• The September Super Seven – School Safety Starter Suggestions for 2019–2020

    by David Morrill | Aug 16, 2019



    The new school year begins, and planning to ensure that each school is the safest possible continues! Here are our September Super Seven School Safety Starter Suggestions to help kick of the new year.

    1. Comp School Safety Planning

    This is a good time to review your school comprehensive safety plan. Here are some starter suggestions:

    1. pull your safety team together,
    2. meet with your local first responders,
    3. check your school’s emergency supplies,
    4. update your mapping system, and
    5. review your building entry protocols before school starts.

    In the meantime, feel free to visit the School Safety Center website.

    School Safety Center


    2. ICS Requirement

    RCW 28A.320.125 requires building principals be ICS certified. You can do this yourself online. ICS 100, Introduction to the Incident Command System, introduces the Incident Command System (ICS) and provides the foundation for higher level ICS training.

    Get Certified


    3. Heads-up! New Drill Requirements

    The Legislature changed the required safety drill requirements starting in the 2019–2020 school year. Along with the previous required drills, an earthquake ‘drop-cover-hold on’ drill is now also required, as is a walking lahar evacuation for schools in mapped lahar zones. See all the new requirements. More information and guidance around lahars and tsunamis is coming soon!

    Learn More


    4. EQ Drill – Shakeout

    One of the changes is the requirement to have an earthquake drill. Schools are strongly encouraged to participate in the Great Washington ShakeOut on October 17th. Even if you opt to “drop, cover and hold on” on a different day, please register for ShakeOut.

    Register


    5. Threat Assessment Program

    Threat assessment is a structured group process used to evaluate the risk posed by a student or another person, typically as a response to an actual or perceived threat or concerning behavior. Contact your Educational Service District (ESD) for more information on how to engage in Level 1 training.

    Learn More


    6. Stop the Bleed

    Did you know that a person with a life-threatening injury can die from blood loss within 5 minutes? With Stop the Bleed training, bystanders are positioned to provide immediate first aid. Stop the Bleed is a national awareness campaign intended to encourage bystanders to become trained, equipped, and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives. There is no Stop the Bleed requirement; however, this is a free program which you might consider for your staff. For more information, see:


    7. Suicide Prevention

    September is suicide prevention month. There is online training coming soon. In the meantime, there are also a lot of valuable resources at these links:

  • Letter to a New Administrator

    by David Morrill | Aug 13, 2019

    young girl writing a letter

    Through the magic of "Twitterverse", I stumbled across this blog post by Chris Lehman from a number of years ago. It is a letter to all young teachers thinking about leaving the profession. As I read the letter, I couldn't help but think what it would read like if I removed the word "teacher" and instead used "school leader".  Applicable? Yes. Moving? Yes. Great read? Heck yes!

    Check out this passage. 

    I don’t remember where I read it, but I was reading another article that mentioned the oft-quoted stat about how many teachers leave the profession within the first five years, and I was thinking about how many really amazing young men and women I’ve known in my career who fell into that category, and I was thinking about a conversation I had with an old colleague at Beacon and how she said, "Yeah… that year three or four mark, that’s a dangerous time, because that’s when you think you know so much more than you actually do." And I was thinking about my own progression as a teacher and how true that was… And I was thinking about some of the things people who stayed with the profession seemed to embody that the ones who left didn’t. I was thinking about what I want to say to all those teachers who, right around year three or four, start to leave the profession…

    Dear Young Teacher Thinking of Leaving,

    You’ve stuck with this job for a few years now. You have made it past the hardest few years, but it’s still a really hard job. And you’re at a point where you know a lot about the job, but there’s still a lot to learn. And the things you haven’t learned yet are the some of the things you need to stay with this job. I don’t know for sure that you should stay; after all, people switch professions these days. But here are some of the things it takes longer than three or four years to really, really learn. Some of these are things I’ve had to learn the hard way, some of these are things I’ve seen others learn the hard way, and a lot of these ideas are things that I keep having to relearn all the time.

    Read the Rest

  • We Need Summer Camp More Than Ever Before

    by Marty Fortin | Aug 13, 2019

    Summer_camp

    We Need Summer Camp More Than Ever Before

    You're just as likely to build a robot as paddle a canoe at summer camp today, but the value of the experience is even more important for our screen-addled youth...

