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Policy & Advocacy

Washington’s children and youth deserve equitable public policies that support their individual needs all day and all year. That's why School’s Out Washington acts as a strong voice for expanded learning opportunities across Washington State and in our nation’s capital. We promote equitable policies that ensure children and youth continue to learn after school and in the summer in high-quality programs. Join us today!

The Facts About Expanded Learning

Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELOs) are high-quality afterschool and youth development programs that provide innovative, hands-on learning and strive to be a part of the solution to the opportunity gap.

No single learning setting will prepare students for success; rather, an integrated approach to learning across the day, across the year, and across a student’s lifetime is required for 21st century academic and career success.

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State Advocacy

In Washington, SOWA works with city, county, and state government to promote equitable policies that ensure our state’s youth continue to learn after school and in the summer in high-quality programs. SOWA informs policy decisions and acts as a rallying voice for the expanded learning field in our state capitol and beyond.

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Federal Advocacy

SOWA encourages Washington’s U.S. Senators and Representatives to be a voice for Expanded Learning Opportunities at the Federal level as well. Through our partnerships with the Afterschool Alliance and National Summer Learning Association, SOWA elevates the needs of Washington’s children and youth to the national level.

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Our current priorities

Afterschool & Summer Meals

Afterschool and summer meals are a critical need that is often unavailable in many areas. While many children are able to access nutritious meals through free and reduced lunch programs during the school day, they often go hungry after school and in the summer.

We support programs seeking to provide meals through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

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STEM Learning

Through our partnerships with Washington STEM, The Afterschool Alliance, and more, SOWA advocates for STEM policies locally and nationally that support STEM learning that is equitable and accessible for all youth. We encourage all levels of government to support high-quality STEM programming that starts early and encourages youth of all backgrounds to pursue STEM passions and careers in their own communities.

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Summer Learning

Through our partnership with the National Summer Learning Association, SOWA works to ensure that summer learning is a priority both in Olympia and in Washington D.C.

With two-thirds of the achievement gap between lower and middle to higher income youth entering 9th grade attributable to summer learning loss, high-quality summer learning is a key component in leveling the playing field for all youth.

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How You Can Get Involved

School's Out Washington gives the expanded learning field an opportunity to affect our policy priorities and take action through The Sparkwind Movement. To be notified of meetings coming up in your region, sign up for our monthly e-newsletter and WAN Meeting Updates.

You can also sign up for our action alerts to ensure that you get notified when bills, votes, or issues facing expanded learning come up in the state legislature, Congress, or locally.

For more information, you can contact SOWA's Policy and Advocacy Director David Beard.

Advocacy