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. They endorsed this support for basic education with funding directed toward 3 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.
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:
- School districts will implement a comprehensive early literacy program that includes consistent use of screening assessments to identify at-risk readers Student not reading at grade level must be supported by interventions based on the Menu of Best Practices for ELA
- Report cards in K-4 grades must show reading progress and achievement levels for all students
- Schools must meet with the parents of third grade students not at grade level to discuss improvement/intervention plans to bring students to grade level.
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:
- K-4 and K-12 strategies for English Language Arts/Reading — Menu of Best Practices for English Language Arts
- K-12 strategies for mathematics—available July 1, 2015
- K-12 strategies for reducing disruptive classroom behaviors—available July 1, 2015
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.
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: