As a vote-by-mail state, it can be hard to know the outcome of elections on election night. While most of our endorsed candidates are comfortably ahead, a handful of races remain very close and the outcome could go either way; we’ll have to wait for all ballots to be counted. In a couple of cases, our endorsed candidates are significantly behind. In local elections every vote truly counts and the results can be decided by a few ballots. 

Thank you for your engagement and support over the last three months, from making phone calls to donating and encouraging friends and family to be voters who safeguard kids freedom to learn and thrive. All told, we made more than 22,000 calls, sent nearly 33,000 texts, and mailed almost 40,000 pieces of direct mail to ensure voters knew what was at stake in this election. We complemented that with digital ads running through most of the voting period.

Overall, we are heartened by the initial returns. Across Washington state, voters in many districts rejected extremists who would ban books and censor teachers and in turn, supported candidates who believe in public education, diversity, and inclusion.  

October has kept our team quite busy. We’re pushing hard to fight back against extremists who aim to take over school boards to bank books and harm queer students. However, it’s been reassuring to have supporters reach out and volunteer their time to help and keep our schools safe! Working together has given us the strength and energy to keep striving for positive change. We hope you’ll continue to stay connected and lend us your voice as we shift to legislative advocacy later this fall! 

OCTOBER highlights

Save The Date: Stand WA Community Town Hall on Nov. 29th!

In preparation for the 2024 legislative session, we’re holding a virtual Community Town Hall to premiere our legislative agenda. We want to hear from you about the education issues you’re seeing in your community. Early registration is available. More information is coming soon!

State Funding Update: 9th Grade Success Initiative

State Funding Update: 9th Grade Success Initiative

9th grade is a make-or-break year and how well a 9th grader performs this first year can impact whether they graduate or not. So we’re thrilled to share with you that The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) included a request for $2.9 million for the 9th Grade Success Initiative in their 2024 supplemental budget priorities! This means OSPI believes this initiative is a priority.

Governor Inslee is reviewing all agency budget requests and will release a proposed budget in December. Tell Gov. Inslee 9th grade matters! Lawmakers will consider the Governor’s budget during the 2024 legislative session in January.

Do you know any 9th graders? We want to hear from you! 

Many of your neighbors have already voted, have you?

With school boards as targets for extremist takeovers, we’re expecting record turnout in school board races this year, so turn in your ballot soon! It takes less than 10 minutes to vote and our kids need you to protect their futures. Share our endorsed candidate list with friends and family in Ferndale, North Kitsap, Central Kitsap, South Kitsap, Mead, Richland and Wenatchee school districts!

This year we endorsed 11 school board candidates around Washington. About 10 miles north of Spokane, in the Mead School District 3 race, we endorsed Jaime Stacey. In our endorsement process with the Stand for Children Washington PAC, we identify candidates who share our values and vision of building systems that are student-centered. 

Mead School Board candidate Jaime Stacy shares our values of prioritizing student outcomes and initiatives that promote inclusion and belonging. As a mother of two and an educator, Jaime will ensure authentic parent and family engagement, and understands how policies and procedures impact classrooms. 

Jaime’s ability to connect with others and cultivate a sense of belonging for all is another one of her strengths. Through her non-profit Strong Women Achieving Greatness (SWAG) she has hosted mentoring workshops throughout Spokane to bring resources and hope to young women as they define and pursue their own success. She served as the Shiloh Hills Elementary PTO president, and currently works for Spokane Public Schools as a school and community specialist, allowing her to connect with frontline educators and community members.

Growing up, Jaime saw her mother expand opportunities for her family by earning her college degree and then her Master’s degree, so Jaime understands the importance and power of a quality education for all students. This includes equipping the next generation with rigorous coursework like AP classes or dual-credit Career & Technical Education (CTE) to prepare for college and careers after high school.

In a time when powerful interests seek to divide and distract us from focusing on providing students with a high quality, relevant education, schools should remain non-partisan and student-focused. And the making of a great school board director is one who upholds honesty and transparency. Jaime will center the needs of students and will work to address the existing harmful inequities in education through her seat on the Mead school board. Her focus on anti-bullying and anti-harassment will ensure an environment where all students feel safe and like they belong in their classrooms. 

It is our responsibility as parents, community members, and school board members to come together to safeguard our children’s freedom to learn and thrive. We can support students and public education by funding schools, even when others have slashed school budgets, stripping away much needed programs and resources for our children. “The levy pays for extracurricular activities, athletics, staff to lower class sizes and other employees such as nurses, among other items. Stacy said she strongly supports moving forward with a new levy,” from a September 18 Spokesman-Review article.

