With the closure of our brick and mortar school buildings due to the coronavirus, access to the internet is becoming a necessity for all students. However, statistics at the Federal Communications Commission suggest that one in three households has no broadband access. As this article from The Verge states, “living with the coronavirus is going to reveal hard truths about the digital divide.” State and federal efforts are underway to change this.
State Senator Lisa Wellman (41st LD, Mercer Island) emailed me today. Here’s what she shared.
“As this crisis extends into the future we must get all kids on line with connectivity and devices so education can continue in all parts of Washington. Russ Elliot, head of the Broadband Office and Lisa Brown, head of the Department of Commerce have put a plan in front of the Governor today in support of fast-tracking connectivity to unserved areas. The proposed solution can be rolled out to educational facilities and libraries across the state in areas of concern and tribal reservations, leveraging substantial broadband connectivity currently underused and utilizing existing networks already funded by state and federal dollars. Though this does not expand networks to the home, it does offer immediate supply of internet in convenient locations for Washington state citizens, students, and workers. Many of our rural areas are wondering what they can offer schoolchildren. These hot spots of connectivity will be an important first step in providing an answer and enabling districts to immediately begin planning for utilization if they so choose.”
At the national level, the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) just launched a new campaign to advocate for a funding increase to the E-Rate program and allowing those funds to be used to support home internet access for students. Their statement says in part, “The ‘homework gap’ was a big problem before, but with schools closed around the country during COVID-19 and teachers conducting remote lessons and assignments, the most underprivileged students are at even greater risk of falling behind. We need Congress and the FCC to act now, and the E-Rate program is the best solution.”
School leaders and advocates can send emails and tweets to Congress and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai using the new campaign.
Find more resources and information about affordable internet access, visit our coronavirus resource page.
Posted by Martin Fortin
A long gaze outside and the certainty that normalcy is not soon. AWSP Learning Centers suggest you take a walk to your backyard. Time to get comfortable with what you see and explore the great potential. Identify what was more than just a lawn to mow, but what could you grow? Can you turn the backyard into a new normalcy? Is it the new science lab and home discovery? We say yes! One suggestion is attracting more wildlife.
This is a message from Washington State Superintendent Chris Reykdal to educators, parents, students, & seniors. For more information, visit:
The team at Jostens went through the Harbor library and pulled the best 9 episodes addressing social and emotional wellbeing that are applicable to middle and high school. They actually screened these with some upper elementary students and believe they are applicable for that age group as well.
If anyone you have any questions or need any additional information,reach out to Tara Campbell, EdD our Sr. Manager of Program Development Jostens Renaissance Education.
Here are the links that you will need to share with them. Schools can share these links out with their students, teachers, and parents as the same link should work for all.
In this episode of AWSP News, we discuss:
Prefer to read the news? Check out the script
Our KPA Executive board got together last night to reflect on what strong leadership looks like in a pandemic. In times of crisis, it is even more important to think reflectively about our practice and how we are using our systems intelligence,
personal intelligence, and social intelligence as we navigate the contexts around us. Below are some “leadership moves” that you might consider as we move forward.
It is important that you put your own oxygen mask on first. Take some time to see where you stand emotionally. And, give yourself grace. Model self-care for your staff or explicitly share with your staff the strategies that you are using for “self-care”-
it is okay to be transparent that you have anxiety as well. Acknowledge that everyone will process these events differently- so anticipate a myriad of different responses from staff and be okay with this. And, be aware that everyone needs different
levels of time/space to cope with this type of event. Make sure you plug into your own support system when you need it. And, if you are ill, give yourself the space and time to get better and know that others can pick up your leadership role.
Set up regular meeting to meet with your administrative teams.
Initiate a Principal PLC that meets weekly so you can connect with colleagues.
Take up a new “do it from home” activity- we hear that Netflix Yoga classes are great!
Journal about your leadership experience during a pandemic. (Maybe you could even publish it!)
Take a sick day if you are ill!
If it all possible, do virtual face to face communication to connect.
Take time to do some professional learning. Feed your mind with a new book, documentary or podcast.
Staff have the potential to feel isolated. And, this event could make or break a school culture. Think about how you might create opportunities for staff to connect. Consider how you might grow your building teacher leaders to engage colleagues
in ongoing work.
Ask for staff volunteers to do an online book study; or ask teachers leaders if they would like to initiate an online book study.
Invite staff to continue PLC work in their grade level or department teams. If we move to remote learning, knowing clearly what we want students to know and be able to do is going to be paramount.
Send postcards or individual emails home to staff that are vulnerable.
Create a list of vulnerable staff and connect them with a “buddy/teacher leader” that will check in with them.
Connect with your Building Leadership team and leverage their leadership to connect, support and grow the work.
Hold staff meeting using Microsoft Teams to connect and bring everyone together.
Send out a weekly memo and highlight how staff are “coping” with the isolation. You could even include pictures that staff send to you!
Start a phone tree that can be triggered by staff if there is a need.
