Learning Assistance Program (LAP)
LAP programs serve eligible students who need academic support for reading, writing and math,
or who need readiness skills to learn these core subjects. With special emphasis on reading literacy in the early grades, schools use their state LAP funds to deliver supplemental services that give these students the strong start they need for academic success.
In 2013, the state legislature made substantial changes to the law that created
the Learning Assistance Program. These modifications mean that districts must
new requirements that impact the application process, administration and programming.
In law — Chapter 28A.165 RCW
| Final Bill
New Focus — Literacy & Best Practices
RCW 28A.165.005 Section (2) outlines the legislative focus on literacy and best practices.
The Law — Changes, First Focus, Best Practice Menus & More
This index and the content below is designed to highlight several of the key statutes that make up
Chapter 28A.165 RCW — Learning Assistance Program. Not every RCW statute related to the Learning Assistance Program (LAP) is detailed or outlined here. Instead, we focus on those specific areas of compliance with which many districts struggle, and several of the laws that changed when the legislature codified ESSB 5946 — Strengthening Student Outcomes.
What Stays the Same
- LAP remains supplemental to core instruction. Districts can use LAP money to provide supplemental reading, writing, mathematics, as well as readiness interventions that serve these core subjects.
- LAP can fund supplemental instructional services across K-12, and
fund academic support programs for students in grades 11 and 12 who are
at risk of not meeting local and state graduation requirements.
K-4 Literacy — First Focus
Focus on K-4 Reading
K-4 students who struggle with reading or who do not have the readiness
skills that will improve their ability to read are the first focus of the
Learning Assistance Program. Districts must comply with this new requirement
beginning with the 2015-2016 school year.
Here’s how the law —
RCW 28A.165.005 — defines this focus on reading literacy.
Purpose — Focus on reading literacy
(2) School districts implementing a learning assistance program shall focus first on addressing the needs of students in grades kindergarten through four who are deficient in reading or reading readiness skills to improve reading literacy.
40% or More at Basic or Below Basic
In the 2015-16 school year, every school in which 40% or more students scored at
basic or below basic on the third grade state English Language Arts (ELA)
assessment, Measurements of Student Progress
(MSP) — in the previous school year, 2014-15, and every year following — must
integrate best practices and strategies proven to increase ELA literacy across
RCW 28A.655.235 Section (2)(a)
Beginning in the 2015-16 school year, in any school where more than forty percent of the tested students received a score of basic or below basic on the third grade statewide student assessment in English language arts in the previous school year, as calculated under this subsection (2), the school district must implement an intensive reading and literacy improvement strategy from a state menu of best practices established in accordance with subsection (3) of this section or an alternative strategy in accordance with subsection (4) of this section for all students in grades kindergarten through four at the school.
Here’s how the law defines “basic.”
- "Basic" means a score on the statewide student assessment at a level two in a four-level scoring system.
- "Below basic" means a score on the statewide student assessment at a level one in a four-level scoring system.
- "Not meet the state standard" means a score on the statewide student assessment at either a level one or a level two in a four-level scoring
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Menus of Best Practices & Strategies
The new LAP law addresses the use of best practices and strategies as a way to increase student achievement.
Use of best practices that have been demonstrated through research to be associated with increased student achievement magnifies the opportunities for student success.
New LAP requirements stipulate that:
- OSPI convene a panel of experts to develop a menu of best practices and strategies proven to increase literacy in English Language Arts (ELA). Districts must select best practices and strategies from the ELA menu — available July 1, 2014 — and updated annually.
RCW 28A.165.235 Section (3)
- OSPI convene a panel of experts to develop a menu of best practices and strategies proven to increase math literacy and address disruptive classroom behaviors — available July 1, 2015 — and updated annually.
RCW 28A.165.235 Section (3)
LAP Panels & the Menus of Best Practices — on the OSPI site
In Section (4)
RCW 28A.655.235, the new law covers the use of strategies not compiled on the state menus.
School districts may use an alternative practice or strategy that is not on a state menu developed under subsection (3) of this section for two school years initially. If the district is able to demonstrate improved outcomes for participating students over the previous two school years at a level commensurate with the best practices and strategies on the state menu, the office of the superintendent of public instruction must approve use of the alternative practice or strategy by the district for one additional school year. Subsequent annual approval by the superintendent of public instruction to use the alternative practice or strategy is dependent on the district continuing to demonstrate an increase in improved outcomes for participating students.
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One Year to Make the Transition
Districts can maintain the activities and services developed for 2012-13 LAP
applications through June 2014. However, if you decide to take a transitional
year, you must determine first how your schools will integrate the new
requirements. The plan your district develops to integrate the new LAP
requirements must be in place for the 2014-2015 school year.
There are three key changes that relate to the application process for this important support for state schools.
- No requirement to submit a LAP application/plan to OSPI
- No requirement to develop an Accelerated Learning Plan for every
- New requirement — submit a LAP Assurance form through
iGrants — Form
Funding Formula for Districts
Your allocation is based on the number of fulltime equivalent students (FTE) enrolled in October — grades K through 12 — who were eligible for the free and reduced-price lunch program (FRPL) in the preceding school year.
Chapter 28A.165 RCW outlines the procedures by which a school district becomes eligible for LAP funds and how the state distributes those funds.
Here’s how the state calculates your base allocation.
FRPL % you reported to OSPI in October of the preceding school year
X the annual average FTE (AAFTE) for K–12 students reported on the P-223 for the preceding school year (includes Running Start)
X the funding rate determined by the Legislature each year.
Access LAP Funds
- Contact your district business manager for the 2013–14 LAP allocation.
- Complete and sign the assurance form —
iGrants Form Package 218.
These assurances are due every September and outline end-of-year
reporting required under the new legislation.
Allowable Program Activities & Services
Districts will find a list of allowable program activities under the new LAP legislation and a connection to the menus of best practices and strategies.
Program activities — Partnerships with local entities — Development and use of state menus of best practices and strategies. Section (2) outlines the kind of teaching and learning activities allowable under the Learning Assistance Program.
Districts seeking to partner with other organizations to deliver LAP services will find guidance in
Up to five percent of a district's learning assistance program allocation may be used 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. The office of the superintendent of public instruction must approve any community-based organization or local agency before learning assistance funds may be expended.
OSPI is charged with the responsibility to “evaluate the effectiveness of a district's allocation and expenditure of resources and monitor school district fidelity in implementing best practices.” Monitoring must occur no less than once every four years.
RCW 28A.165.065 Monitoring
The new LAP law describes the primary purpose of program monitoring this way.
“…to evaluate the effectiveness of a district's allocation and expenditure of resources and monitor school district fidelity in implementing best practices.”
Student Data Counts & LAP Student Data Application
There are also new requirements in the LAP legislation related to the use of
data. Districts should refer to
RCW 28A.165.005 Section (1) to find out how the
new statute directs districts to use data to help students who struggle
academically and reduce their disruptive behaviors.
Learn how to use the new LAP student data application
user guide │
Tech Support & Questions
District Records & Reporting
Make sure you record the annual entrance and exit performance data in CEDARS – state’s (individual) student data system.
End-of-year LAP reports are due August 1 — beginning with the 2014-15 school year.
RCW 28A.165.100 Section 2 outlines what districts must include in their reports.
(a) The amount of academic growth gained by students participating in the learning assistance program
(b) The number of students who gain at least one year of academic growth
(c) The specific practices, activities, and programs used by each school building that received learning assistance program funding
Read Bulletin 013-14 to find out about the data reporting requirement detailed in RCW 28A.165.100.
New Reporting Procedures for LAP Student Data
- Student-level program data (CEDARS) | New Student Data Application — webinar
- How to report the amount of academic growth
- Student-level assessment data — necessary to justify enrollment, 1) optional for 2013-14, 2) required 2014-15
What You Can Do Now
- Immediate action items for districts
Frequently Asked Questions
- State definition of academic growth
- Role of assessment data in the measurement of student growth
- 4 examples that highlight ways to capture student growth data.
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Timeline for Districts, Schools and OSPI to Integrate New Requirements
New LAP Requirements Are Law
||Activity or Deliverable
July 1, 2014 and update annually
Publish a menu of best practices and strategies able to improve reading and literacy.
2014-15 school year
Add student performance data (entrance and exit)
to CEDARS. RCW 28A.165.100
August 1, 2014
Report (to OSPI) the academic growth gained by
students participating in the Learning Assistance Program. RCW 28A.165.100
2015-16 school year
Integrate an intensive reading and literacy
improvement strategy from a state menu of best practices or an
July 1, 2015
Publish menus of best practices and strategies
able to help students who struggle with English Language Arts and
mathematics, and to reduce disruptive behavior.
2016-17 school year
Must use a practice or strategy from the state
2016-17 school year
Have the option to use a practice or strategy
that is not on a state menu for two years.