  • AWSP TV - Ep. 10 - Kids at Hope

    by Xenia Doualle | Aug 13, 2019

    Do you view kids at risk or at hope? Is every adult in your building a treasure hunter? Do you have any idea what we're talking about? In this episode of AWSP TV, Scott Seaman sits down with Rick Miller, founder and CEO of Kids at Hope and Professor of Practice and Clinical Director at Arizona State University. Watch our show to learn more about Kids at Hope as a program and about the science of hope. 
  • National Geographic: "For decades, our coverage was racist. To rise above our past, we must acknowledge it."

    by David Morrill | Aug 13, 2019

    This blog’s title comes from a recent National Geographic article describing the magazine’s investigation into its historical arc-of-reporting on people of color in the U.S. and abroad. The patience and time dedicated by the editor-in-chief to curate and dissect how the magazine treated issues of race is a helpful model for school systems. In order to serve our students and facilitate honest and open dialogue, we too must examine and reconcile with our own long-standing cultural narratives and how certain students are adversely impacted by the educational systems we lead.

    By examining our collective past and personal stories, we create space for individuals and communities to grow and begin to say, “I understand things differently now.” Listening with humility to the narratives of those negatively impacted by long-standing racist cultural norms and systems allows us to engage the wisdom of Dr. Jeffery Duncan-Andrade and “get proximal to the pain.” Proximity helps us come to terms with the fact that our current educational system bears a significant level responsibility for producing the inequitable outcomes found in every disaggregated data point.

    Silencing or denying our history does not serve the greater good. As Brené Brown poignantly notes, the irony is we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but our wholeness – even our whole heartedness - actually depends on the integration of all of our experiences, including the faults.

    Note-to-self: Include the past in order to transcend it.

    Similar to National Geographic, on the landing page of the June edition of In the Loop, an online magazine published by AWSP’s affiliate, the Association of Washington Student Leaders (AWSL), Joe Fenbert, Program Director for AWSL at the Cispus Learning Center, thoughtfully critiques previous systems and collective ways of thinking about developing student leaders, “…we now encourage schools to analyze their systems to lessen barriers so more kids come our way. We also now tie our goals and objectives to…Closing the Gap.”

    With a nationwide reputation of excellence for cultivating student-leaders, AWSL’s action-steps are the product of their collective conviction to serve as a model for disrupting systems that show bias towards particular groups of students. Like National Geographic, AWSL is publicizing how they are including their past in order to transcend it, with the explicit goal of dismantling structural racism.

    Structural racism happens in schools. For example, we’ve fielded several calls from principals seeking advice on how to handle the use of the “N-word.” Students are frequently using the word in nuanced ways that cause uncertainty regarding how to respond. If you’re wondering how deal with students’ use of the “N-word” feel free to contact us and, most importantly, start by getting proximal to the pain. Learn the history of the word, the trauma it surfaces, and the detrimental power it has on the learning environment for all students and staff. Proactively develop an appropriate and rapid disciplinary (teaching and learning) response designed to foster growth and a culture of learning. Lastly, similar to what AWSL is doing, begin to intentionally examine for bias and structural racism within your school by taking two specific steps.

    First, acknowledge; come to terms with and talk about the fact that bias and structural racism exist in every school system. Regardless of how well-intentioned the adults are, no system is immune. As Dr. Caprice Hollins teaches, “Many believe having conversations about race divides us. In actuality, it’s usually our defensiveness and unwillingness to be open to exploring racism that shuts the conversation down and causes a rift between us.”

    Next, find appropriate and thoughtful ways to engage your students of color and their families. Curriculum nights are fine, but authentically structured interactions, such as home-visits, in which you and your staff take a learning stance, are critical for building relationships and gaining important perspectives about the people you serve.

    When we create space and a system for conducting home visits, students of color and their families might feel safe explaining how bias and structural racism manifest in your school. However, it can be risky, traumatic and tiresome for students of color and their families to educate school staff about bias and structural racism and, frankly, it’s not their job. As lead learners in an education system, it is our responsibility to seek out the numerous resources that provide guidance on reducing bias and dismantling structural racism.