It is always good to prepare for the worst-case scenario while hoping for the best. There is a real chance that our students and staff will return traumatized by death and the experiences that occurred while out of school. And, with the potential
for wide-spread tragedy, each school should be prepared to support students and staff remotely during the closure and when they return. Our district will not have the resources to deploy a flight team to each school.
Students will take their lead from their teachers and their building leaders. Consider how you can work with teachers on ways to reach out to students while still maintaining professional and appropriate boundaries.
Send emails (or call) to students that you know are vulnerable.
Maintain a blog with your students.
Support teachers in sending weekly emails to students.
Volunteer to assist with delivering lunches to students.
Some continuity in a time of chaos is helpful. Setting up routines with your staff that are predictable and consistent can help ground a staff.
Think about caring for staff first and accountability second. Now more than ever it is important to assume positive intent. If a staff is not answering emails or engaging in school-based activities, assume there is a legitimate reason
for this and pick up the phone to check on them. Try not to frame your responses around the 1% that might not be engaging immediately. The majority of our amazing teaching staff will do their best to remain engaged throughout this experience.
As this is an ever-evolving situation, sometimes it is certainly okay “to go slow to go fast”. Take your time to be deliberate and strategic in the leadership that you provide. We are not in this alone. Please do not hesitate to
reach out to your KPA Board to problem solve, connect, and plan. We are here to support you.
Dan Irvine, Principal Grass Lake Elem, KPA President
Heidi Maurer, Principal Kentlake HS, KPA President-Elect
Jim Schiechl, Principal Mattson MS, KPA Immediate Past President
Scott Abernathy, Principal Glenridge Elem, KPA Board
Anita Macpherson, Assistant Principal Kentwood HS, KPA Board Member
The State Legislature passed a new law (EHB 2965) supporting the state's response to the novel coronavirus. This
law includes a provision (see Section 10) that allows the State Board of Education to grant an emergency waiver to local education agencies (e.g., school districts, etc.) and private schools. The waiver will provide flexibility so individual students
in the graduating Class of 2020 or earlier, who were on track to graduate, are not held back by school closures due to the novel coronavirus.Under the emergency waiver program, public school districts, charter schools, and tribal compact schools will be able to
apply to the State Board of Education for a waiver of certain high school graduation requirements. To get the waiver, schools and districts must demonstrate a good faith effort to address core course requirements and credit deficiencies (see OSPI Bulletin 022-20 for guidance on supporting
seniors). In addition, the State Board of Education may waive credit-based graduation requirements and school day and instructional hour requirements for private schools. The State Board of Education is working with partners to
review different scenarios and considerations to ensure the program rules effectively support students, schools, and communities. The Board will hold a Special Meeting from 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 26, to review the draft timeline and considerations for rulemaking. The Board expects to adopt emergency rules by the middle of April.We intend to offer a virtual attendance option for the public to view the meeting via ZOOM and encourage those who wish to provide public comment to do so by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.We will post the ZOOM link to the meeting on Twitter and on the SBE Meetings page. Please stay tuned for updates.
In 2019, 16% of companies exclusively hired remote remote workers. In 2020, nobody could foresee the huge numbers of employees forced into working from home. Remote work has some clear benefits, but how do you adjust and adapt when your job is running a school full of adults and students? We’ve got more than just some bad puns for you. See if you can envision any of these tools or resources help bring your team together.
This is the become the de facto standard for collaboration these days. By now, most of you have already heard of Zoom, which has become so popular it’s practically a verb (I’m gonna Zoom into that meeting right after I Google that). There’s a bunch of options, from Zoom, GoToMeeting, trusty ole Skype, Microsoft Teams, heck, even FaceTime will do in a pinch and can support 31 other people on a call (but everyone needs an Apple device for that).
We use Zoom at AWSP, and they’ve got a bunch of great resources on their webpage now, covering topics like effective remote working, educating over zoom, and hosting virtual events. Zoom has a free plan that offers unlimited 1 to 1 meetings, hosts up to 100 participants, but the catch on the free account is a 40-minute time limit on group meetings. After 40-minutes, your meeting ends and you would have to start a new one. At least that’s how it normally works. Zoom is removing the 40-minute time limit now for K–12 schools. Zoom even has the ability to create breakout rooms.
While it’s our favorite video conferencing platform, it’s not the only one. Check out these alternatives from PC Mag (where Zoom is an editors’ choice). There are a ton of these articles out there now, but here’s a good one about the do’s and don’ts of videoconferencing from The Verge.
Email sucks. There, I said it. Don’t get me wrong; it’s still a useful tool for communication, but it’s taken on way more than it was ever designed to do. Having a great online collaboration space can provide more inclusion, transparency, and accountability than trying to manage group conversations, tasks, and files through email. Our tool of choice at AWSP is Basecamp. It includes a company HQ and then you can create new “Basecamps” by team (groups of people doing similar work) or by project (work that crosses teams). Each HQ, project, or team includes these functions:
The great thing about Basecamp is how it improves communication and transparency because if you’re on a project or team, everyone is included in all communication. That said, sometimes you just need some one to one communication. That’s where Pings come in, which are Basecamp’s version of text messaging essential. You can ping and individual or a group of people. Each project, team, or HQ has its own activity feed, so it’s easy to get caught up on what’s been done and what you might have missed.
