Podcast – Dana Miles, the 2023 Washington state Teacher of the Year

In our Putting Students First podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.

In this episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman interviews Dana Miles, the 2023 Washington state Teacher of the Year, about why language is so important to students in the deaf community, strategies for preparing students in the deaf community for what comes after high school, her personal education journey, what she would change if she were in charge of our state’s education system, and why she loves the Harry Potter saga.

 

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2021 Washington state Legislative Session Wrap-Up

By League of Education Voters Policy Team

 

We knew the 2021 Legislative Session was going to be different than past years and present some not-so-happy surprises along the way. The remote nature of the session created some significant challenges in shepherding legislation through the process and understanding why some legislation hit unexpected roadblocks along the way. In the face of these difficulties, some significant pieces of legislation have made their way out of the legislature and onto the Governor’s desk.

In response to the remote session and some of the economic concerns that were present at the onset of the session, fewer bills were introduced this year than most budget years in preparation for the challenges of a remote session during a pandemic. Despite the challenges of 2021, two historic pieces of legislation were able to make it through the legislature and onto the governor’s desk including the Fair Start for Kids Act (Senate Bill 5237), which substantially expands access to high-quality early learning and childcare, and the passage of a Capital Gains Tax (Senate Bill 5096), which will generate up to $500 million per year in additional funding to support education and early learning. Both of these must still be signed by Gov. Inslee to become law, but the Capital Gains Tax is expected to face legal challenges once it gets signed into law.

We are also happy to report that a few other key bills were passed and funded by the legislature, including: Read More

Podcast – 2020 Washington state Classified School Employees of the Year

Melito Ramirez (L) and Katie Lee

In our podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.

In this episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman asks 2020 Washington state Classified School Employees of the Year about their role in the education system, what advice they would give a new classified employee, what motivation they still carry with them from their first day on the job, how the COVID pandemic has impacted their work, and what school districts can do to better support employees in their role.

We were honored to interview:

Melito Ramirez, 2020 Washington state Classified School Employee of the Year and Regional Classified School Employee of the Year from Educational Service District 123, who works as Intervention Specialist at Walla Walla High School in the Walla Walla School District

Katie Lee, 2020 Regional Classified School Employee of the Year from Olympic Region Educational Service District 114, who is a Special Education Paraeducator at Vinland Elementary and Poulsbo Elementary Schools in the North Kitsap School District

 

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Podcast – The 2021 Washington state Teachers of the Year

From Top Left: Brooke Brown, Ben Ballew, Megan Anderson Reilly, Devin Bauer, Chenoa Meagher, David Buitenveld, Erin Lark, Jackie Hentges, David Tracewell

In our podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.

In this episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman asks the 2021 Washington state Teachers of the Year about their teaching philosophy, their greatest accomplishment in the classroom, how they would make teaching better in Washington state, what advice they would give a new teacher, what motivation they still carry with them from their first day in the classroom, how the COVID pandemic has impacted their work, what school districts can do to better support teachers, and what advice they would give to parents and educators during this time. We were honored to interview:

Brooke Brown, 2021 Washington state Teacher of the Year and Regional Teacher of the Year from Puget Sound Educational Service District 121, who teaches English and Ethnic Studies at Washington High School in the Franklin Pierce School District

Ben Ballew, 2021 Regional Teacher of the Year from Northwest Educational Service District 189, who teaches English at Arlington High School in the Arlington School District

Megan Anderson Reilly, 2021 Regional Teacher of the Year from Educational Service District 105, who teaches Spanish at AC Davis High School in the Yakima School District

Devin Bauer, 2021 Regional Teacher of the Year from Northeast Educational Service District 101, who is a Special Education Department Head and Learning Center teacher at Lakeside High School in the Nine Mile Falls School District

Chenoa Meagher, 2021 Regional Teacher of the Year from Educational Service District 123, who teaches kindergarten at Sagecrest Elementary School in the Kennewick School District