To learn more about Jaime, visit her website:

Important Election Info!

Ballots will be mailed Oct. 18th! Voters have until Oct. 31st to register or update their mailing address online or via mail, and voters may update their registration or register for the first time in-person at the Spokane County elections office until election day, Nov. 7th.

Join us to elect pro-equity candidates like Jaime

School board elections are often decided by just a few votes – calling voters to make sure they know about strong candidates and have a plan to vote makes a huge difference. Join us on October 11 and 23 for virtual phone banks – no experience necessary!

September marks a new school year, and the start of a new fiscal year at Stand, so we’re extending a momentous thank you to all of our supporters. Whether you’re a volunteer, community member, donor or partner organization, your commitment to education equity inspires us everyday and we couldn’t do our work without you. For a recap of our work from the past year, view our FY 23 report!

september highlights

Are you a superintendent, school administrator, school board member, or educator who is interested in supporting equity in advanced coursework? Join us to kickoff our newest cohort on driving equitable enrollment. Registration is free and open now! Register by October 13th to enter to win a $100 gift card!

School Board Elections Update

ICYMI: Through our Stand for Children Washington PAC, our endorsements are live! You can view and share the announcements on Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly Twitter).

We are hosting volunteer phone banks on October 4 and 11 and need your help! Join us to call voters and get the word out about pro-equity, student-centered candidates who are pushing back against an extremist agenda. Learn more and sign up for your spot to make a positive impact.

Updates From Partners

  1. October 8th – League of Education Voters: Youth Advocacy Summit & Fall Fest at Highline College. Register Online. 
  2. Our partners at TeamChild have back to school legal support available. If you or a student you know needs additional education support or advocacy, you can access the Youth Education Law Collaborative (YELC) hotline.

What We’re Reading

Breezy Mitchell

The Stand for Children Washington Political Action Committee (PAC) is excited to make school board election endorsements of education champions who will be strong, independent voices for putting the best interests of students first. For schools to be safe and affirming spaces, we need school board members who will work to create thriving environments for all students.

Stand for Children Washington PAC 2023 Endorsements

Natasha Fecteau MingerNorth Kitsap – No. 4002
Terri SchumacherNorth Kitsap – No. 4004
Stacy MillsNorth Kitsap – No. 4005
Megan HigginsSouth Kitsap – No. 4022
Breezy MitchellCentral Kitsap – No. 4012
Drayton JacksonCentral Kitsap – No. 4013
Jaime StacyMead4
Chelsie BeckRichland – 4003
Toni JeffersonFerndale – 5023
Miranda SkaliskyWenatchee – No. 2464
Martin BarronWenatchee – No. 2465 (At Large)
Stand for Children Washington PAC 2023 endorsements

our endoresement process

Through our endorsement process, including questionnaires and interviews with a committee of staff and community volunteers, we identify candidates who share our values and our vision of building systems that are student-centered. In a time when powerful interests seek to divide and distract us from focusing on providing students with a high quality, relevant education, we remain non-partisan and student focused.  

To receive an endorsement from our PAC, candidates must demonstrate alignment with our priorities, including: 

  • Increasing the number of students furthest from educational justice who receive a relevant and meaningful high school diploma;
  • Creating safe and equitable learning environments that cultivate belonging and affirm students’ intersecting identities;
  • Ensuring robust implementation of state laws at the local level, including academic acceleration policies. 

If elected, we believe these candidates will center the needs of young people and work to address the existing harmful inequities in our education through their seats on local school boards.

Interested in contributing to our efforts to elect these champions? You can volunteer your time with phone banking, text banking, or make a donation to the Stand for Children Washington PAC.

Check Your Voter Registration Status

Washington voters have until October 31st to register or update their mailing address online or via mail, and voters may update their registration or register for the first time in-person until election day, November 8th.

October 30th: Last day voters can register or update their mailing address online or via mail

November 7th: Last day voters can register or update their mailing address in-person

Effective January 1st, 2022, if you were convicted of a felony in Washington State, another state, or in federal court, your right to vote will be restored automatically as long as you are not currently serving a sentence of total confinement in prison.

With this month’s heatwave and families preparing for back to school– I can imagine you’ve been busy staying cool, foraging for school supplies, designing college dorm rooms, or all of the above! In this month’s edition of Stargazing with Stand, we’re sharing volunteer opportunities and a new blog article.

AUGUST highlights

Staff Spotlight: Carolina

“In my previous roles, I’ve partnered with young people experiencing homelessness, foster care, and the legal system. They believed in the power of education – and clear-eyed about the ways schools could push students like them out. They, along with all students, deserve access to a high-quality education and support to thrive there. Our relentless focus on impact for young people furthest from educational justice is what excites me about the work we do. We know that the work we do is vital and urgent.” Learn more about Liz.