While we love Basecamp and found it indispensable even before we were all sent home to serve you, there are lots of other great communication, collaboration, and project management tools. Things like Slack, asana, Trello, and even GSuite from Google. Check out this list here to see if something is right for you and your team. And here’s one more list of Basecamp alternatives. Basecamp has always offered free accounts for teachers for classroom work (and my guess is they’re not going to limit just classroom work now). When it comes to remote work, they wrote the book…literally.
A while ago, we switched our phone systems to RingCentral. Think of it like a phone system without phones. At our office, we still have our traditional desk phones, but as we’ve moved to remote work for the time being, most of us are answering your calls on an app on our computer or cell phone. The supports you have for communication right now are going to look very different from district to district, but right now RingCentral is providing their services for free to K–12 schools (and health care). I know a lot of you have systems in place like Remind for communication with your staff and community, so I won’t go on here.
My blog post turned into peeling back the curtain a little bit for how we’ve set ourselves up to keep serving you disruption free during this crazy time, but I hope you’re able to find something in here helpful. We’ll keep sharing tools, tips, and tricks as this thing continues, and some advice and guidance on what you should be doing with them.
In the meantime, take a deep breath and focus on yourself and your family. You need to take care of yourself before you can be your best self for others, and one things for sure, you’ll still be needed. Let’s all make the best of our weekend. Maybe we’ll see you back here Monday with another blog post (and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook).
When the requirement for comprehensive school and district safety plans was first written into law nearly 20 years ago, the legislature had some very insightful comments on the need for such plans. The note accompanying RCW 28A.320.125 says:
“The legislature recognizes that there is a need to focus on the development and implementation of comprehensive safe school plans for each public school. The legislature recognizes that comprehensive safe school plans for each public school are an integral part of rebuilding public confidence. In developing these plans, the legislature finds that a coordinated effort is essential to ensure the most effective response to any type of emergency. Further, the legislature recognizes that comprehensive safe school plans for each public school are of paramount importance and will help to assure students, parents, guardians, school employees, and school administrators that our schools provide the safest possible learning environment.” (Bolds and italics are mine.)
When it comes to developing comprehensive safety plans, the process is more important than the product. I have often been asked if I can just share a sample of someone’s safety plan so that names and locations can be changed and adapted for a new site. The answer is no. Developing comprehensive safety plans is a process specific to a district or school. A comprehensive school safety plan takes time, effort, collaboration - and then practice, before starting over. For more information on developing district and school safety plans,
One component of a comprehensive safety plan involves planning for longer-term emergency situations – earthquakes and other natural disasters, other major threats and hazards; we have been facing one such situation head on for some time now with the COVID-19 pandemic virus. That safety plan component is a Continuity of Operations Plan, or simply a COOP. A COOP helps ensure that essential district or school functions continue during an emergency and its immediate aftermath. Again, there is no one-size-fits-all. Each COOP is developed to meet the specific needs of its district or school. More information on COOPs and COOP planning can be found on the Safety Center Continuity of Operations Plan page.
As we move through the current pandemic emergency, and as we approach a new normal, let’s all be well prepared for whatever comes next. If you need any assistance with your comprehensive school safety or COOP planning, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
In this unique edition of AWSP News, we discuss:
Prefer to read the news? Check out the script.
With the spread of the Coronavirus and the tremendous impact it’s having across our state, we know you have a ton of questions. First, what does the Coronavirus COVID-19 mean for AWSP? Just because all our districts are closing doesn’t mean all your troubles go away too. AWSP staff has always been a phone call or email away when you are in need, and this closure will not change our response time to you. Our office will continue to operate on your behalf. Some of us will continue to come into the office, some of us will be working from home, but all of us will still be available to serve you.
With all that said, there might be a hiccup or two along the way as we work through a new reality for a while. Check out our staff directory to find all the direct lines and email addresses to access our great staff, no matter the issue or question you might have. Email is probably the best and most reliable method to reach us as our “office” becomes more remote and fluid.
We are all traveling down this unprecedented road, just as you are, with more questions than answers. As principals, and a principal’s association, we always find ourselves sitting in the middle of the sandwich between policy and decision-makers and the teachers and kids we serve.
We understand the difficult position this puts you in as your community comes to you for answers. This situation is literally unfolding before our eyes on a day by day basis. It is important for you to remain calm and reassure the students and families in your school that we will rise through this, and at some point, resume normal operations.
As you field questions you don’t have answers for, it is best to say you don’t know and point people to messages, FAQs, and information coming from the district and state levels. To help you with that, we’ve been updating our COVID-19 resource page daily with state, federal, and international resources, along with news, updates, helpful resources, and even included a video with some helpful tips that ought to bring a much-needed smile to your face.
What does it mean for AWSP events? Our first concern is safety for our members, our staff, and our community. With that in mind, here’s what that means for us as we make day by day and week by week decisions:
The April AWSP Board meeting (your governance structure), originally scheduled for April 23-24 in Leavenworth, will shift from a face to face meeting to a scaled-down Zoom meeting. Details about the specifics of this modified meeting will be coming soon.
