Strengthening Student Educational Outcomes
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Strengthening Student Educational Outcomes

Strengthening Student Educational Outcomes

The 2013 Washington State Legislature passed a bill (ESSB 5946) into law that affirms the intent of our constitution to make ample provision for the education of all children. Lawmakers grouped the new statutes under the title Strengthening Student Educational Outcomes.

Funding is directed toward three areas of focus:

  • Early literacy programming for beginning readers
  • Rigorous adoption of instructional and assessment strategies proven to help all struggling learners
  • Integration of best practices for discipline that keep students in school and on a path of continuous academic improvement.

SSEO Guidance

Required Actions

Menus of Best Practices


Basic Education (Section 100): Learning to Read, Reading to Learn
In collaboration with the ESDs and AESD coordinators, OSPI will support early literacy in grades K through 4 by implementing the Washington State Comprehensive Literacy Plan and by providing research, professional development, models of identification and intervention strategies, and technical support. Additionally the Regional K-4 Literacy Coordinators will assist schools and districts in collecting data on students’ reading levels and in using data to intervene early for maximum student success.

Key components of ESSB 5946 part 1:

NEW LAP Requirements and Evidence-Based Practices (Section 200)
The use of best practices associated with increased student achievement magnifies the opportunities for student success. Schools are required to use data to develop and implement programs to assist underachieving students and reduce disruptive behaviors in the classroom.

LAP programs serve eligible students who need academic support for reading, writing, and math, or who need readiness skills to learn these core subjects. Modifications mean that districts must follow new requirements that impact the application process, administration, and programming. For state law, allowable activities, reporting, and other information: Learning Assistance Program

With the passage of ESSB 5946, the 2013 legislature added a new requirement to the Learning Assistance Program (LAP) that calls for expert panels to “assist in the development of a menu of best practices and strategies that will provide guidance to districts as they work to impact student academic achievement.”

Based on student growth data, districts will be able to choose from a menu of evidence-based best practices and instructional strategies to improve student outcomes and strengthen delivery of programs and services. The menus created by Expert panels will attend to the following areas of focus and schedules:

Key Components of ESSB 5946 Part 2:

  • Schools must use data to develop programs that address the needs of K-4 struggling readers prior to allocating LAP funds elsewhere
  • Expert panels convened by OSPI will develop menus of best practices for English language arts, mathematics, and for the reduction of disruptive behaviors in the classroom.
  • Districts may use up to five percent (5%) of its LAP allocation for development of partnerships with community-based organizations, Educational Service Districts and other local agencies to deliver academic and nonacademic supports to participating students who are significantly at risk of not being successful in school to reduce barriers to learning, increase student engagement, and enhance students’ readiness to learn. OSPI must approve any community-based organizations or local agencies before LAP funds may be expended.
  • Schools must report assessment data to OSPI, including the number of LAP students who gain at least one year of academic growth. Information on reporting procedures can be found in Bulletin 013-14.

Student Discipline (Section 300)
The same legislation makes progressive and substantial changes to the laws that govern student discipline within Washington’s Basic Education Act. These modifications mean that districts must follow new requirements that impact how districts and schools impose exclusionary discipline. There are 3 main areas of focus for this legislation:

  • Standards that define the causes of disciplinary actions—uniformly, consistently—and unify data collection
  • Due process that protects student rights and prescribes how districts handle suspensions and expulsions
  • Support for alternative practices to deal effectively with misconduct

Key components of ESSB 5946 Part 3:

  • OSPI will convene a Discipline Task Force to develop standard definitions and data collection standards for disciplinary actions
  • OSPI must develop and distribute rules to address changes in suspension and expulsion and due process requirements
  • Schools should make efforts to have suspended or expelled students return to the educational setting as soon as possible

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Washington’s Basic Education Act established structure and governance for the K-12 system.

The Washington Administrative Code (WAC) regulates procedure and process within schools and districts.


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