connect in a staff meeting and to laugh together as a team!

    Our second day, we focused our professional learning on using a “Fishbone Diagram” with any problem of practice your school might be facing. We highlighted the importance of “Inquiry vs. Advocacy”, the importance of suspending opinion to guide teams to solutions where they actually had control. We used this critical video to teach the concept to participants.

    Middle Level

    • WIAA Report – New leadership at WIAA. Challenges introducing 6th grade sports (Wrestling, Track, X-country) include space and referee availability.

    • NASSP Report, Region 7 convening report and advocacy – An emphasis on connecting with local legislators – inviting them to your school in order to help them understand how school works. Focusing on the positive and asking for support in order to increase opportunities for more students.

    • Discussion and idea sharing on the new discipline law.

    High School

    Our agenda was full of items relevant to our collective work.

    Special kudos to John Belcher for his expert facilitation skills and having us share some of our collective work through the use of Google Slides and Padlet. Modeling this activity for our group gave us all ideas we can take back and use with our staff.

    As you return to your work remember to take a moment and thank your Superintendent for allowing you to attend and be a representative of your region at the meeting. Feel free to pass a long any documents or information you heard/learned to the rest of your administrative team. Coupled with your own administrative team is the league that you represent. Be sure to update them and other individuals with the details of our work at your next meeting.

    Here are the items from our agenda:

    • ESD - AWSP Alignment Transition: As you report back to your region regarding the governance structure transition some key points are the following:
      • Coordination of stronger regional teams
      • ESD liaisons who will further the work of supporting school leaders across the region
      • Focused AWSP Executive Staff regional support
      • Increased student leadership connection
      • United principal voice from each region
      • Equal and increased representation across the state of Scott Seaman’s presentation to the whole group that shows the of the ESD’s.

    If you would like to review the notes we took during our table discussions, they can be accessed here.

    • EdCamp: This is always an enjoyable time of our work as we take the time to learn from each other. Topics for this meeting were: 9th grade failure rates, inclusion practices, creative discipline ideas, and increasing all student voice.
    • Advocacy Work: The amazing Roz Thompson joined our group and reviewed the upcoming Legislative session. She focused on a couple key bills (notifications and school safety) and walked us through HB 1599 and what the state board was going to rule on.
    • Met in regional ESD teams and adjourned.

    Thanks again for your work and most of all your time. John and I hope you found it valuable, informative, and most of all worthwhile. As always, should you have any questions, thoughts, comments, or things you need me to follow-up with, give me a call or shoot me an email.

    Our next meeting is January 25th and the 26th at the SouthCenter Double Tree. Until then, keep up the great work for kids!