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Presentation to Small School Leaders Understanding and Addressing Legal Obstacles to Small School Operations in Washington State Kelly Warner-King and Mitch Price Introduction The Gates Foundation asked us to:

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Presentation to Small School Leaders

Understanding and AddressingLegal Obstacles to Small School Operationsin Washington StateKelly Warner-King and Mitch Price


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Introduction

  • The Gates Foundation asked us to:

  • Identify and analyze potential legal and policy obstacles to creation and operation of small high schools

  • Help small schools navigate the legal and policy landscape

    • Waivers

    • Alternatives within existing system

  • Provide resources and tools


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    Goals of Presentation

    • Provide summary of findings to date

      • Problematic state laws and regulations

      • Options for addressing obstacles

  • Solicit feedback from small school leaders

    • Other obstacles you have encountered

    • Examples from your experience

    • Suggestions for making guide more useful


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    Education Reform in Washington

    • 1993 Education Reform Act

      • Intent: transformation to performance-based system

    • State Board of Education Reform Vision

      • “State is shifting from a time and credit-based system of education to a standards and performance-based system.”

      • Long-term vision, requiring multi-year transition

    • Disconnect: education code and funding mechanisms not yet aligned with vision

      • System supports small schools in theory, but still operates based on traditional conception of high school

      • Flexibility exists in form of waivers and alternative provisions



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    Organization of Guide

    Five key attributes of successful small schools

    • Autonomy

    • Individualized and performance-based education

    • Teachers as generalists

    • Time for collaboration and professional development

    • Distinctive and focused

      For each attribute

    • Potential legal obstacles

    • Options for addressing the obstacles

    • Examples and resources

      Suggestions for state-level reforms


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    Autonomy

    “The greatest inhibitor to a small school’s ability to realize its potential is lack of autonomy.”

    • Potential Obstacles

      • Definition of “school”

      • WA policy on reporting Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)

      • Collective bargaining agreements

  • What Small Schools Can Do

    • Ask: Is our small school a “school” for purposes of this law or policy?

    • Understand how AYP accountability affects your small school

    • Seek waivers from provisions of union contract

    • Tailor union contracts to small schools


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    Individualized and Performance-Based Education

    • Small schools provide individualized education and reward students for competence instead of seat time.

    • Potential Obstacles

      • Funding formulas based on student enrollment

      • Graduation requirements based on traditional credits

    • What Small Schools Can Do

      • Use Alternative Learning Experience WAC provision

      • Use other “alternative WAC” provisions

        • Alternative high school graduation requirements

        • Equivalency credit

        • Credit for work experience


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    Teachers as Generalists

    • For both pedagogical reasons and out of necessity, teachers need to be generalists first, and specialists second.

    • Potential Obstacles

      • “Highly Qualified” requirements for teachers of core academic subjects

        • Full state certification

        • Bachelor’s degree

        • Demonstrate competency in subject area


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    Teachers as Generalists (cont.)

    • What Small Schools Can Do

      • Use various options to help teachers demonstrate competence

        • Endorsement-Related Assignment Provision

        • HOUSSE Evaluation

        • Out-of-Endorsement Assignment Waivers

        • Conditional and Emergency Certification

      • If teachers don’t meet “highly qualified” requirements

        • Use parent notification requirement to highlight teacher qualifications

        • Consider other options

          • Team teaching

          • Dual certification

          • Training and professional development


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    Endorsement-Related Assignment Example

    • ENDORSEMENT MAY BE ASSIGNED TO TEACH

    • Physics Basic Mathematics

    • Pre-Algebra

    • Algebra

    • Pre-Calculus

    • Calculus

    • Environmental Science

    • Physical Science


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    Teachers as Generalists (cont.)

    • What Small Schools Can Do

      • Use various options to help teachers demonstrate competence

        • Endorsement-Related Assignment Provision

        • HOUSSE Evaluation

        • Out-of-Endorsement Assignment Waivers

        • Conditional and Emergency Certification

      • If teachers don’t meet “highly qualified” requirements

        • Use parent notification requirement to highlight teacher qualifications

        • Consider other options

          • Team teaching

          • Dual certification

          • Training and professional development


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    Time for Collaboration and Professional Development

    • Many small schools seek flexibility in the use of teachers’ time, to allow them to collaborate and engage in professional development.

    • Potential obstacles

      • Washington law sets requirements for:

        • Length of the school year

        • Length of the school day for teachers

        • Annual instructional hours

    • What small schools can do

      • 180-day school year waiver

      • 30 minutes before and after school waiver

      • 1,000 instructional hours waiver


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    Distinctive and Focused

    Successful small schools are distinctive and focused, rather than comprehensive. They do not try to be all things to all people.

    • Potential Obstacles

      • Accommodating special education students

      • Integrating Career and Technical Education

    • What Small Schools Can Do

      • Work with district special education department

      • Be creative in structuring and supporting CTE programs

        • Work with district to meet federal and state CTE course standards

        • Collaborate with community colleges and regional skill centers

        • Provide professional development for CTE teachers


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    Waiver Process

    • Waivers are granted by State Board

    • Application must come from district, not school

      • Resolution adopted by district board

      • Includes local “plan for restructuring”

      • Consider “super waiver” request

  • Renewal

    • Waivers typically expire after three years

    • Renewal request from district to State Board

  • Pros and Cons

  • Sample waiver applications


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    Summary of Waivers and Alternative WAC Provisions

    • State Board Waivers

      • 180-day school year

      • 30 minutes before and after school

      • 1,000 instructional hours

      • Out-of-endorsement assignment

        • District-granted

        • State Board-granted

      • Endorsement-related assignments

  • Alternative WAC provisions

    • Alternative learning experience

    • Alternative high school graduation requirements

    • Equivalency credit

    • Credit for work experience


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    Conclusions

    • Relationships are key

      • Need support of district and union to take advantage of flexibility in law

        “Policy by exception”

      • Laws and practices not aligned with reform vision

      • Waivers and alternative WACs provide flexibility, at a cost

        Suggestions for Systemic Reform

      • Work with OSPI and State Board on definition of “school”

      • Create a general secondary level endorsement for teachers

      • Create state performance-based graduation requirements

      • Create a set of small school WACs

      • Streamline the education code in support of performance-based education


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    Contact Information

    • Center on Reinventing Public Education

    • www.crpe.org

    • University of Washington

    • Daniel J. Evans Graduate School of Public Affairs

    • 324 Parrington Hall, Box 353055, Seattle, WA 98195

    • Kelly Warner-King [email protected]

    • Mitch Price [email protected]


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