Menus of Best Practices & Strategies
Students throughout the state of Washington receive tutoring, extra classes, summer programs and other interventions with the help of funds from the Learning Assistance Program (LAP). The state of Washington invests several hundred million dollars per year in LAP to help students struggling to meet grade level standards. About 13 percent of students statewide are served by LAP. Other students struggle, but are not served by LAP. They may be served by other federal and state programs.
In 2013, the Legislature passed a bill (ESSB 5946) requiring the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to improve the LAP system and K–4 literacy outcomes. Now, OSPI convenes expert panels annually to identify the practices that best help students grow and succeed academically. Their work informs the Menus of Best Practices for Math, English Language Arts (ELA), and Behavior. Each year, districts report on the academic growth of students receiving LAP services. Districts can either use the best practices from the menus, or provide data showing that their alternative practices are effective in achieving student growth. These provisions are detailed in RCW 28A.165.
The Legislature also passed a companion bill authorizing the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) to identify evidence-based and research-based best practices for student interventions. WSIPP annually updates the Inventory of Evidence- and Research-Based Practices: Washington's K–12 Learning Assistance Program and collaborates with OSPI on the development of the menus.
English Language Arts
English Language Arts Menu of Best Practices and Strategies - The ELA menu targets two groups: LAP students in grades K–12 and all students in grades K–4. At the heart of the menu is a focus on accelerating student ELA performance. This menu highlights when a strategy is for K–4 ELA core instruction and when it is for ELA LAP. The practices align to Washington State K–12 Learning Standards for English Language Arts (Common Core State Standards).
Mathematics Menu of Best Practices and Strategies - The math menu offers best practices for LAP students in grades K–12 as well as connections to best practices for all students as aligned with the Washington State K–12 Learning Standards for Mathematics and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Many of these practices are considered best practice for core instruction as well. Specific population considerations for students are included within each of the best practice and strategies sections.
Behavior Menu of Best Practices and Strategies - The behavior menu provides best practices for LAP students in grades K–12 and focuses on addressing behavior needs to improve student academic outcomes. The work of the behavior panel aligns with the work of the OSPI Student Discipline Task Force, the Educational Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee (EOGOAC), and the Social Emotional Learning Benchmarks Workgroup. The practices and strategies in the behavior menu also reflect research-based guidance from the U.S. Department of Education on how to improve school climate and discipline.