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WASA Superintendent Workshop

Chelan, WA

May 6-8, 2012

The WASA Superintendent Workshop provides a powerful forum for superintendents to share and learn from each other. Action-oriented sessions provide methods for implementing proactive decision making to support the needs of Washington school districts and students.



AWSP/WASA Summer Conference

Spokane, WA

June 24-26, 2012

One of the strongest traditions for WASA members is the attendance at our annual WASA/AWSP Summer Conference at the end of June. A long established partnership with our principal colleagues is this event that is timed to close out our year. The opportunity to gather with administrator colleagues and wrap up the close of school, plan for the following year and simply reconnect with old friends, has become a tradition.

Programming includes national level keynote speakers, statewide practitioner concurrent sessions and other customized programming are all annual offerings. Participation over the three days includes participants from around the state as well as out of state professionals. Our numbers often swell to over 500.

The two associations rotate as lead organizations and a healthy competition exists to plan and deliver the high quality program we all deserve. We want to thank AWSP for such a strong partnership with this conference.


Click here for information on registration and to view the agenda.



WSASCD/OSPI/WASA Annual Conference

Seattle Airport Hilton

October 11-12, 2012

This annual workshop joins school and district administrators from every size district in the state of Washington. The specific location is rotated east-west and north-south to share the burden of travel.

The rich history of this workshop is grounded in a strong focus on teaching and learning to help improve the focus and energy of the participants improving student performance.

Click here for information.  Registration opens May 2012.



State Board of Education Update

The State Board of Education (SBE) has a number of significant projects going on this fall.   On of these projects is the “Meaningful High School Diploma”.  A subcommittee has made the following recommendations:

Washington State Board of Education

Meaningful High School Diploma Committee

Preliminary Recommendations


The Meaningful High School Diploma (MHSD) Committee has been working since

January 2007 on issues related to high school graduation. After seeking the counsel of

local and national resources, including an advisory committee of 18 stakeholders, the

MHSD Committee has produced a set of preliminary recommendations for revisions to

the high school graduation requirements. The Committee has also compiled a database

of current graduation requirements by district that will be posted on the Board’s website.

Preliminary Recommendations

At this juncture, the Committee has two major recommendations: 1) changes to the

minimum credit benchmarks that will bring high school graduation requirements nearly in

alignment with entrance requirements at Washington’s public four-year universities and

colleges – while preserving and encouraging options for students who intend to enter the

world of work upon graduation; and 2) a new set of requirements for what the Committee

is calling “lifelong learning skills” that we believe every graduate should be able to

demonstrate. The Committee would like the requirements to be effective for the class of


Changes to the credit requirements. The MHSD Committee recommends that the

Board make the following adjustments to the minimum state graduation credit


» Increase the minimum credit requirements from 19 to 22.

» Increase English requirements from 3 to 4.

» Increase math requirements from 2 to 3.

» Maintain science requirements at 2 credits, with one being a lab science.

» Increase social studies requirements from 2.5 to 3 credits.

» Maintain health & fitness requirements at 2 credits.

» Increase arts requirements from 1 to 2 credits.

» Add a 1 credit requirement in world language.

» Maintain occupational education requirements at 1 credit.

» Decrease elective requirements from 5.5 to 4 credits, and specify that the electives must be in the subject areas listed above.

Creation of lifelong learning skills requirements.

» Require students to demonstrate through course work, the Culminating Project or

extracurricular activity lifelong learning skills that would be assessed and

accounted for using strategies developed locally. The lifelong learning skills

would include: critical thinking/problem solving, teamwork/collaboration, public

presentation skill, media literacy, financial literacy, creativity, leadership, ethical

sense, civic responsibility, information/technology literacy, and career/life


The Committee also recommends that the state maintain a single (non differentiated)

diploma. No changes to the High School and Beyond Plan or the Culminating Project,

two Board-initiated components of graduation requirements, are being suggested at this


Next Steps

In the coming months, the Committee will address legislative directives to specify the

content of the math credits (2SHB 1906), evaluate progress toward a diploma of

students enrolled in vocationally intensive and rigorous career and technical education

programs (RCW 28A.230.090), and submit a revised definition of the purpose and

expectations for high school diplomas (E2SHB 3098). The Committee will also reach a

decision on including Tribal history, culture and government as a graduation requirement

(Memorandum of Agreement). All of these reports are due December 1, 2007.

Revisions to the preliminary recommendations will be informed by discussions with the

Board, Advisory Committee, and input from stakeholders at public outreach meetings to

be held in the fall.




CONTACT:   Rural Education Center, Jim Kowalkowski Director   

Phone Number: 509-725-1481

Email Address :


Rural School Districts Face Unique Challenges Attracting and Retaining Quality Teachers


Despite the perception that urban school districts have the most trouble holding on to quality teachers, a recent study has shown that rural school districts also face challenges attracting and training experienced, quality educators. In particular, beginning teachers move out of rural districts at a rate higher than their counterparts statewide.


“There have been very few research studies in Washington State that have focused on our small and rural schools. This report gives some important information regarding teacher and principal retention and mobility in small and rural districts in our state. While some policy makers in our state may have assumed that teacher retention is lower in districts where there are higher housing costs, this comprehensive study illustrates that this is indeed not the case,” said Jim Kowalkowski, Director, Rural Education Center.

Nearly half of Washington Sate's 296 school districts have fewer than 1,000 students, and schools in these districts face a unique set of challenges. Teachers must often be certified in several subject areas, for example, and have a high proportion of students who do not speak English as a first language.


With support from the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession, researchers at the University of Washington School of Education conducted a retention and mobility study of teachers in rural Washington public schools. Although there is some national research on rural school districts, this is the first major study of small and rural Washington state schools. Key findings include:

  • Overall teacher retention rates in small and rural districts are similar to districts statewide.
  • New teachers in small and rural districts move out of their district at somewhat higher rates than their counterparts statewide. Twenty percent of novice teachers in the small and rural districts change district compared with only 12 percent of novice teachers statewide.
  • Teacher retention rates are particularly low in Central Washington schools (Chelan, Douglas, Kittitas, Yakima , Klickitat).

"The study confirms other national research that shows the poorest areas with the highest poverty and highest number of minority students have the highest teacher turnover,” said Neal Kirby, Principal, Edison Elementary in Centralia and former state representative.

In central Washington, the differences are clear. Overall teacher retention in this area is just 53 percent, compared with 69 percent in southwest Washington. Additionally, just 26 percent of novice teachers are at the same school after five years in the central area of the state. This compares with 62 percent in the southwest.

Central Washington has high poverty rates and districts receive the least money from local levies, which means that they tend to have larger classes, less money for teacher training days, and fewer support personnel to help the teachers in the classroom


“As policy makers go about addressing the challenges of attracting and retaining a quality work force, the special characteristics of small and rural districts must be taken into account,” said Kowalkowski.


A full copy of the report can be found here.


The Rural Education Center (REC) is a statewide cooperative of small and rural school districts committed to achieving the highest quality of learning on behalf of children in our schools. The REC was founded in 1987 and currently has over 60 members (schools districts, Educational Service Districts, and several other educational organizations). The REC receives program support from Washington State University and Educational Service District #101.


The Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession (CSTP, pronounced “C-step”) was founded in 2003 as an independent, non-profit organization intent on helping students achieve by ensuring they have quality teachers in every classroom.


The data used in the research (commonly called S-275 data) was obtained from the Office for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Rural Education Center