David Buitenveld, 2021 Regional Teacher of the Year from Capital Region Educational Service District 113, who teaches mathematics and is a remote learning coach at Nisqually Middle School in the North Thurston School District

Erin Lark, 2021 Regional teacher of the Year from Educational Service District 112, who science and STEM at iTech Preparatory School in the Vancouver School District

Jackie Hentges, 2021 Regional teacher of the Year from North Central Educational Service District 171, who teaches science at Brewster Middle School in the Brewster School District

David Tracewell, 2021 Regional Teacher of the Year from Olympic Region Educational Service District 114, who teaches English and Media Communications at Klahowya Secondary School in the Central Kitsap School District

 

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UPDATED – 2020 Washington Legislative Session Recap

By League of Education Voters Policy Team

The end of the 2020 legislative session saw the legislature and other state leaders working rapidly and tirelessly to address the spreading COVID-19 pandemic in our schools and communities. We are incredibly grateful for the efforts of our public officials and public servants in these uncertain times to ensure that our communities are safe, and our most impacted students and families get the support they need.

The 2020 legislative session was a short, 60-day session, where legislators worked on a supplemental budget to the 2019-2021 biennial budget passed in 2019. While there were many robust debates and promising proposals regarding education investments leading up to the end of session, the need to prioritize investing in the response to COVID-19 and prepare for potential impacts on our economy, families, and healthcare system took precedent in the final budget. You can read our summary of the final 2020 supplemental budget here. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 crisis and growing economic impacts by the time of budget signing, the Governor had to make the difficult decision to veto a number of budget items that were passed by the Legislature.

During the 2020 session, League of Education Voters pursued policy priorities in four issue areas: early childhood education, student supports, special education, and local K-12 funding. Read More

2020 Legislative Priority: Special Education Funding

By League of Education Voters Policy Team

In the 2020 legislative session, League of Education Voters will prioritize policies to help lay the foundation of an equitable educational system that provides what students need, when and where they need it.

We believe students come first, and we are dedicated to designing an equitable education system that serves all students based on their strengths, supports their needs, and provides the resources they need to be successful.

We are dedicated to designing an equitable education system that serves all students based on their strengths, supports their needs, and provides the resources they need to be successful.

We are committed to working to close gaps experienced by historically and systemically underserved students — including students of color, students in poverty, students qualifying for special education services, students learning English, and students impacted by trauma.

We believe this will lead to all students experiencing greater success and reaching their full potential.

HOW DOES FUNDING FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION WORK IN WASHINGTON?

Students at Summit Atlas Public School - League of Education Voters
Students at Summit Atlas Public School

Districts receive both state and federal funding to provide educational services and supports to students with disabilities, with state funding providing the biggest portion of funding. There are several factors that determine how much special education funding a district receives, but the three factors that most impact the level of state funding for special education for school districts are:

  • Special Education Enrollment: Each student regardless of disability or type of service received will generate the same amount of funding per student for a single district, but districts are capped at generating special education funding for a maximum of 13.5% of overall student enrollment. For example, if a district has a special education enrollment of 15.0% they will only generate special education funding for 13.5% of students.
  • Two-tiered Funding model: Starting in 2020-21, a two-tiered funding model will go into effect that will provide different levels of funding depending on what portion of the school day a student receiving special education services spends in a general education setting. Students spending 80% or more of their time in a general education setting will generate a slightly higher funding amount than students spending less than 80% of their school time in a general education setting.
  • District Teacher Salary Funding: The amount of funding each student generates differs by district and can vary by more than $1,000 per student across the state. There are several factors that go into each district’s per student funding amount, but the most significant is a district’s state-funded teacher salary amount. The higher a district’s state-funded teacher salary the more special education funding per student they will generate. (1)

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2020 Legislative Priority: Special Education

By League of Education Voters Policy Team

In the 2020 legislative session, League of Education Voters will prioritize policies to help lay the foundation of an equitable educational system that provides what students need, when and where they need it.