Along the same lines, principals in the state are represented by Elementary, Middle and High School Grade-Level Leadership Committees. These committees meet in conjunction with AWSP Board meetings and were also planning their next face to face gathering for April 24-25 in Leavenworth. Needless to say, those meetings have also been postponed. We will be working with each of the executive leaders of those committees to determine the next steps and Zoom options.
At this point, each education agency in the state is putting all professional learning on a “holding pattern” until further notice. We will be making official cancellation notices on a case by case and event by event basis. If you are currently planning on attending an event and haven’t heard an official word regarding a postponement and/or cancellation, just keep checking the website of the organization leading the event. For example, stay tuned on events If you are involved with Mentor Training, the CEO Network, Mastering Principal Leadership Network, etc.
We are using our cup-half full attitudes to hope that some of our major events like the WSSDA/WASA/AWSP 2020 Equity Conference on May 20th or the WASA/AWSP Summer Conference will not have to be rescheduled or canceled. These are major events designed to support K-12 leaders in our state. We will keep our fingers crossed that our society will emerge from this crisis well in advance of having to make tough decisions on these events. Our partner organizations are working on contingency plans if needed, but at this point, we are still encouraging people to register and plan for great future professional learning opportunities.
Principal leadership has always mattered, and in a time like this, it matters even more. You are the rock of your school and will be the one who brings everyone and everything back together. As much as you might be worried about your students, families, and school, don’t forget to take care of yourself at the same time. In order for you to lead effectively through and after this crisis, we need you to be your best self. Thank you for your leadership and don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need anything.
“Church ain’t over til the choir stops singing…” ~ Anonymous
Sine Die occurred and the 66th Legislature has concluded. The last act is the Governor’s responses to the various legislative proposals that have delivered to his office. Once his ‘singing’ is done, attention will shift to the upcoming national and local election.
There will be a more complete ‘End of Session’ summary to follow, but this is just an update on some selected bills.
EHB 1390 | At the request of the Select Committee on Pension Policy grants TRS/PERS Plans 1 beneficiaries an increase to their monthly benefit of three percent multiplied by the beneficiaries’ monthly benefit, not to exceed sixty-two dollars and fifty cents on the first $25,000 of benefit. This bill passed both Houses and being sent to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
SB 6383 | Concerning the retirement strategy funds in the plan 3 and the deferred compensation programs. Basically, retirement strategy funds offered by the State Investment Board in the Plans 3 and DCP (Deferred Compensation Program) may include investment in the State’s Commingled Trust Fund.
This bill passed both Houses and is being sent to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
ESSB 6189 | The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee will conduct a study to identify the number and types of part-time employees and their eligibility for SEB Board benefits. The report is due to the Legislature by September 1, 2021.
The Health Care Authority must analyze the impacts of changes to the requirement that school employers remit premiums for employees that waive medical coverage. The analysis is due to the Legislature by September 1, 2021.
When school districts report annually to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction on data related to substitute teachers, they must include the hours worked by each substitute and the number that were eligible for SEB Board benefits.
Beginning with the 2022 plan year, dual coverage under the SEB Board and benefits provided under the PEB Board is prohibited for the same type of coverage. The SEB and PEB Boards shall adopt policies to reflect this single enrollment requirement.
School employees’ eligibility for benefits provided by the SEB Board is maintained for the remainder of the school year if, during the Novel Coronavirus (COVID–19) declared state of emergency, the employee would otherwise lose eligibility because of a school closure or changes in operation, an employee being quarantined or required to care for a family member, or an employee must take care of a child during a school, day care, or child care provider closure.
HB 2458 | The SEB Board is provided with explicit authority to study and, subject to the availability of funding, provide the following employee-paid benefits: emergency transportation; identity protection; legal aid; long-term care insurance; noncommercial personal automobile insurance; personal homeowner’s or renter’s insurance; pet insurance; specified disease or illness-triggered fixed payment insurance, hospital confinement fixed payment insurance, or other fixed payment insurance offered as an independent, non-coordinated benefit regulated by the office of the insurance commissioner; travel insurance; and voluntary employees’ beneficiary association (VEBA) accounts.
If the Board is not providing these benefits a school district may provide these benefits to employees. With the exception of VEBA accounts, benefits provided by a district must be employee paid and may be administered using a payroll deduction.
If a district is found to be providing a benefit that competes with any form of basic or optional benefits that are provided by the Board the district, the provider, and the Health Care Authority are directed to work together to eliminate the conflict.
This bill passed both Houses and is being sent to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
ESHB 1813 | Mandates that the costs of contracted employee health and retirement benefits must be built into school district contracts for pupil transportation.
This bill died by Senate action placing it on the “X” file, but it is expected to return in some form during the 2020–2021 session.
SHB 2614 | Concerning paid family and medical leave. Makes numerous revisions to the Paid Family and Medical Leave program to provide clarity and improve the program’s administration, including waiting periods, conditional waivers, and supplementation of benefits. Exempts casual labor from the types of covered employment. Grants the Employment Security Department (ESD) statutory authority to administer oaths, take depositions, issue subpoenas, or compel a witness’ attendance in an administrative proceeding. Allows ESD to apply for and obtain a superior court order authorizing a subpoena in advance of its issuance. Authorizes employees to bring a private right of action to recover damages for an employer’s unlawful acts, under specified conditions. This bill is agency request legislation.