What We’ve Been Up To

Volunteering: School Board Elections

Last week, we launched our candidate endorsement process through our Stand for Children Washington PAC. We look forward to sharing the endorsements with you next month, but right now we still need your help! It is our responsibility as parents, community members, and school board members to come together to safeguard our children’s freedom to learn and thrive.

Ways to Get Involved:

  1. Are you registered to vote?
  2. Volunteer with us! Opportunities include: participating in endorsement interviews, making phone calls or sending texts to voters in support of endorsed candidates!


Ciarra Crowe
Marketing and Communications Manager
Stand for Children Washington

Side view people writing in notebook

By Aseela Galeeb 

If you’ve talked to a high school student recently, you may have heard them talk about their IB course, or an upcoming AP test. These programs, as well as Running Start, Career and Technical Education (CTE), Cambridge International (CI), and College in the High School, make up dual credit courses in Washington State. These programs allow students to earn credit for college during high school, which gives them a chance to experience the expectations of college-level coursework. 

For about a decade, these courses have been growing in the state, supported by legislation such as HB 1642, a 2013 bill establishing encouraging districts to adopt an academic acceleration policy that automatically enrolls in the next most rigorous level of advanced courses offered by the high school if they’ve met the state standard on the statewide exam.As well as HB 1599, a 2019 bill modifying high school graduation requirements to promote college readiness. 

However, for all the advances that have been made, there are still disparities among student demographics. To learn more about this, we interviewed several high school students and professionals working in the education field. The interviewees shed light on experiences within dual credit classes, as well as the inequities they have noticed. 

We began with the basics: Why do students take dual credit classes? On one hand, they offer many more opportunities than may exist within one school. Lilli Mccauley, a rising junior beginning full time Running Start this school year, wanted to join the program since middle school, and is hoping it will help her focus on a career she loves. Running Start is a program that allows high schoolers to enroll in college courses in community colleges and earn credit there. 

 “I think getting my prerequisites done in high school means I can just focus on what I want to do.”  At Lilli’s school, students must wait until junior year to take AP classes. “Since we have such a limited staff, they’re very high enrollment classes, and there aren’t enough opportunities. And the opportunities that come with Running Start are better.”

Other students take dual credit classes in order to prepare for their post-secondary plans. Airah Virani, a rising senior, takes AP and IB classes at her school. She says, “the way people advertised IB as good college prep made it seem more favorable.” Dual credit courses are one of the main ways that high school students can prepare for college. In fact, according to the U.S Department of Education’s WWC Intervention Report, students who take dual credit courses are more likely to graduate on time, and enroll in a post-secondary program. 

But, for all the proven benefits of dual credit courses, there are significant patterns of inequity within them. We talked to two professionals in the education field to gain more insight. 

Kristen Hengtgen, a senior policy analyst with The Education Trust, notes that “Dual credit is really unequal just across high schools, so depending on what district you’re in, you may have dozens of opportunities or four classes total.” Besides geographical inequalities, there are also financial barriers. Jeff Charbonneau, the principal of Zillah High School, says, “Last school year, we had U.S History offered as a College in the High School course for all of our sophomores. Even though we have about 120 sophomores, only 35 of them took the course for college credit, and it was directly because of the associated fees that went with it.” 

There are also concerning disparities within the demographics of students enrolled in dual credit. Kristen explained, “We certainly see a large inequity in access for students of color involved in dual credit classes. Whether the information isn’t being conveyed to these students, they’re getting a message that this class is not for them, they’re not being identified for these courses, or there’s some sort of financial barrer, we definitely see fewer students of color enrolling in and completing dual credit courses in multiple states.”  Airah pointed out the gender inequity in dual credit at her school. “We all have to take STEM courses, but not a lot of girls double in sciences or take higher level science courses like I did.” As Kristen puts it, “All of these benefits mean the inequities are so much worse, because [dual credit] can be a mechanism for helping increase access for our students.” 

But there’s good news: some of the barriers are being broken and allowing more students to access dual credit courses. For example, Zillah High School recently announced that students can earn an Associates of Arts, or A.A, degree during high school. When we asked Jeff about the changes at his school, he said, “The bills that were passed this last legislative session- the changes to College in the High School and the changes to Running Start- those are going to have a tremendous benefit.”

As a final statement, we asked the interviewees to give some parting remarks to students and professionals. “I would encourage students to look into what opportunities your school has,” says Kristen. “I want students to know they do belong, and even if there’s resistance and the class seems difficult, this class is for you.” Jeff added, “The work that needs to come next is the work on perception, and helping students to envision their futures.”