We believe students come first, and we are dedicated to designing an equitable education system that serves all students based on their strengths, supports their needs, and provides the resources they need to be successful.

We are dedicated to designing an equitable education system that serves all students based on their strengths, supports their needs, and provides the resources they need to be successful.

We are committed to working to close gaps experienced by historically and systemically underserved students — including students of color, students in poverty, students qualifying for special education services, students learning English, and students impacted by trauma.

We believe this will lead to all students experiencing greater success and reaching their full potential.

WHAT IS SPECIAL EDUCATION?

Students at Summit Atlas Public School - League of Education Voters
Students at Summit Atlas Public School

With the passage of federal legislation in the 1970s, students with disabilities were guaranteed legal rights to access a public education that would accommodate their specific learning needs. Prior to guaranteeing the right to access education, it was common practice for students with disabilities to be actively excluded from public education settings. Federal legislation was intended to ensure that all students have the ability to access the public education system through the program of special education. (1)

The program of special education serves over 150,000 students across 295 Washington school districts. Special education provides services and supports to students with disabilities to help students access a “free and appropriate education.” In order to qualify for special education services, students must have their school performance “adversely affected” by one of the following qualifying conditions: (2) Read More

Podcast – The 2020 Washington state Teachers of the Year

In our podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.

In this episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman asks the 2020 Washington state Teachers of the Year about their teaching philosophy, their greatest accomplishment in the classroom, how they would make teaching better in Washington state, what advice they would give a new teacher, and what motivation they still carry with them from their first day in the classroom. We were honored to interview:

Amy Campbell, 2020 Washington state Teacher of the Year and Educational Service District 112 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Camas School District

Analisa McCann, 2020 Northeast Educational Service District 101 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Central Valley School District

Lisa Summers, 2020 Capital Region Educational Service District 113 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Tumwater School District

Kathryn Lebuis Hartman, 2020 Olympic Region Educational Service District 114 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Port Angeles School District

Reid Sundblad, 2020 Puget Sound Educational Service District 121 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Highline School District

Rebecca Estock, 2020 Educational Service District 123 Regional Teacher of the Year from the North Franklin School District

Malia Renner-Singer, 2020 North Central Educational Service District 171 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Cascade School District

 

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Podcast – 2020 Washington state Teacher of the Year Amy Campbell

In our podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.

In this episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman asks 2020 Washington state Teacher of the Year Amy Campbell, a special education teacher at Helen Baller Elementary School in the Camas School District, how best to handle transitions for students who need special education services, why inclusion is so important, and how she would change Washington’s education system.

 

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2019 Legislative Priority: Special Education Funding

By League of Education Voters Policy Team

We believe students come first. We are focused first and foremost on meeting the needs of every student.

We are dedicated to designing an equitable education system that serves all students based on their strengths, supports their needs, and provides the resources they need to be successful.

We are committed to working to close gaps experienced by historically and systemically underserved students— including students of color, students in poverty, students qualifying for special education services, students learning English, and students impacted by trauma. We believe this will lead to all students experiencing greater success and reaching their full potential.

HOW DOES FUNDING FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION WORK IN WASHINGTON?

Districts receive both state and federal funding to provide educational services and supports to students with disabilities, with state funding providing the biggest portion of funding. There are several factors that determine how much special education funding a district receives, but the two factors that most impact the level of state funding for special education for school districts are:

  • Special Education Enrollment: Each student regardless of disability or type of service received will generate the same amount of funding per student for a single district, but districts are capped at generating special education funding for a maximum of 13.5% of overall student enrollment. For example, if a district has a special education enrollment of 15.0% they will only generate special education funding for 13.5% of students.
  • District Teacher Salary Funding: The amount of funding each student generates differs by district and can vary by more than $1,000 per student across the state. There are several factors that go into each district’s per student funding amount, but the most significant is a district’s state-funded teacher salary amount. The higher a district’s state-funded teacher salary the more special education funding per student they will generate. (1)

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