This bill passed both Houses and has been delivered to the Governor.
HB 2739 | Modifies definitions for purposes of the shared leave program. This bill originated with a constituent who teaches in the Edmonds School District and has a child with multiple chronic conditions that require intermittent attention. He found that, given current policy, employees would be required to be on full-time leave and exhaust all or nearly all leave to accept shared leave. Across Washington, many people going through difficult circumstances are helped by caring colleagues that support them through shared leave donations. This bill provides clarification on current law and also helps people who have intermittent health needs.
ESSB 5473 | Requires the Employment Security Department to study the impacts to the unemployment trust fund and employer contributions for unemployment insurance by allowing exceptions to provisions disqualifying individuals from receiving unemployment benefits for leaving work voluntarily without good cause related to: (1) inaccessible care for a child or vulnerable adult; (2) substantial increases in job duties or working conditions without commensurate increase in pay; (3) separation from a minor child. Requires ESD to meet at least three times with business and worker representatives to discuss the information gathered by ESD. Removes modifications to the term good cause for unemployment purposes for the separation due to inaccessible care for a child or vulnerable adult and related to separation from work related to the death, illness, or disability of a family member.
This bill passed both Houses and is being sent to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
SB 6123 | An agency must allow an employee to take paid leave as needed to participate in life-giving procedures if the employee provides written proof from an accredited medical institution, physician, or other medical professional that the employee participated in a lifegiving procedure. Leave granted to participate in life-giving procedures must not exceed thirty days in a two-year period.
This bill passed both Houses and has been delivered to the Governor.
Fred Yancey/ Mike MoranThe Nexus Group
Sometimes there is no solution. Sometimes there’s simply an end. As the clock continues to run… ~ Sara Ella
The session is moving toward Sine Die and there’s a great deal of unknowns still to come. It’s the part of the session where bills need to be voted out of their opposite house. Some bills will make it; others will die as the clock runs down.
Each chamber has lengthy lists of other bills eligible for debate and votes. Many won’t make it. There are at least four main areas yet to be dealt with, any of which will take a great deal of floor time as bills addressing these are debated. These
are bills that seek to establish a low carbon fuel standard, a clean air rule, guidelines protecting data privacy and those that deal with the repeal of the Boeing tax break. Additionally, time can be consumed by virtue of debating proposed amendments
attached to these or any remaining bills.
Here is a summary of bills that are still ‘alive’ to date, subject to change. Remember that no bill is really ‘dead’ until Sine Die. Bills with fiscal impacts can be deemed ‘necessary to implement the budget’ (NTIB)
or just plain deemed necessary by a majority of a legislative body.
Proposed bills dealing with providing a benefit increase to those members in TRS1 and PERS 1 plans can easily be seen as NTIB (Necessary to Implement the Budget) so will remain alive until Session ends.
SSB 5400 at the request of the Select Committee on Pension Policy grants TRS/PERS Plans 1 beneficiaries an increase to their monthly
benefit of three percent multiplied by the beneficiaries’ monthly benefit, not to exceed sixty-two dollars and fifty cents on the first $25,000 of benefit. Its companion bill is EHB 1390.
Both bills unanimously passed their respective houses. Both budgets also funded this cost of living adjustment. The challenge is that one of the bills has to pass out of the opposite house.
EHB 1390 has been moved to the Senate calendar where it awaits action to bring it to debate and a vote. SHB 5400 remains in House Rules.
SB 6383 | Concerning the retirement strategy funds in the plan 3 and the deferred compensation programs. Basically, retirement strategy
funds offered by the State Investment Board in the Plans 3 and DCP (Deferred Compensation Program), if the bill is passed, may include investment in the State’s Commingled Trust Fund.
This bill passed the Senate 47–0 and is now on the House calendar for debate and vote.
HB 2956 was introduced late. It proposes to take the extra dollars the state will receive once it repeals the Boeing tax preferences
the Legislature had granted them in the past to provide funding for the unfunded liabilities in the teachers’ retirement system and the public employees’ retirement system Plans 1. (Boeing has asked for this repeal to avoid receiving substantial
fines from the European Union.)
It is NTIB so will be one of many suggested uses of these ‘extra’ Boeing dollars. The Legislature is divided on how to handle Boeing’s request for this action. Some want it to return only with performance guarantees (read ‘jobs’);
others want no strings attached.
HB 2945 before House Rules is the bill repealing and then reinstating this tax preference. SB 6690, its companion is in Senate Rules.
ESSB 6189 | Directs the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee to study the number and types of part-time employees that are
eligible for School Employees’ Benefits Board coverage. Directs the Health Care Authority to analyze changes to the requirement that employers pay premiums when employees waive coverage. Reports are due Sept. 1, 2021. Prohibits dual enrollment
in School Employees’ Benefits Board and Public Employees’ Benefits Board plans. Previous TRIO’s have noted concerns with the bill as written.