    In conjunction with AWSL, AWSP has worked hard to dismantle structural racism. Committed to a strategic plan that compels us to lead for equity, we continue to prioritize time, effort and resources toward our mission, which includes providing professional learning on topics related to equity, the effects of red-lining, equitable school-wide discipline practices, and the psycho-social impacts of structural racism. Additionally, after three years of shedding light on the issue, we are encouraged by the national trend elevating the science of implicit bias as a “thing” to pay attention to. So, for the sake of all students and staff, let’s keep the topic relevant while ensuring we don’t talk about implicit bias without talking about structural racism.

    Grace, understanding, and interactions with people from different backgrounds are pillars for engaging in healthy discourse on emotionally charged topics such as bias and race. We’re all in this together, but time is not ours to waste. It’s important to move forward and rapidly make a visible effort to learn about the experiences of people of color and to understand what it means to be white. Doing so will help us create authentic, life-changing, educational environments for each and every student.

    “It’s hard for an individual – or a country – to evolve past discomfort if the source of anxiety is only discussed in hush tones.” -Susan Goldberg, Editor-in-Chief, National Geographic Magazine

    Want to Learn More:

  • AWSP Leadership Framework 3.0

    by Caroline Brumfield | Aug 12, 2019
    framework_3.0_blog_header_image

    Note: This Document is Under Revision

    This month, AWSP released an initial rollout of the AWSP Leadership Framework 3.0. IThis document is an initial rollout of the AWSP Leadership Framework 3.0. AWSP is looking for districts from all nine ESDs who are willing to “test-drive” and review this draft by Feb. 1, 2020, to provide feedback that will inform the final version. The final version will be implemented statewide during the 2020-21 school year. If you are interested in becoming a Framework Feedback district, contact us by Nov. 1. Framework Feedback districts will receive a complimentary print copy of the Framework 3.0 draft for each administrator.

    Background

    Leadership Framework 3.0_web_smallThe AWSP Framework 3.0 is the result of a process that included an analysis of other school leadership frameworks, feedback from focus-groups and interviews with principals and their supervisors who have been using the original AWSP Framework. Like the frame of a house, this framework is designed to provide a foundation and structure for conversations leading to the development of building principals and assistant principals. Resources and commentary have been added to this version in order to support and emphasize the importance of growth-oriented conversations. Purposeful dialogue is what will bring this Framework to life.

    Changes

    We’ve added consistency to the format across all eight criteria and levels of the rubrics. Additionally, the descriptions outside the rubric boxes have grown, while verbiage inside is more succinct. No leadership framework can encompass the complex role of the school principal—that was not our aim. Our goal was to create a document that provides structure for conversations leading to the improvement of leadership practices.

    Rating

    Rating (assigning a numerical score) can be counterproductive and an unreliable use of a framework that has been designed to improve leadership practices. The overuse of mathematical calculations to derive a final “evaluative score” causes time-consuming distractions and can inhibit the holistic analyses of performance and results. The language of each rubric should be used as guidance, keeping in mind that leadership is nuanced and complex and should be contextualized within the unique opportunities, challenges, and goals of the school community. Words such as minimal, measurable and significant can only be understood and calibrated through growth-focused dialogue. Significant growth in one school may not be significant in another.

    Thank You

    We thank the many educational leaders across our state who served as critical friends throughout the work. Their honest feedback and encouragement, based on a commitment to our profession, is a model for the conversations we hope this Framework facilitates between school leaders and those who support their growth.

    Learn more about the AWSP Leadership Framework at www.awsp.org/framework.

  • Chewelah Peak

    by Xenia Doualle | Jul 22, 2019


    For decades, thousands of children and adults around the state have been going to Cispus Learning Center in Randle, WA. But did you know about our facility in eastern Washington? Located outside of Spokane, Chewelah Peak Learning Center offers outdoor learning, leadership training and an affordable retreat center for youth groups or hobbyists; a perfect place to reflect, re-focus and re-energize.
  • AWSP News - Summer Conference Special Edition 2019

    by Xenia Doualle | Jul 16, 2019
  • AWSP TV - HB 1599 and Changing Graduation Requirements

    by David Morrill | Jun 19, 2019

    Passed this session, HB 1599 transforms the assessment expectations for graduation and how students can approach fulfilling requirements for earning a diploma. We know principals and districts are clamoring for more information, so we partnered with OPSI and the SBE to bring you two great AWSP TV episodes. First up is OSPI's Deputy Superintendent Dr. Michaela Miller (our returning champion). 