As our interviewees mentioned, dual credit courses provide opportunities for students across the nation. In WA, school districts, advocacy organizations, and state legislatures all have a duty to push for more equitable access.  Stand WA is continuing our focus removing barriers to dual credit – including student fees. Guided by research and students in our communities, we can ensure that young people can access and thrive in advanced courses.

We know everyone is enjoying their time off, so we’re keeping this edition short and sweet. We will check back in with you in August as we ramp up for all things back to school!

july highlights

Staff Spotlight: Carolina

“What continues to motivate me about the work we do here at Stand is my personal experiences and hearing the stories of those around me, because it is a reminder that the work is not done. It’s work that I continue to learn from daily and reminds me that change can be made, whether big or small. I think it is important to take our experiences, to really listen to others, and take the time to find ways how we can make things better and make space for our communities and youth to succeed and feel safe. It’s knowing that we are at least trying.” Learn more about Carolina.

August 1st School Board Primary Race

If you’ve received a ballot  in the mail this month, then there is a primary race for your school board! School board directors are non-partisan positions and their role is to provide oversight to the district superintendent, set the strategic direction for the district, set the budget, and adopt district policies. We need school board directors that put students first and who support safe, equitable, and affirming schools.

Check out candidate forums from the League of Women Voters to learn more about where candidates stand by finding your local chapter and checking their website for recordings. Return your primary ballot by August 1 (post-marked or placed in a ballot dropbox).

Teamwork Time

Our team spent time together this month to engage deeply in annual planning. We know that what we do today, and the next fiscal year, is a part of a longer-term effort to transform systems. We draw inspiration from the stories and expertise of young people and families who engage in this work. We’ll continue to double down on impactful policies rooted in racial equity, so all young Washingtonians receive meaningful access to a high quality, relevant education, and support to transition into young adulthood.

What We’re Watching

The Education Lab at the Seattle Times hosted a live Q&A with education finance experts to answer questions about school budgets, finance trends, and challenges.

Wishing you a restful summer,

Ciarra Crowe
Marketing and Communications Manager
Stand for Children Washington

I’m honored to deliver the next installment of Stargazing with Stand! June is the month where we see many transitions: spring turns into summer, students graduate high school. June also brings celebrations: celebrating Pride and unapologetically uplifting the Queer community, celebrating Juneteenth and rejoicing in what freedom means to the Black community. I hope we can continue to celebrate joyous occasions inside and outside our community.

june highlights

Union High School Freshman Success Event – Vancouver, WA

Union High School hosted a celebration for their Ninth Grade Success Teams work in June. Senator Lynda Wilson, Representative Monica Stonier, and Evergreen Superintendent Boyd joined to celebrate and learn more about the strides Union High School has made over the last four years of implementing dedicated strategies to support ninth graders.

Did you know there’s new data showing a significant increase in the number of students passing their ninth grade classes as a result of the Ninth Grade Success Initiative?

2023 School Board Elections

School board elections are this fall, with primaries on August 1st. A school board oversees a variety of  academic, legal, and financial issues for the school district. They play a huge role in creating safe and equitable learning environments for students. However, they’ve recently been the site of attempts to ban books and disrupt the teaching of accurate history.

Who’s running in your school district this year? You can find out if there is a race in your district here and find out how candidates propose to support all students to thrive and access a high quality education. Let us know if there’s an important race in your area! 

Collaboration Across WA
Last month, the Washington Center for High School Success (CHSS) gathered Ninth Grade Success  teams  from Vancouver to Bellingham to Moses Lake for in-person collaboratives to network, learn, and plan. They shared what’s currently working to support 9th graders, as well as raising challenges to draw on the collective expertise of the network. Participating schools have been working hard all year, and some are celebrating double digit increases in the rate of students passing all their 9th grade classes. Learn more about CHSS. 

Reflections on a Session Full of Lessons
Our experience of the 2023 Legislative Session could be quantified in many ways, but you can’t quantify the dedication and passion put forth by our entire community these past few months. We set out with ambitious legislative goals because students deserve transformative change. And even though session ended with some losses, we also had wins and came out smarter, more determined, and more equipped to be a unique catalyst for education equity and racial justice next session. Read our full reflection.

We always want to hear from you and encourage you to stay in touch over the summer. We’re excited to connect more deeply with you, whether you are a student, parent, educator, school board member, or all of the above. Together, we’re confident we can make more robust change in 2024 for those who are furthest from education justice.

