SOWA works to encourage policy makers at all levels—city, county, and in Olympia—to become champions for accessible, equitable policies for afterschool and summer that are engaging, high-quality, and that look different than the school day.
Together with the Sparkwind Movement, the Expanded Learning Coalition, and our policy and advocacy partners statewide, SOWA advocates for increased funding for and access to expanded learning opportunities for all of Washington’s youth. By engaging with decision makers through site visits, advocacy, and in Olympia, SOWA moves the needle for expanded learning in Washington.
2017 Legislative Priorities
School’s Out Washington will be working hard in Olympia on our legislative priorities, and supporting the work of our partners as we move into this long session.
Download and Print our Legislative Priorities (PDF)
Supporting youth outcomes with $4M to expand high-quality expanded learning opportunities
Research shows that quality expanded learning programs improve attendance and grades while building the social-emotional skills needed to succeed in school and in life. Yet too few youth in Washington have access to high-quality expanded learning programs—afterschool, in the summer and throughout the year – that will build lifelong skills, improve academic performance, and inspire them to discover their passions.
When expanded learning is supported to achieve quality and complement the school day, our state can narrow the opportunity gap and develop tomorrow’s leaders. A $4M state investment will leverage private sector investments to reach more youth by:
- Expanding from 50 high-quality programs serving ~2,000 youth to 260 program serving ~10,400 youth.
- Extending to at least two additional counties.
- Reaching a more diverse population of underserved youth by prioritizing programs that serve dual language learners.
- Creating targeted supports such as coaching, training, and technical assistance based on the unique needs of each program.
STEM Expanded Learning
SOWA will be supporting our partners at Washington STEM in the following legislative efforts to bring STEM learning to all Washington students:
Computer Science For All
Ensure all Washington students have access to Computer Science (CS) learning opportunities, both during the school day and in expanded learning programs.
Career Connected Learning
Every student graduates high school with an inspiring career goal and is prepared to succeed by including STEM opportunities early and often throughout a child’s K-12 education and throughout the day and year.
Kids-First Approach to the K12 Funding
SOWA supports the work of the Campaign for Student Success in addressing the McCleary decision. The Campaign is a coalition which believes that K12 funding should work to support student educational needs in a variety of environments including high-quality expanded learning opportunities.
Washington students need systems that support them where they are academically, physically, and culturally. Our state’s education system and its funding must mirror and support that approach if we want more students to succeed in school, career, and life.
SOWA supports a variety of efforts this session to ensure equitable access to School-Age Childcare.
Preventing a school-age (5-12 years old) child care waitlist not only supports youth, but also is critical for working families. SOWA also supports simplifying the school-age childcare regulations that continue to provide for quality programming while not placing undue burdens on providers.
Does your program or site have a construction need? Perhaps a new kitchen, playground, or even a new building? The state of Washington offers an often untapped resource for funding brick and mortar expenses, or capital funding, for educational and/or community-based organizations. Expanded learning programs are in a good position to attain capital funding, which includes the Youth Recreational Facilities grant (YRF), the Building Communities Fund (BCF), and Building for the Arts (BFA). We created this issue brief that goes into detail on the issue of capital funding, and the different options available to programs.
ELOs and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):
In 2015, Congress approved the new federal education law entitled the ‘Every Student Succeeds Act’. This law governs federal education spending and policy. As a part of this new law, each state must submit a plan on how they will use utilize federal resources. ELOs can be an allowable use of funds in many parts of the law including assistance to low-income students, for professional development, a strategy for school turnaround, and more.
The OSPI Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELOs) Council is legislatively tasked with developing recommendations to the state that will help increase access for Washington students to expanded learning. To that end, the Council submitted comments and recommendations to each ESSA work group opportunities to include ELOs in the ESSA plan. (View a copy of these recommendations.) We hope K12 stakeholders, providers, families, and youth will help promote ELOs as an effective use of federal funds and a great strategy in the state ESSA plan.
For questions on expanded learning policy in Washington State or in your community, tips for inviting policy makers to visit your program, and more, please contact David Beard at DBeard@schoolsoutwashington.org