This bill is in House Rules awaiting movement to the floor calendar.
HB 2458 | Concerning optional benefits offered by school districts.
Specifies that school district optional benefits may not compete with any basic or optional benefits offered through the School Employees’ Benefits Board. Grants school districts express authority to offer employee-paid, voluntary benefits to school
employees that are paid by employees through a payroll deduction that may fall under the SEB Board’s authority, but that are not being provided by the SEB Board. This can include personal lines homeowner’s insurance, private passenger
automobile insurance, and accident only, specified disease, and other fixed payment benefit insurance. Includes a legislative finding that supplemental fixed payment insurance plans offer financial protection and do not conflict or compete with basic
medical or disability plans.
This bill has been placed on the Senate floor calendar and is awaiting debate and a vote.
SHB 2325 the 2019–21 proposed Supplemental Budget, adopted an amendment that directs the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction,
in consultation with the healthcare authority, to study and report on school districts’ utilization of substitute teachers and the impact of the School Employees’ Benefits Board program on substitute teacher staffing. By December 1, 2020,
and in compliance with RCW 43.01.036, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction must submit the report to the appropriate fiscal and policy committees of the Legislature. The report must include the following:
The bill passed the Appropriations’ Committee and has been sent to House Rules for further action.
ESHB 1813 mandates that the costs of contracted employee health and retirement benefits must be built into school district contracts
for pupil transportation.
The bill was amended by the Senate Ways and Means Committee. Sen. Braun proposed and Chair Rolfes agreed to adopt a ‘null and void clause’ making this bill null and void if specific funding for the provisions of the bill is not provided in
the omnibus appropriations act. Three plus scenarios could play out:
This bill has been moved to the Senate floor calendar for debate and a vote.
SHB 2614 | Concerning paid family and medical leave.
Makes numerous revisions to the Paid Family and Medical Leave program to provide clarity and improve the program’s administration, including waiting periods, conditional waivers, and supplementation of benefits. Exempts casual labor from the types
of covered employment. Grants the Employment Security Department (ESD) statutory authority to administer oaths, take depositions, issue subpoenas, or compel a witness’ attendance in an administrative proceeding. Allows ESD to apply for and obtain
a superior court order authorizing a subpoena in advance of its issuance. Authorizes employees to bring a private right of action to recover damages for an employer’s unlawful acts, under specified conditions. This bill is agency request legislation.
Read the bill report.
It has passed the Senate (38–10–1) and sent back to the House for concurrence.
HB 2739 | Modifies definitions for purposes of the shared leave program. Allows an employee to maintain up to 40 hours of the applicable
leave in reserve and still be eligible for shared leave. Allows intermittent and nonconsecutive use of shared leave. Removes the requirement that an employee pursue and be found ineligible for industrial insurance wage benefits for shared leave eligibility.
Limits the amount of shared leave that an employee may receive when also receiving industrial insurance wage replacement benefits to 25 percent of base salary.
This bill has moved to the Senate floor calendar for debate and a vote.
ESSB 5473 | Requires the Employment Security Department to study the impacts to the unemployment trust fund and employer contributions
for unemployment insurance by allowing exceptions to provisions disqualifying individuals from receiving unemployment benefits for leaving work voluntarily without good cause related to: 1. inaccessible care for a child or vulnerable adult; 2. substantial
increases in job duties or working conditions without commensurate increase in pay; 3. separation from a minor child. Requires ESD to meet at least three times with business and worker representatives to discuss the information gathered by ESD. Removes
modifications to the term good cause for unemployment purposes for the separation due to inaccessible care for a child or vulnerable adult and related to separation from work related to the death, illness, or disability of a family member.
The bill passed the House (57–40) and has been sent back to the Senate for concurrence.
SB 6123 | Allowing state employee leave for organ donation. Requires agencies to allow employees to take paid leave as needed, not
exceeding 30 days in a two-year period, for participate in life-giving procedures.
This bill is in House Rules.
Addendum: Another area that legislators have focused on which easily can be viewed as benefits concerns prescription medications. Numerous bills have been proposed to deal with the high cost/affordability of prescription medication.
Some bills of note, if interested, are:
Unsolicited editorial: One of the most significant bills this session is SSB 6191, which seeks to assess the prevalence
of adverse childhood experiences (ACES) in middle and high school students to inform decision making and improve services. My professional experiences have shown me that ACES are the key determiner that affects student (and even adult) behavior. If
districts are given the resources to hire counselors who can assess the presence of and address issues associated with ACES, identified students will thrive. But the cynic in me says fiscal resources will never be enough to really address this need.
The SEB Board held a half-day meeting covering a few subjects. Use the briefing book to follow along the tabs below.
Three items that may be of interest are:
Lays out the legislative mandate SEBB/Health Care Authority (HCA) has to look at the consolidation of PEBB and SEBB programs.
Legislation was passed that stated the HCA must study the potential cost savings and improved efficiency in providing insurance benefits to the employers and employees participating in the public employees’ and school employees’ benefits board
systems that could be gained by consolidating the systems.