    Thanks to Dr. Miller for all the great information and discussion. Be sure to check out OSPI's webpage for their HB 1599 resources. 
    Next up, we have a quick follow-up episode with the Linda Drake, the State Board of Education's Director of Career and College Readiness Initiatives. She talks about the State Board's role in rulemaking for graduation pathways and how principals can give their feedback. 


    The State Board put together a nice three page explainer for some of the changes brought about by the new legislation. 

    We'll be back with more information, and more in-depth information, throughout the summer and the fall. In the meantime, these two episodes and web pages should provide some great information and resources in the interim. 
  • AWSP News for June 19, 2019

    by Xenia Doualle | Jun 19, 2019
     


    In this episode of AWSP News, we discuss:

    • Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Airlines, and his visit with our CEO Network,
    • our Association of Washington Student Leaders summer programs,
    • our incredible professional learning cohort-based series,
    • our principal mentoring program for principals in their first three years,
    • a bill removing the personal and philosophical option to exempt children from the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine,
    • resources on changes to the requirements for school and child care immunizations,
    • getting your accreditation through your ESD,
    • Summer Conference,
    • this year’s NAESP National Conference,
    • senior graduation,
    • High School and Beyond Plan resources for teachers and counselors, and
    • the end-of-the-year activities you lead in your school.

    Prefer to read the news? Check out the script

  • AWSP News for June 5, 2019

    by Xenia Doualle | Jun 05, 2019



    In this episode of AWSP News, we discuss:

    • an email we received about the selfless dedication of principal Dorothy Day of Oak Harbor Elementary;
    • registration for two of AWSP’s Launching Principal Leadership and Building Effective Leadership;
    • Summer Conference and our surprise guest for our Special Edition of AWSP News;
    • our Assistant Principal Leadership Network;
    • AWSL’s La Cima, Deaf Teen Leadership camp, and native American camps;
    • ASB Finance workshops;
    • the Blue Ribbon Schools Program;
    • Pride Month and additional resources to support LGBTQ students in your school.

    Prefer to read the news? Check out the script.

  • AWSP News For May 15, 2019

    by Xenia Doualle | May 15, 2019


    In this episode of AWSP News, we discuss:

    • a visit from Kaiser Permanente Susan Mullaney,
    • principal Jason Smith from John R. Rogers High School in Puyallup and his national recognition,
    • our state principals of the year,
    • the Washington College Grant,
    • registration for AWSP’s Launching Principal Leadership Network AND Building Effective Leadership Network,
    • a Ph.D. candidate wanting to learn more about principals as transformational and instructional leaders,
    • a survey on Washington’s STEM educator pipeline,
    • the winter/spring issue of our Washington Principal magazine,
    • and our business partners VEBA and PEMCO.

    Prefer to read the news? Check out the script.

  • Searching for Transformation and Instructional Leaders

    by David Morrill | May 15, 2019

    Rachelle Simmons


    AWSP is helping recruit participants for a doctoral research study titled, “An Exploration of Methods for Promoting Student Performance Used by Transformational Leaders and Instructional Leaders.”

     

    Purpose of the research:

    The research will explore the methods of principals, who self-identify as transformational leaders and/or instructional leaders, used to promote high student achievement. The researcher is a doctoral candidate at Capella University, conducting this research to write a dissertation about the research findings. Information gained from this study may help inform educational leaders about practices used by transformational leaders and instructional leaders to improve student achievement. Sharing your practices to promote student performance may influence the practices of principals in other schools, and positively impact student learning. The study’s findings will contribute information to the field of education.

