High School Success Policies

Our priority during the 2018 and 2019 legislative sessions is to advocate for the positive legislative progress of two policies that support High School Success for every student. Here is a brief description of the policies and the impact they can have for Washington students:

What it is:

The High School Success policies take two existing programs that are already working in schools around the state and expand them to every school in Washington. The programs are:

  • Academic Acceleration: This policy automatically enrolls every qualified student in advanced courses (such as dual-credit, AP, Cambridge, and/or IB). It's a change from the current "opt-in" system that disadvantages students who might not normally seek out or be selected for these classes - but nevertheless are still capable of the work – to an "opt-out" system that removes barriers.
  • 9th Grade On Track Dropout Prevention and Early Warning Systems: Research has shown repeatedly that students who are on track by the end of 9th grade are four times more likely to graduate on time. Schoools should be given the resources they need to support students now so they can succeed later by requiring schools to implement research-proven 9th Grade On Track programs and Early Warning Data Systems that prioritize following the ABCs:
    • A – attendance (flag chronic absenteeism)
    • B – behavior (identify behavioral patterns)
    • C – course performance (support progress toward graduation)

For more information about Early Warning Systems and Dropout Prevention, check out this blog post about Spokane School District and this one about Highline. This Seattle Times article also profiles a similar program in West Seattle.

Why It's Needed

  • Washington currently ranks 40th in the country when it comes to high school graduation rates. We can do better.
  • Students who take advanced courses are more likely to graduate from high school and enroll in college.
  • We’re missing students of color from advanced classrooms. Half of Black, Latino, Native American, and Pacific Islander students who qualify for advanced classes are NOT enrolled in them (Source: College Board)
  • Research shows that students who are on track by 9th grade are four times more likely to graduate. If we provide students the proper supports, they can achieve their dreams.
  • ½ of students who dropped out in 2016 did so for an “other or unknown reason”. Many families report not receiving calls from school when they’re child is absent. We’re losing track of kids.
  • Washington has the 2nd highest number of chronically absent students in the country - 17% miss 18 days or more each year. 
  • In 2018, almost 2/3 of available jobs in the nation will require at least some college education, and most of them require a bachelors degree. But only 1/3 of Washington students will go on to complete a post-secondary degree. 

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