The consolidation options studied must maintain separate risk pools for Medicare eligible and non-Medicare eligible employees and retirees and assume a consolidation date of January 1, 2022. The study must be submitted to the committees of the House of
Representatives and the Senate overseeing health care and the omnibus operating budget by November 15, 2020.
Presents an update on SEBB program appeals. Since SEBB is up and running, beginning March 1, any subscriber appealing to the HCA will be directed to appeal directly with their district’s benefits’ administrator. The subscriber will have 30
days to appeal the benefit administrator’s decision to the HCA.
As a point of information, the bulk of appeals concerns dental plans (41%), dependent verification (28%) and other plan enrollment corrections (31%).
Training of the Benefit Administrators is ongoing. (See Tab 9)
Gives an overview of the SEBB implementation of medical Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSA) and Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP).
These are both salary reduction plans funded through voluntary payroll deductions. The briefing book gives some key specifics of these two options. Most notable is that if one doesn’t use the dollars ‘banked’ in the program, he/she will
lose those dollars which will be forfeited to the HCA. According to HCA staff, from their PEBB experience – for the 10 years from 2009 through 2018 –an average annual forfeiture of about $382,000 was defaulted to the HCA.
There are a few technical refinements that affect the forfeit. See Tab for more info. For example, FSA grants a 2 ½ month grace period to claim funds after the end of the plan year. There are a few other details that can help an individual avoid
a total forfeit.
FSA has 10,485 subscribers; DCAP has 1,666 subscribers. HCA is interested in improving participation. They are preparing a Request for Information from industry companies to gain more information.
The only public comment of note was by Julie Salvi, WEA. She asked in reference to Tab 6 above, that the SEBB not consider more changes in the health insurance arena. Districts and employees are still dealing with the huge changes involved in this new
conversion into SEBB. “Let this settle in, before advocating for any more changes.”
She also mentioned the efforts that interested parties and the HCA are doing to address the issue of an employee maintaining eligibility for coverage if his/her hours are reduced due to absences related to the Covid–19 virus. Language has been developed
to be added to ESSB 6189 to ensure that no employee loses benefits due to this issue. A draft of the proposed fix is attached.
(1) A school employee eligible as of February 29, 2020 for the employer contribution towards benefits offered by the school employees’ benefits board shall maintain their eligibility for the employer contribution under the following circumstances directly related or in response to Governor’s February 29, 2020, proclamation of a State of Emergency existing in all counties in the state of Washington related to the novel coronavirus (COVID–19):
(a) During any school closures or changes in school operations for the school employee; (b) While the school employee is quarantined or required to care for a family member, as defined by RCW 49.46.210(2), who is quarantined; and
(c) In order to take care of a child as defined by RCW 49.46.210(2), who is enrolled in school employee benefits, when the child’s:
i. school is closed,ii. regular daycare facility is closed, oriii. regular child care provider is unable to provide services.
(2) Requirements in section (1) of this act expires when the Governor’s State of Emergency the state of Washington related to the novel coronavirus (COVID–19) ends.
(3) When regular school operations resume, school employees shall continue to maintain their eligibility for the employer contribution for the remainder of the school year so long as their work schedule returns to the schedule in place prior to February
29, 2020 or, if there is a change in schedule, so long as the new schedule, had it been in effect at the start of the school year, would have resulted in the employee being anticipated to work the minimum hours to meet benefits eligibility.
(4) Quarantine, as used in subsection (1)(b) includes only periods of isolation required by the federal government, a foreign national government, a state or local public health official, a health care provider, or an employer.
Fred Yancey/ Mike Moran The Nexus Group
In this episode of AWSP News, we discuss:
What is all this you are hearing about increasing inclusionary practices professional learning for educators in Washington? A study by the National Council on Disability (2018) ranked Washington state in the lowest quintile for inclusion nationwide (44th out
of 50 states); data shows only 57% of students with disabilities are included in general education settings for 80-100% of
the school day. The 2019 Washington Legislature responded by passing Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1109, which provided $25,000,000
to OSPI over fiscal years 2020 ($10M) and 2021 ($15M) to create professional learning opportunities supporting better inclusionary practices, emphasizing coaching and mentoring. OSPI selected the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession (CSTP)
to plan and coordinate the Inclusionary Practices Professional Development Project (IPPDP).
AWSP is excited to be one of many organizations involved with the IPPDP cadre as an external partner navigating the implementation of better inclusionary practices for Washington state educators; our focus being, of course, YOU, the building learning
leaders. Since November 2019, AWSP has embarked on a “fact-finding” crusade to measure the understanding of what inclusion and inclusionary practices are from our members’ perspective and evaluate what the immediate needs are in
order to embed targeted inclusionary practices within all of or professional learning opportunities.
AWSP developed and deployed a survey to our members to gauge a better understanding of inclusionary best practices, perceived barriers and professional learning needs of school leaders. Between Nov. 22, 2019, and Feb. 24, 2020, AWSP provided
this survey to attendees at AWSP professional learning opportunities, board and committee meetings, as well as engagement through targeted emails and e-newsletters to all 3500+ active AWSP members. Through these efforts, AWSP received 88 responses.