    Brief explanation of study procedures and time commitment required of the participants:

    • Self-identify as a transformational leader and/or instructional leader. This will take up to five minutes.
    • Give personal information about yourself, described in the next section of this form. This will take up to five minutes.
    • Answer questions about leadership practices in an-person interview. This will take up to 60 minutes.
    • Collect and share artifacts that support the responses to the interview questions. This will take up to 15 minutes.
    • Review interview transcripts and my interpretations for accuracy. This will take up to 15 minutes.
    • Allow the researcher to look at artifacts that support responses to the interview questions, such as the school improvement plan.

    Inclusion/exclusion criteria used to determine eligibility for the study:

    You can participate in the study if you are an assistant principal or principal of a public school, grades K–12, who self-identifies as a transformational leader and/or instructional leader. Definitions are included below.

    • Transformational leader: Utilizes a bottom-up, distributed leadership approach, shares responsibility and power, focuses on building the school’s capacity to improve, promotes change and innovation within the school, solicits buy-in and motivates followers to achieve the shared vision and mission, gives staff members autonomy to accomplish the school’s vision, aims to empower staff, and emphasizes building-wide learning.
    • Instructional leader: Develops, controls, and supervises curriculum and instruction, emphasizes supervision and evaluation, visibility, and monitoring, focuses on student achievement goals, and is likely to manage and reward teachers towards predetermined goals.

    Location where research will be conducted:

    The interviews will take place at public libraries in private rooms to ensure confidentiality.

    For additional information or to enroll, please contact: Rachelle Simmons, (360) 921–4515

  • AWSP News for May 1, 2019

    by Xenia Doualle | May 01, 2019

     

    In this episode of AWSP News, we discuss:

    • the end of session,
    • our Spring Board meetings,
    • AWSL and the student representatives to the State Board of Education,
    • the 2019 Native American Leadership Camp,
    • a cool way to motivate and support your kids during testing,
    • the Professional Educators Standards Board,
    • this year’s Summer Conference,
    • changing your status with us if you change jobs,
    • our business partner Clear Risk,
    • and introduce Jack Arend (our newest Associate Director).

    Prefer to read the news? Check out the script.

  • Fact or Fiction: Schools Are No Longer Allowed to Use Exclusion or Suspensions?!

    by David Morrill | Apr 26, 2019

    cartoon of student being sent out of the classroom

    Wait...what??

    While not completely accurate, this headline reflects the feeling of many principals Washington grappling with changes to state laws for suspensions and expulsion. To be clear, schools can still use exclusion as a tool, but the new discipline rules put a significant squeeze on when and how it is applied.

    The new rules have resulted in uncertainty regarding compliance and many folks have been left wondering, “What technically constitutes a suspension now?” Also, curiosity about alternative methods for discipline is at an all-time high, particularly when research clearly shows exclusion is not an effective teaching tool for modifying students’ behavior.

    With all that in mind, AWSP is collaborating with WASA, WSSDA, and ESD 113 to create an informational video that should help. The upcoming video will answer questions about reducing and eliminating suspensions and provide resources. For example, WSSDA will share a model policy for school boards to adopt.

    In the meantime, if you are like so many others across the state who are looking for insight about how to do respond to the new law and, in turn, shift the adult mindset about suspension, consider registering for the following free webinar this Tuesday, April 30th.

    Positive Discipline and Healthy Kids: An Opportunity for Washington State.

    New Discipline Rules Discourage Suspension/Expulsion and Encourage Positive


    Date & Time:
    Tuesday April 30, 2019 | 11 AM – 12 PM PDT 
    Presented by: The Association of Washington School Principals and ChangeLab Solutions 
    Co-Sponsored by: Education Service District 112 and the OSPI Center for the Improvement of Student Learning

    Register Now

    If you are leading the shift towards eliminating the use of suspensions, be sure to share why. For example, studies find lower exclusion rates are associated with:

    • Higher student engagement and achievement.
    • Increased school safety/positive school climate.
    • Lower stress/increased satisfaction of school staff.

    And did you know about all the studies examining whether students from different racial/ethnic groups are more prone to negative behavior than others? In the most rigorous studies, researchers found no significant. This means discipline disparities are more an issue of adult behavior than a problem of student behavior.