Standing With You,

Ciarra Crowe
Marketing and Communications Manager
Stand for Children Washington

Gov. Inslee signs Engrossed Substitute House Bill No. 1169, May 15, 2023. Relating to legal financial obligations. Primary Sponsor: Rep. Simmons

Our experience of the 2023 Legislative Session could be quantified in many ways: 32 Zoom Meetings, 12 emails, 5 trips to Olympia to testify, and 50 hours collaborating to push for policy innovations that will benefit young people across Washington. But you can’t quantify the dedication and passion put forth by our entire community these past few months. 

We set out with ambitious legislative goals because students deserve transformative change. Change like building a debt-free youth justice system that reduces harm and promotes community healing, or ensuring that every student graduates equipped for their post-secondary dreams. And even though session ended with some losses, we also had wins and came out smarter, more determined, and more equipped to be a unique catalyst for education equity and racial justice next session. 

We all joined Stand for Children WA within the past two and half years, so 2023 was our first year traveling to Olympia to testify in person. Any member of the public could join us, walk the halls of the Washington State Capitol Building, and speak with a legislator or their staff. This made the advocacy experience palpably different from  the past two years of virtual session. One improvement over previous in-person sessions is that remote testimony options continued, leveling the playing field so all could have their voices heard. 

We took advantage of the hybrid session– attending in-person days of action like Mockingbird Society’s Youth Advocacy Day and Civil Survival’s Transform Justice, as well as virtual advocacy days like the APRI Annual Charles Rolland African American Legislative Day. Being in community allowed us to share power, build trust, strengthen relationships, and forge unexpected relationships. This is how change-making begins.

And our collaboration extended well beyond Olympia. 

The Debt Free Youth Justice WA Coalition fiercely advocated to eliminate punitive and ineffective juvenile court costs (SB 5474/HB 1432). We extend our gratitude to impacted youth for testifying and sharing their life experiences both to shape the bill and  during hearings. And we are grateful to Civil Survival and Representative Tarra Simmons for including components of our youth justice bill into HB 1169, eliminating non-restitution juvenile fines and fees. We will continue to fight for Washington to become the first state in the country to replace juvenile restitution with community-based alternatives that  allow young people to rehabilitate, victims to gain restoration, and communities to heal. 

Another bright spot in the budget was full funding for two provisos that will help advance our debt free youth justice work: 

  • $150,000 to the Administrative Office of the Courts to conduct an analysis of legal financial obligations including restitution. The analysis must be disaggregated by race and ethnicity and calculate a collection rate for different types of LFOs. 
  • $600,000 for the Partnership Council on Juvenile Justice to convene stakeholders, including those directly impacted by juvenile restitution, to develop recommendations for a community compensation fund to replace juvenile restitution, as well as recommendations to improve juvenile record sealing and recommendations on the upper age limit for juvenile court jurisdiction. 

Our High School Success Coalition collaborated on bills to support every student on their path to achieving a rigorous high school diploma and pursuing their dreams. 

  1. College in the High School fees were eliminated, paving the way for more students to earn college credits that will help them transition to college (SB 5048). 
  2. SB 5243l directs the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to identify a common online platform for the High School and Beyond Plan and to engage students, families, and communities in the process. This is a step towards more consistent and robust planning for postsecondary opportunities throughout high school. 
  3. Summer Running Start is now an option throughout the state, ensuring that students who graduated high school can participate the summer after their senior year to help them complete their AA degree (HB 1316). 

Working in partnership and coalition is vital and helps us have stronger wins and to weather the disappointments. And unfortunately, there were some disappointments this session. 

We were especially struck by the unwillingness of the legislature to meaningfully engage with the question of what to do when federal pandemic relief money for education expires in September 2024. This will surely be a hot topic next session, and will be coupled with district-level funding challenges associated with declining enrollment. In juvenile justice reform, we also saw less appetite for transformative change than we’d hoped. Despite a few bright spots, a number of policy bills reflecting strong community input and aiming to promote community healing, youth accountability, and a more restorative approach, did not advance. 

Nonetheless, through partnership and community, we got through the tough moments of session and these relationships will sustain us as we rededicate our tenacity to policies that prioritize students and families who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color. This time post-session has already given us the time and space to reflect and identify opportunities to meaningfully move forward toward transformative change. 

We always want to hear from you and encourage you to stay in touch over the summer. We’re excited to connect more deeply with you, whether you are a student, parent, educator, school board member, or all of the above. As well as continue working with our legislative champions who are not afraid to take a bold stand for what is right for young people. Together, we’re confident we can make more robust change in 2024 for those who are furthest from education justice.

Standing With You,

Kia, Liz, Carolina, and Ciarra
Stand for Children Washington Team