2015 "No School Alone" Report.
In 2014 legislation was enacted to direct the Education Research and Data Center to contract with Washington State University to conduct a geographic analysis to identify areas where family factors such as employment and health status correlated with academic and behavioral indicators of student success. The report, entitled "No School Alone: How Community Risks and Assets Contribute to School and Youth Success," was published in 2015.
The report uses as its unit of analysis "locales," which are school districts or groups of school districts. The report addresses:
The eight recommendations of the report include:
Social-emotional learning helps students build awareness and skills in managing emotions, setting goals, establishing relationships, and making responsible decisions that support success in school and life.
In 2019 legislation was enacted that directed the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to adopt SEL benchmarks and standards and created the Social Emotional Learning Committee (SEL Committee). The SEL Committee was directed to develop a trauma-informed, culturally sustaining, and developmentally appropriate statewide SEL framework, and to identify best practices for schools implementing the SEL framework. Students in kindergarten through grade three must receive instruction in SEL.
School districts are required to use one state-funded professional learning day every even year to train school district staff in one or more of the following topics: Social-emotional learning, trauma-informed practices, recognizing and responding to emotional or behavioral distress, consideration of ACEs, mental health literacy, antibullying strategies, or culturally sustaining practices.
Institutional education providers are required to use one state-funded professional learning day every year to provide training on specified topics, for example: the cognitive, psychosocial, and emotional development of adolescents; mental and behavioral health literacy; and racial literacy and cultural competency. An institutional education provider is a school district or other entity providing education services to youth in an institutional education facility, for example, a county juvenile detention center or a state long-term juvenile institution.
The State Board of Education is responsible for implementing a standards-based accountability framework that is used to identify schools and school districts for recognition, continuous improvement, and additional state support.
In 2020 the Governor prohibited most schools from conducting in-person educational, recreational, and other K-12 school programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2021 the Governor issued an emergency proclamation noting that Washington children and youth are experiencing a mental and behavioral health crisis as a result of the pandemic, exacerbated by isolation and difficulty engaging with remote learning.
The Education Research and Data Center must contract with Washington State University to produce two reports for the Legislature. The first report must be completed by December 1, 2023, and must analyze educational programs, services, and related academic and nonacademic supports provided by public schools and community-based organizations in partnership with schools. The report must include six items, at a minimum, for example:
The second report must be completed by December 1, 2024, and must update the data analysis conducted for the 2015 report, including the geographic analysis and, where possible, highlight the same locales highlighted in the earlier report. It must also disaggregate student data by several dimensions, including race, low-income status, and special education status.
Subject to available funding, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) must distribute funding to school districts and institutional education providers to partner with certain community-based organizations to offer cross-sector trainings on specified topics. The community-based organizations must be those that provide youth with activities that complement and support classroom-based instruction and can improve student learning, behavior, and achievement.
Funding must be prioritized first to institutional education providers and then to school districts in a community identified as having a high number of adverse childhood experiences, prioritized to the school districts who are the lowest performers under the state's accountability framework.
The cross-sector trainings must be on one of the following topics: Social-emotional learning; mental and behavioral health management; teaching students to be peer mediators; and antiharassment, intimidation, and bullying. The Center for the Improvement of Student Learning within the OSPI must identify training programs on these topics that are either designed for cross-sector implementation or be able to be modified for cross-sector implementation.
The cross-sector trainings must be offered to staff at the school district who have regular, sustained interactions with students and to relevant student support professionals at the community-based organizations. The trainings must, to the extent possible, be offered in face-to-face settings.