This small, blind sample of active school administrators will help influence and guide AWSP’s future professional learning opportunities targeted to, and framed with, the lenses of equity and inclusion.
Categorizing these findings within a Culture, Systems, and Learning philosophy, as outlined within the School Leader Paradigm: Becoming While Doing, AWSP, utilizing a cycle of inquiry, will assist learning leaders in enriching their professional
pedagogy to build and lead learning organizations. Our goal is to help you, as a learning leader, disrupt and dismantle systemic isolation of students who have IEP plans and identify better practices for incorporating inclusive practices as professional
and educational expectations and norms.
When analyzed through the culture/systems/learning lenses, AWSP identified many Areas of Improvement [Table 1] based on survey responses. Further analysis of these improvement areas indicated overlap: there were several categories
that fell into two or more buckets on the culture, systems and learning continuum. AWSP identifies these areas as Immediate Needs [Table 2] and will work to embed relevant content addressing these needs within our professional
learning opportunities first.
Why such a push on inclusionary practices now? Because it is way overdue. Based on the body of research, the current reality of inclusionary practice programs in Washington state has much room for improvement. As learning leaders, we know you are all
focused on improving the culture, systems and learning in your buildings and are committed to learning about and supporting inclusionary best practices. AWSP will continue to provide ongoing professional learning embedded with inclusionary best practices
to assist you in increasing the academic, social and emotional outcomes for all students. AWSP is dedicated to supporting you through engaging professional learning as you navigate your way to improved inclusionary practices for all your students
and your entire school community.
If you did not take the opportunity to participate in our research, do not worry. AWSP will be sending out further surveys as this project progresses. We want to make sure all voices have a chance to participate and share understanding, because, no two
schools are the same.
We exist to strengthen your learning and your leadership.
For more information on the IPPDP Cadre and the work being done statewide, please visit: https://www.k12.wa.us/policy-funding/special-education-funding-and-finance/inclusionary-practices-professional-development-project
Table 1: Identified Areas for Improvement
Table 2: Identified Immediate Needs
 i National Council on Disability. (2018). The Segregation of Students with Disabilities. https://ncd.gov/sites/default/files/NCD_Segregation-SWD_508.pdf
 Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. (2019). Special Education Federal Child Count.
We have some openings to serve on our Grade Level Leadership Committees (GLLC), formerly our component boards. Join the many principals and assistant principals who've become more involved with us. We know how busy you are, but our board and committee
members consistently tell us about how incredibly value the networking and professional learning, both formal and informal, is to them.
Need more convincing? Check out AWSP President Cameron Grow's last column in Washington Principal.
Or read Dr. Scott Seaman's article about the new changes to our governance structure. Remember, AWSP is your professional membership organization and the more diverse and unique voices we have working on behalf of principals and assistant principals in our state, the stronger
we all are.
Want to know more or get involved? Email our GLLC contacts below:
Don't see an opening or a fit here? We still have lots of opportunities to serve on our more topical Advisory Councils.
Daylight Savings Time! Spring! St. Patrick’s Day! March is full. Here are some important topics rising to the top in March, as well:
A change is coming in August 2020 that you don’t want to miss. The way schools collect immunization records and comply with immunization rules will be different beginning with the 2020-21 school year. Effective August 1, 2020,
a state rule change will affect three areas of immunization compliance:
Students without immunization paperwork on the first day of school should not start school until the required paperwork is turned in. These students are not considered in conditional status. These changes were approved by the Washington State Board of Health in 2019.
Let’s explore each of these a little bit more.
In the past, students had 30 days from the first day of attendance to turn in their immunization documentation to the school. The new rule clarifies that students without immunization paperwork should not start school until the required paperwork is turned
in to the school. If they are missing vaccine doses, they must get any doses they are eligible to receive before starting school. Once they have provided the required paperwork
to the school that they have received all vaccines they are currently eligible to receive, they can start school. If more doses are needed in a series that require spacing for dosing purposes, the student is considered in conditional status,
and can be in school while completing the vaccine series. Children in conditional status must be making progress toward meeting the immunization requirements.
Knowing the counts occur within the first week of school, it is vitally important that you work with your teams to begin work now, as opposed to waiting.
There are some special situations which override the conditional status rules:
Starting on August 1, 2020, the revised rule requires medically verified immunization records for school and child care entry. A medically verified record includes one or more of the following:
The requirement for a Tdap dose is changing from grade 6-12 to grade 7-12. This means all students entering 7th through 12th grades must have one booster dose of Tdap vaccine.
In the 2020-2021 school year, all students in 7th grade must have received their Tdap dose on or after age 10 years.
Students in 8th through 12th grades must have received their Tdap dose on or after age 7 years.
It is important to communicate these changes with your staff, including those who register new students, and update your process for the 2020-21 school year.
The Department of Health in partnership with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction have created a webpage to support the implementation of this change. There you will find information, resources, pre written documents and parent letters as well as frequently asked questions.
This information can help answer many questions you may have about the rule change. If you have any other questions, contact the Department of Health.