    If you need the tools and resources to more equitably support kids and help change the adult mindset in your school, make sure to watch the webinar.

  • Retirement & Health Benefit Report for April 26, 2019

    by David Morrill | Apr 26, 2019

    retirement-health_072315


    “Never insult an alligator until after you have crossed the river.” – Cordell Hull

    The great mystery is the upcoming release of the agreed upon 2019–21 budget. It is to be released Saturday, the 27th. While budget negotiations were occurring behind closed doors, both chambers passed a number of bills. A few pertain to this report.

    Retirement/ Pension Related Proposals

    SB 5360 changes the present retirement plan default for new hires from Plan 3 to Plan 2, effective July 1, 2020. This bill is on the Senate calendar where it is awaiting a pull to the floor for concurrence. This is agency request legislation, (SCPP) and should be an easy vote. However, time is running out for action.

    SB 5999 appropriates $183,749,000 from the Budget Stabilization Account (BSA) to be used to reduce the Teachers’ Retirement System Plan 1 underfunded actuarially accrued liability which is estimated to be $3 billion dollars. It was passed by Executive Session in the Senate Ways and Means Committee and sent to Rules where it currently languishes.

    Substitute Options for early Retirees

    E2SHB 1139 expands the current and future educator workforce supply. This bill has a section allowing Plan 2 retirees (classified and certificated) to return to work for up to 867 hours/year. It has passed both chambers and after signatures will be sent to the Governor for further action.

    HB 1390 requires beneficiaries who are receiving a monthly benefit from the PERS or TRS plans 1 to receive a one-time 3% cost of living adjustment. It is contained in ESHB 1109 which is the budget adopted by the Senate. The soon to be released conference budget will reveal if this proposal is funded to any degree. SB 5350 authorizes an individual at the time of retirement, to purchase an optional actuarially equivalent life annuity benefit. This bill has passed both chambers and has been sent to the Governor for his action.

    School Employee Benefit Board (SEEB)Health Related Proposals

    SB 6011 concerns health care benefits for public school employees. Sponsors: Mullet (D), Braun (R). This bill was introduced late, (April 13), and has not been scheduled for a hearing. It is a direct outgrowth of proposed budget amendments that failed. Both Senators are concerned with the high cost of SEBB. This bill would help to correct that and according to staff save an estimated $150 million dollars. Among other provisions it would raise the qualifying bar to 1,040 hours and allow for the prorating of benefits.

    SB 6020 is a variation on SB 6011 above. WASA and its companion allies have been very clear in letting legislators know that this proposal, although in need of some tweaks, is the preferred route to deal with the unfunded costs associated with the present SEBB model.

    The issue of SEBB and funding is an ‘endgame’ budget player. It is important to note that the launch of SEBB enrollment is only 113 days away, so any changes will create some degree of havoc. Also, remember the original bill implementing SEBB was introduced June 30th, 2017 and passed that same day. The soon to see the light of day budget will tell the story. Stay tuned.

    Earlier in the week, the Public Employees’ Benefit Board (PEBB) held a meeting. At this point in time, their actions are either in parallel to those of the SEB Board, or portend the direction that SEBB will go. View the materials.

    The board is looking at potential changes to the Long-term Disability insurance program. These include increasing the maximum amount paid from the current $240/month. This program is coordinated with the Paid Family and Medical Leave program paid through a 0.4% rate of a worker’s wage, (63% paid buy worker; 37% paid by employer.) If the board wants to increase the maximum paid, costs will rise unless trade offs are done with other benefits. For example, lowering the Basic Life benefit from $35,000 to $25,000 would allow an increase of the benefit to $400/month without adding additional costs. This discussion will continue.

    The PEB Board adopted a resolution, which is in tandem with the direction of the SEBB board to institute a value formulary regarding the use of prescription drugs. Simply put, generic or lower cost alternative drugs are to be used instead of single-source brand name drugs. This will lower the costs paid for Rx drugs. (The high cost of Rx drugs has been the largest driver of expenses for PEBB insurance and the main reason for increased premium costs.) The briefing materials point out the exception process, but barring one using that avenue, he/she must try all alternatives before qualifying for the single-source brand name drug.

