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  • Writer's pictureChris Reykdal

Superintendent Reykdal’s First Term Accomplishments

Updated: Oct 12, 2020

As State Superintendent, you are part of a team along with students, families, educators, business leaders, legislators, and the Governor’s Office. We do not achieve anything by ourselves, but rather, the State Superintendent must have a long-term vision and a team to build support around major policy, budget, and outcome initiatives. Here is a sample of what we have achieved together over the last four years:

Prepared Students for 21st Century Success

  1. Laid out a 6-year vision for public education in Washington State, which included, full McCleary Funding, dual language instruction for all students beginning in kindergarten, granting students more pathways to graduation, offering longer breaks for students in recess and lunch, and restructuring our K-12 calendars to accommodate more sustainability for educators and less summer learning loss for students.

  2. Championed dual language education, including expanding the dual language grant program to over forty school districts with funds for creating heritage language programs for immigrant and refugee students and Indigenous language programs for Native students.

  3. Returned civics education classes to our schools as a mandatory graduation requirement.

  4. Secured funding to expand the Core Plus program, which provides high school students with training in skilled trades programs, to include the maritime and construction industries in addition to existing manufacturing options.

  5. Championed a new graduation policy ensuring students have multiple pathways to demonstrate readiness for their next step, including through career and technical education. We need to get 70% or more of our students to earn degrees and industry recognized credentials to maintain our competitiveness!

Supports for Students

  1. Expanded transition kindergarten programs to give students who need additional support an 18th month kindergarten experience by starting them early.

  2. Created a funding incentive to encourage school districts to include students with disabilities in learning environments with their non-disabled peers.

  3. Demolished outdated student discipline rules and wrote new rules aiming to end race-based and ability-based disproportionality in discipline and reduce learning lost because of discipline. The rules emphasize positive behavior supports for students, requires greater student and family engagement, and mandates additional transparency from school districts through data.

  4. Developed and implemented a new statewide accountability plan that places unprecedented focus on closing opportunity gaps and making student achievement data more transparent.

  5. Put forward a budget request for the 2020 Legislative Session to place unprecedented importance on student well-being and mental health by funding additional school counselors, family and community engagement coordinators, nurses, and other staff focused on students’ social and emotional health.

  6. Secured funds for additional school counselors targeted to elementary and middle schools with the greatest need for more support.

  7. Required every school district to continue providing meals to students who needed them during the COVID-19 pandemic, even while school facilities were closed.

  8. Ensured no student would receive a failing grade during the spring of 2020 when schools unexpectedly switched to remote learning due to COVID-19 school facility closures. Instead, we focused on standards-based grading and used an “Incomplete” designator so schools had a responsibility to engage students with additional learning opportunities over the summer and this fall.

  9. Supported additional funding for youth suicide prevention programs, as well as legislation to provide professional training to help school staff recognize signs of emotional or behavioral distress in students.

  10. Secured an additional $2 million to target supports to increase graduation rates for students in foster care.

  11. Advocated for legislation to feed more students eligible for free and reduced-price meals by eliminating the requirement for individual student applications.

Protected Students’ Civil Rights

  1. Affirmed Native American students’ right to wear tribal regalia to their graduation ceremonies.

  2. Stood up for students’ civil rights in the face of federal executive orders that could harm our students and their access to a high-quality, inclusive, learning environment.

  3. Affirmed that Washington’s schools are safe for undocumented students, and all young people living in Washington have a right to a free public education.

  4. Joined a West Coast advocacy team with California and Oregon to oppose federal changes to the concept of gender and to send a joint letter to our congressional delegations asking them to maintain funding for Title II, Part A grants to support effective teaching.

  5. Led a strong defense of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and urged the public to push their congressional representatives to protect those impacted. We directly communicated with Washington’s congressional delegation to protect DACA students.

