Roll Call #13: Counseling bill passes + news

High School Success, Legislation, Policy Brief, School Funding | 04/09/2021

Virginia Barry
Policy & Government Affairs Manager, Stand for Children Washington


Session Week #13

A summary of the bills impacting schools, students, and families this week.

We did it! What a week. On Wednesday our top priority legislation SSB 5030 passed the House with an 82-16 vote! This bill will implement a comprehensive school counseling program in every school district and help protect counselors’ time during the school day. Now that it’s passed both chambers, the Senate needs to concur with the minor changes made to the House version, and then it will head to Governor Inslee’s desk for a signature. Thank you for joining us to advocate for this critical legislation!

This bill will become law after years of work because of your voice. Since the 2021 legislative session began, our Stand community has completed: 

  • 16 meetings with legislators

  • 5800 emails and letters

  • 11 testimonies in committee meetings

We know how critical high quality school counseling is for students, especially now as they navigate a return to school buildings. Because of your advocacy, more students will be able to access academic, mental health, and postsecondary planning support. 

While we celebrate SSB 5030, we’re listening closely for news on what the House and Senate members will agree to include in the final budget for the 2021-23 biennium. The House proposed budget contains $6 million to expand OSPI’s Ninth Grade Success pilots, so we are working hard to make sure that funding is added to the Senate version as well. You can add your voice to the chorus by sending an email today asking your legislator for their support of this critical program:


While the Ninth Grade Success program has garnered a lot of positive attention in the media, I also wanted to share this compelling letter from a Washington principal to her Senator about the direct benefit her school has received from participating in the Ninth Grade Success pilot:

“...Focusing on freshmen success is cost-effective as it leads to increased attendance, increased earned credits, and thus eliminating the need to spend resources on truancy issues and credit retrieval.”

Finally, this week we joined Washington STEM, College Success Foundation, Education Reform Now, Graduate Tacoma, and Black Education Strategy Roundtable in signing a letter with guidance to legislators on targeting budget spending and federal stimulus funding for learning recovery. We invite you to read the letter in its entirety here. We are grateful to Washington STEM for their leadership in crafting this letter to include the following recommendations: 

  1. Reframe to asset-based language such as “learning recovery” or “unfinished learning.”
  2. Center equity in the approach.
  3. Assess each student for pandemic-related learning and social emotional recovery and acceleration.
  4. Prioritize proposals that address students’ socioemotional needs alongside academic needs.
  5. Provide intensive tutoring.
  6. Institute Expanded Learning Time.
  7. Prioritize proposals that promote acceleration over remediation,
  8. Prioritize proposals that address learning needs across the academic spectrum, specifically including science, STEM, and social science.
  9. Close the digital divide.
  10. Ensure high school students stay on the path for post-secondary credential attainment.

This Sunday marks the final day for floor votes on bills, so I’ll be back next week with a full recap of what policies are likely being sent to the Governor’s desk for a signature. Until next week!


P.S. If you can take action today, please send your legislators a personal email about why the transition to high school is a critical education milestone for our state to invest in. Educators across the state support this program, and you can stand with them by sending a letter now.

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