    Other Bills That May Have Fiscal/Hr Impacts For Districts

    ESHB 1813 | This bill provides that school districts could only enter into pupil transportation service contracts with nongovernmental entities that provide health and retirement benefit contributions to their employees that are equivalent to those received by school employees. Although, it appeared to be ‘dead’, it is on the Senate floor calendar and could be brought to a vote at any time. The strong pro-labor focus of this legislature keeps this alive.

    2SHB 1087 concerns long-term services and support passed both houses and has been sent to the Governor.

    Beginning January 1, 2022, employers will collect from employees in Washington who are working an assessed premium of 0.58 percent of their wages for deposit into a state dedicated fund. Once qualified due to work history, an individual could claim up to $36,500 in lifetime benefits toward meeting the costs of aging and ailing.

    SHB 1399 | Modifies and reorganizes certain statutes in the family and medical leave program. This bill makes revisions to definitions, voluntary plans, waiting periods, and other matters. Authorizes the employer to waive several statutory provisions and to offer supplemental benefits. Adds provisions concerning privacy and access to confidential records. Broadens the employee’s appeal rights to cover any adverse decision in a voluntary plan. This bill has been signed by the Governor and becomes effective 7/28/2019.

    Fred Yancey
    The Nexus Group

  • AWSP TV - Episode 6 - Sue Anderson

    by Xenia Doualle | Apr 24, 2019


    In our sixth episode of AWSP TV, OSPI's Sue Anderson (Director of Educator Effectiveness) talks to our Ron Sisson about putting the G (growth) in TPEP, as well as a few more topics around evaluation, coaching, mentoring, and induction.

  • Retirement & Health Benefits for April 19, 2019

    by David Morrill | Apr 19, 2019

    retirement-health_072315

    “Time is like a river,
    made up of the events which happen, and a violent stream;
    for as soon as a thing has been seen, it is carried away,
    and another comes in its place,
    and this will be carried away too,
    until at last something hits shore.”
    ― Marcus Aurelius

    After this last deadline, attention now moves to both chamber floors. Action will primarily consist of both chambers debating and voting on bills that have passed either chamber. I’ve earlier explained the concurrence, dispute, and/or conference committee avenues of resolution. Simultaneously, meetings often held in backrooms away from public and member scrutiny, are being held as issues like the budget and revenue enhancements are bargained.

    A “**“ before a bill indicates that is it either NTIB (Necessary to Implement the Budget) or as I’ve suggested, NTPB (Necessary to Pass the Budget). Therefore, the issue remains alive as does anything the Legislature wants to revive or introduce.

    Retirement/ Pension Related Proposals

    SB 5360 changes the present retirement plan default for new hires from Plan 3 to Plan 2, effective July 1, 2020. Since this bill is now identical to the House version, it will be sent to the House for concurrence.

    **SB 5999 appropriates $183,749,000 from the Budget Stabilization Account (BSA) to be used to reduce the Teachers’ Retirement System Plan 1 underfunded actuarially accrued liability which is estimated to be $3 billion dollars. Currently, employers are paying an added surcharge on pension contributions to help decrease the unfunded liability. The current plan is to be 100% fully funded by 2026. Keep in mind that is because of a projection that projects premiums and deaths of the older members. It was passed by Executive Session in the Senate Ways and Means Committee and sent to Rules.

    Although, sound in principle, caution should be applied. WSSDA testified in support of moving these dollars that currently earn 3% into a fund that earns 7%. “It just makes financial sense.” However, removing these dollars from the BSA also removes dollars that could be used in the future to fund other needs like special education’s unfunded costs? These dollars could be used to avoid cuts that may come should a recession occur. Another bill, SB 6009, passing committee, makes expenditures from the BSA for declared catastrophic events (like fires). How many times can the Legislature go to this well for funds, and not close the door for other uses?