Supports for Educators

  1. Increased educator salaries so our state is better able to recruit and retain the highest quality educators for our children. And so educators can retire with security and dignity.

  2. Led Washington state to continue being a top state nationally in the number of National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs), the most rigorous certification process for teaching in the nation, which leads to more effective teaching.

  3. Expanded healthcare to tens of thousands of school employees.

  4. Supported the creation of a bilingual educator initiative focused on recruiting and developing bilingual high school students to be future bilingual teachers and counselors.

  5. Expanded the Beginning Educator Support Team (BEST) program, a support model proven to retain new teachers.

  6. Secured $25 million for professional training and mentoring for teachers to implement inclusionary practices in the classroom.

  7. Supported legislation requiring Native American curriculum to be integrated into teacher preparation courses.

  8. Affirmed that Washington state would not allow teachers to be armed while on school property, despite proposals by the federal government.

Increased Student Achievement

  1. Raised graduation rates in our state to a record high, while simultaneously raising expectations for students.

  2. Increased graduation rates for all student groups by race and ethnic category.

  3. Rose to a top 15 state nationally in English language arts and math on the only nationwide assessment that allows for accurate comparisons between states (National Assessment of Educational Progress).

  4. Increased the percentage of high school students completing dual credit courses, which allow students to earn both high school and college credit at the same time.

Biggest Funding increase in State History

  1. Increased K-12 investments by over $4 billion per year or $3,500 per student.

  2. Increased the funding model to support students with disabilities; the first increase in funds in three decades.

  3. Secured record-high funding for school construction projects, providing schools with the funds necessary to ensure buildings are healthy and effective learning spaces.

  4. Secured additional funds in the Capital Budget to address school building deficiencies in rural areas and seismic retrofits to keep our children and staff safe.

  5. Ensured local timber revenue stays with local school districts.

  6. Partnered with the Legislature and the Governor’s Office to transform our state’s K–12 finance system to bring it into legal compliance. The McCleary funding plan” (2017) satisfies the basic requirements of K–12 education and will serve as a foundation for the much larger investments and transformation changes we will need over the next 20 years and beyond. The new plan:

· Fully funds all-day kindergarten;

· Ensures needed funds for student transportation;

· Added more than $1 billion biennially to support students with disabilities;

· Improves educator compensation, especially for beginning teachers;

· Restores professional development days for all school employees;

· Better supports struggling students and students in high-poverty schools;

· Improves pathways in career and technical education;

· Reduces reliance on local property taxes to fund schools;

· Increases transparency and accountability of education funds; and

· Creates a new statewide health and benefits plan for all school employees.

Expanded Parent & Family Engagement

  1. Built first two-year budget request based on the input of more than 30,000 parents and families, educators, students, and community members.

  2. Held a series of community forums across the state in late 2018 to talk through the state’s recent funding changes, advocate for the transformation of education to continue, and answer questions directly from students and their families.

  3. Created new parent engagement expectations for local school districts as part of our new federal accountability rewrite.

Transformation Underway at OSPI

  1. Reorganized and diversified the OSPI Cabinet, making progress to ensure our leadership team better reflects the diversity of our students. Over his tenure, Superintendent Reykdal increased the percentage of women on his Cabinet from 17% to 67%, and the percentage of people of color from 11% to 22%.

  2. Rewrote our mission, vision and values statement with a stand-alone equity statement that focusses on actively dismantling systemic barriers to student achievement.

  3. Brought implicit bias training and micro-aggression training to staff.

  4. Currently engaged in an-all staff process to identify systemic racism in our policies, procedures, and practices. We have a lot of work to do, but we are seeking to be an organization that moves from an equity focus to an active anti-racist team that is seeking to tear down systems of oppression and exclusion.

  5. Prioritized OSPI’s communications with parents, families, educators, and the public by reinvigorating OSPI’s social media presence, creating a video series, and building workgroups inclusive of students, parents, and guardians.

First Term Accomplishments
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