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Week in Review: January 26-30


Week in Review

Monday, January 26

House Education

During the House Education Committee meeting on Monday, January 26th, AWSP testified in support of HB 1142, which modifies school district authority with respect to student parking. AWSP staff Marty Fortin worked with the prime sponsor, Representative Wilcox (R-Yelm), to craft legislation clarifying that school ASB’s may use student parking fees to support student activities.

AWSP testified in support of HB 1240 (student restraint and isolation) with concerns about Section 3b, which states in part, “restraint or isolation of any student is permitted only when reasonably necessary to control unpredicted, spontaneous behavior that poses an imminent likelihood of serious harm.” The challenge for teachers and principals will be after a student, typically a primary-aged child, has hit, bit, thrown, or similar for several times, the behavior could be considered predictable and the plan devised is not working. An amendment will be suggested to remove the word “unpredicted” from Section 3B.

AWSP testified with concerns about HB 1293 (paraeducators training). The bill includes 13 recommendations for training and certification of paraeducators, including the recommendation of requiring training of principals and teachers on how to work effectively with paraeducators. In testimony, AWSP called for full funding of schools prior to adding additional requirements to school staff. A memo from AWSP staff going into more detail was given to the 21 members of the House Education Committee.

The House Education Committee held an executive session and moved HB 1003 out of committee. This bill requires the Washington State School Directors’ Association to develop a model policy addressing the restoration of the safe learning environment that is disrupted by natural disaster impact to the school district infrastructure and distribute the policy to districts by August 31, 2016. This bill is in response to lessons learned from the landslide that occurred last year in Oso.

Senate Early Learning and K–12 Education Committee

Monday afternoon, the Committee held a work session on Early Achievers, a program to prepare children for success in school. They heard that 2,243 licensed child care providers (42%) participated in the Early Achievers program. There was also a public hearing on two bills dealing with early childhood education: SB 5098 (child care reporting) and SB 5462 (comprehensive changes to early childhood care & reporting requirements).

Tuesday, January 27

Senate Early Learning & K–12 Education Committee

AWSP supported four bills and offered amendments on three of them.

  • SB 5252 creates a pilot program to implement regional school safety and security centers in three ESD’s, most likely in Spokane, Yakima, and Bremerton. The bill also calls for creation of a technology-based system enabling more efficient and effective communication between schools and emergency response entities, including local law enforcement, local fire departments, and state and federal responders; as well as the provision of technology support to improve communication and data. AWSP suggested rather than one system, multiple systems should be created at the pilot stage to determine if one is significantly better than another; rather than putting all the eggs in one basket during the trial stage. Senator Dammeier, prime sponsor, asked AWSP to leave the proposed changes with staff.

SB 5294 renames school library media programs to school library information and technology programs and revises the duties of teacher-librarians. AWSP offered language to broaden the list of duties performed by librarians.

SB 5303 creates the Washington academic, innovation, and mentoring (AIM) program. Testifying in support of the program was the Boys/Girls Clubs of Washington. They would be the entity that would implement the AIM program. AWSP called for the outcomes of the program to be defined by the Department of Commerce with input from OSPI prior to awarding grants.

SB 5437 deals with breakfast after the bell programs. Section 4 requires OSPI to offer training and technical and marketing assistance to schools offering breakfast after the bell. Breakfast after the bell has three different offerings: 1. grab and go 2. second chance breakfast, offered later in the morning, and 3. breakfast in the classroom.

The same bill was heard in the House Education Committee as HB 1295 on Tuesday as well.

Thursday, January 29

Senate Early Learning & K–12 Education

The Committee took public testimony on four bills and moved another four bills forward. SB 5312 creates flexibility for the educator retooling conditional scholarship program by making conditional scholarships available to individuals with an elementary school education certificate to pursue special education, bilingual education, ELL, and computer science education, in addition to mathematics and science endorsements. AWSP signed in supporting the bill. In executive session, four bills were amended before passing out of committee.

  • SB 5080 deals with dual credit options and distinguishes College in the High School (CHS) and Running Start programs, as well as expands eligibility for CHS to grades nine and ten. It passed out of the Committee 7–0 and was referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

  • SB 5082 was amended to create a grant program for the next two years for STEM education. It passed out of the Committee 7–0 and was referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

  • SB 5083 deals with sudden cardiac arrest awareness and was amended to send the work of the bill to WIAA rather than WASSDA. Because there is no fiscal cost to the bill it was referred to the Rules Committee after a 7–0 vote.

  • SB 5163 provides more educational data on students from military families and was amended so schools with fewer than ten students impacted would not need to report the information. It was supported by the military and passed out of the Committee 7–0.

Three other bills also had a public hearing:

  • SB 5316 deals with privacy and security of personally identifiable student information, including biometric information such as a fingerprint or hand scan. This could cause challenges for schools who are using fingerprint technology to speed up service in cafeteria lines. If your school is using such equipment, you would have to replace it in this bill.

  • SB 5392 would eliminate the quality education council, which is made up of eight legislators, OSPI SBE, PESB, DEL, EOGOAC and the Office of the Governor.

  • SB 5433 calls for including Washington tribal history, culture and government to be taught in schools.

House Education

The House Education Committee held a work session on student discipline, including a history of discipline laws, and also received an update from the Student Discipline Task Force. Anne Lee, Executive Director of Team Child, used PowerPoint slides to explain Team Child’s take on the negative impact of zero tolerance policies and turnaround strategies that reduce exclusion without compromising safety. OSPI staff reviewed the work of the Task Force that includes two representatives of AWSP, Principal Mia Williams (Seattle SD) and Trevor Greene (Highline SD). Definitions and timelines for implementation of the rules are available here. Alan Burke, Ed.D., Executive Director of WSSDA, presented a two-page summary. WSSDA Research Blast on Student Discipline (December, 2013).

On Thursday night, the House Education Committee held an additional hearing. Meeting jointly with the House Health Care & Wellness Committee, the focus was an update on two bills adopted in last two sessions: * HB 2739 (2014): Identifying areas where effects of family factors, such as health status and safety, correlate with academic and behavioral indicators of student success. WSU researcher Dr. Blodgett compiled a report and provided his findings, as required by HB 2739. An executive summary of the report is also available. * HB 1336 (2013): Increasing capacity of school districts to recognize and respond to troubled youth. Representatives of the Professional Educator Standards Board, OSPI, and the Youth Suicide Prevention Program joined to provide an update on the implementation of HB 1336. The group also provided a “Suicide Threat” flowchart from Issaquah School District.