    SJR 8211 proposes an amendment to the Constitution concerning revenues from certain premiums, contributions, and other charges imposed on wages. Sponsors: Braun, Keiser, Palumbo, Schoesler, Conway, Van De Wege. This bill was introduced late but has been scheduled for hearing and action before the Senate Ways and Means Committee. It is a ‘simple’ bills that states, “Notwithstanding any other section or article of this Constitution, revenues from premiums, contributions, or other charges imposed on wages for the purpose of creating an actuarially sound system for the provision of future benefits or services only to payers must be deposited into a special fund in the state treasury to be used exclusively for the purposes for which it was imposed.” The bold print was to show the ‘catch’. Clearly this is to ensure that certain funds cannot be ‘raided’ to help balance the budget. The Committee took no action on this bill.

    Substitute Options for early Retirees

    E2SHB 1139 expands the current and future educator workforce supply. It passed the Senate 26–22 and has been sent back to the House for concurrence with its changes/amendments.

    **HB 1390 requires beneficiaries who are receiving a monthly benefit from the PERS or TRS plans 1 to receive a one-time 3% cost of living adjustment. It is contained in ESHB 1109 which is the budget adopted by the Senate.

    SB 5350 authorizes an individual at the time of retirement, to purchase an optional actuarially equivalent life annuity benefit. This bill has passed both chambers and is awaiting signatures.

    School Employee Benefit Board (SEEB) Health Related Proposals

    HB 2096 asks for a 2-year delay in SEBB implementation for ESD’s. This proposal is technically ‘dead’. However, an amendment to the budget was adopted and is part of ESHB 1109 cited above. It is likely to die. (Budget provisos/amendments can fund actions, but it is a stretch for a budget to establish a policy that has not been passed in legislation by the legislature.)

    **SB 6011 concerns health care benefits for public school employees. Sponsors: Mullet (D), Braun (R). This bill was introduced late, (April 13), and has not been scheduled for a hearing. It is a direct outgrowth of proposed budget amendments that failed. Both Senators are concerned with the high cost of SEBB. This bill would help to correct that and according to staff save an estimated $150 million dollars. Among other provisions it would raise the qualifying bar to 1,040 hours and allow for the prorating of benefits.

    The issue of SEBB and funding may well be an ‘endgame’ budget player. Stay tuned.

    Other Bills That May Have Fiscal/Hr Impacts For Districts

    ESHB 1813 did not make it out of Senate Rules. This bill provides that school districts could only enter into pupil transportation service contracts with nongovernmental entities that provide health and retirement benefit contributions to their employees that are equivalent to those received by school employees. It appears to be ‘dead’, however, with the strong labor focus of this session, this may be one to come back.

    2SHB 1087 concerns long-term services and supports passed the House 63–33 and passed the Senate 26–22. Because of adopted amendments, it has been sent back to the House for further action.

    Beginning January 1, 2022, employers will collect from employees in Washington who are working an assessed premium of 0.58 percent of their wages for deposit into a state dedicated fund. Once qualified due to work history, an individual could claim up to $36,500 in lifetime benefits toward meeting the costs of aging and ailing.

    SHB 1399 makes technical corrections requested by the Employment Security Department in the Family and Medical Leave Act passed last session. Signed by the Governor, this becomes in effect on 7/28/19.

    Fred Yancey
    The Nexus Group

  • AWSP News for April 17, 2019

    by Xenia Doualle | Apr 17, 2019


    In this episode of AWSP News we discuss:

    • your district’s principal contracts,
    • some of the strategies a few districts are using to boost principal salaries,
    • a new report from Wallace Foundation,
    • National Assistant Principals Week,
    • our “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” campaign winners,
    • School Library Month and a handful of book recommendations from Scholastic,
    • our sponsor City university,
    • the Native American Leadership Camp and
    • Administrative Professionals Week and Day.

    Prefer to read the news? Check out the script.

  • Trying to Make Sense of the Budget? Here Are Some Resources That Will Help.

    by Xenia Doualle | Apr 16, 2019

    budget_resources



    Here are some recent articles that might interest you if you are trying to keep track of budget discussions.

    • This article is by DJ Wilson of the Washington State Wire and it explains how the budget process actually works.
    • The Washington Research Council published this comparison chart of the House and Senate budgets.
    • And, OSPI has budget tools for the 2019-20 school year on its webpage. Click on the Multi-Year Budget Comparison Tool to see how your district fares in the Governor’s budget, the House budget and the Senate budget.

    If you have any questions, let me know!