Hello, and happy Friday!
Amidst the uncertainty surrounding back to school for most of us right now, I’m grateful to have good news to share this week as Washington takes another significant step towards reducing historic barriers to dual credit classes. After a year of planning since we passed the statewide Academic Acceleration law in 2019, we are incredibly proud that our partners at OSPI have just announced a new grant program for schools that will provide equity-focused investments in sustainable changes that will increase access to dual credit course work, particularly for students of color, students who are from low-income families, and other student groups often overlooked in our system. We’re glad to see that our state officials are still prioritizing equity and high-quality education for all students.
This year is certainly one where the opportunity to confront greater challenges is in front of all of us every day. At Stand for Children Washington, that is definitely the case as we bid farewell to our Executive Director Libuse Binder, who will focus her considerable energy on fighting systemic injustice across many fronts, including through the results of the November elections. Our State Organizing Director, Natalie Hester, will also be moving on to a position that expands upon her work to identify and connect a diversity of individuals and organizations in support of a stronger education system in Washington for all kids. This pandemic has highlighted the ways in which people step up to help others and it is difficult to fully convey how proud we are to see our colleagues rise to topple bigger walls, eliminate widening gaps and lift the people and causes they care about even higher. We can’t have a big party, so we will celebrate by honoring their work and moving forward with purpose and resolve. Here are just a few of the many other accomplishments our team is celebrating this week:
Our Spokane Organizer, Darcelina Soloria, appeared on local TV last week in Spokane and explained how the peer support groups she’s leading with the ZONE Project are essential for parents to come together and discuss how they’re feeling amidst this chaos. “It’s really important for parents to hear the words: You’re doing your best, and that’s enough,” Darcelina told the KXLY reporter.
Devony Audet, our Leadership Training Fellow, also recently spoke with Education Week to share her experience as a parent of a special education student whose needs are not compatible with online instruction. As she put it: “Many parents of students with disabilities lacked trust in their school systems before the pandemic, and this situation is stepping on that nerve.” Devony has also been serving on the district’s reopening committee and providing online support groups for special education parents across the state.
As we all look for hope in this new world, I hope you can find some solace in the knowledge that our education advocacy community - and the High School Success Coalition - has not been deterred by the pandemic in our efforts to ensure that high school graduation is meaningful in Washington state. No matter whether we’re on Zoom or in Olympia, we continue to fight to make sure every student counts.
We’re grateful to be standing with you.