We must invest in educators

High School Success, Legislation, Teachers & Principals | 03/18/2021

Katie Gustainis
Marketing & Communications Director, Stand for Children Washington


As state legislators craft our next state budget, we are standing with educators who are calling for the investment of state funding into cost-effective programs that already working support students on their path to graduation. Will you stand with them? 

Molly Lawson, the Vice Principal of Wahluke High School, made it clear this week in her letter to the editor of the Yakima-Herald Republic that students benefit when we invest in supporting educators to implement data-driven and equity-focused programs like Ninth Grade Success:

"After a year of disruptions to schools due to the pandemic, we have had to think creatively about how we can support all students so that they graduate high school on time. Fortunately, we have been able to participate in an OSPI pilot program with the support of the Center for High School Success, which uses data to identify ninth-graders at risk of not graduating and intervene early before it is too late. At Wahluke, this has meant one-on-ones tailored for a struggling ninth-grader, home visits, and family nights."


Molly Lawson has been a participant in OSPI’s Ninth Grade Success pilot program since 2019 in collaboration with the coaches at Stand's Center for High School Success in Washington. Along with dozens of other educators, she is hopeful legislators will learn from her school’s experience. Can you write a letter now to encourage legislators to expand funding for Ninth Grade Success to 80 more Washington high schools?

Every Ninth Grade Success Team is made up of teachers, administrators, counselors, and support staff trained to efficiently use early warning data such as attendance, behavior, and grades to identify struggling students early and intervene to get them on-track. The research is clear - when we invest in ninth graders, we're investing in their graduation.


Molly's school is just one example of what success for students looks like when we invest in giving educators the support and tools they need. She continued in her letter:

"The partnership and dedication of each student have paid off -- Wahluke was able to achieve its highest passing rate of the past four years and celebrated 89.2% of our ninth-graders passing all their classes last year.

Right now, this program is just a pilot, but lawmakers have an opportunity to expand it with additional funding in the state budget. I urge them to approve this funding so that this data-driven program can be available to more communities across Washington."

You can meet Molly in this short video she recorded for legislators. Better yet, Send an email to your legislator now and let them know that you support investing in educators like Molly with a $8M expansion of the Ninth Grade Success program.

Thank you for standing with us and with Washington educators as we work together to invest in students, schools, and families. Our community needs us, and now is the time to act.

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