In partnership with the Center for Children & Youth Justice, Rachel Sottile and Kia C. Franklin published an op-ed continuing our commitment to end all fines and fees imposed on youth in Washington.

Read the article here. To track progress on this effort, subscribe to our email list for updates!


This session, Stand WA is continuing to advocate for evidence-based strategies to support student success. We need Washington state to invest in these supports, including investing crucial funds to sustain the Ninth Grade Success Initiative and support work in 53 schools serving more than 13,000 students in Washington. 

This is why our Executive Director Kia C. Franklin and Henterson Carlisle (NW Regional Director of CHSS) co-authored an Op-Ed in the Seattle Medium that underscores the need to focus on the success of 9th graders as the single greatest investment our state can make in increasing graduation rates and closing equity gaps, and in turn, in empowering students as they prepare for the future.

However, with funding in jeopardy many schools that are doing great work may have to scale back or stop the Ninth Grade Success Initiative work altogether. This impacts schools like Royal High School in Central Washington. In one year, Royal boosted their on-track rates by 32% and nearly eliminated the disparity between white and Latino students. This also means that Meridian High School in NW Washington may have to stop their Ninth Grade Success work, which is closing opportunity gaps for students receiving special education services (whose on-track rates jumped 17 points with the Ninth Grade Success Initiative).

Investing In Ninth Grade Success: A Crucial Step Towards Equitable Education sheds a light on the importance of funding this critical initiative and what’s at stake this legislative session.

“Another important result of this work is that students begin to feel they are in a place that genuinely cares about them as human beings. In many cases this could be the first time in a student’s educational career to experience a true sense of belonging.”

Read the full article here. To track progress on this effort, subscribe to our email list for updates!

The Washington State Superintendent of Public Schools recently published this incredible case study of Grandview School District and their successful Ninth Grade Success Team practices. See below for a brief excerpt from the OSPI article or click here to read the full blog post.


“When Henterson Carlisle talks about the importance of successfully completing ninth grade, he points to the data.

“Ninth graders are three to five times more likely to fail a class than [students in] any other grade,” said Carlisle, Washington Director of the Center for High School Success (CHSS), a national project of the education advocacy organization Stand for Children. “When a ninth grader fails a class, it reduces their chances of graduating on time by 40%.”

With support from Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding, CHSS is working with school districts across Washington to increase the number of ninth grade students who finish their first year of high school on track to graduate in 4 years. Students are considered “on track” when they pass all their classes in ninth grade.

CHSS coaches school districts to use student behavior, grades, and attendance data to guide their process of creating systems that support the transition into ninth grade, building Ninth Grade Success Teams, and determining interventions that are catered to individual student needs. As a result, each school district uses different strategies to best support their students.

“We meet schools where they are,” Carlisle said. “It may look different from School A to School B.”

In a two-part series, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) will look at two Washington school districts that are working to increase their ninth grade success rates. First up is the Grandview School District in central Washington…(read the full article here).”

Good news: there has been significant progress in Washington towards a more equitable education for every student.

Today, we’re publishing a report that shows a majority of Washington school districts have adopted an Academic Acceleration dual credit policy that is rooted in racial equity. Our path is bending towards justice in Washington as we celebrate the removal of historic barriers for students of color and students from low-income families. 

This is a milestone almost a decade in the making.

In 2012 and 2013, Federal Way and Tacoma school districts paved the way when they began automatically enrolling students into the next most rigorous course they were qualified for. Federal Way saw a 70% increase in dual credit enrollment and Tacoma tripled its dual credit enrollment for students of color from 19.5% to 60% by 2018, with no drop corresponding in student passage rates.

It hasn’t taken long for this approach to catch on. As the map above shows, the policy has spread across the state and schools continue to demonstrate significant gains for underrepresented student groups in dual credit courses. Now, we’re celebrating the fact that 160 school districts have adopted a policy and joined the movement towards dual credit equity!

You can review the current list of districts that have adopted a policy in our Building Bridges report, published today.

When Stand advocates and partners were fighting for statewide adoption of this policy in 2019, former Washington State Teacher of the Year Nate Bowling wrote in The Seattle Times about the impact of Academic Acceleration in his district:

“The underrepresentation of students of color and low-income students in advanced courses is a long-term driver and consequence of societal inequality.

We are not doomed to repeat the mistakes and failures of the past. In Tacoma — where I teach — our standard is to try to make our advanced classes demographically representative of our schools. It’s an official policy called Academic Acceleration. We never turn a kid away — even jocks who may be surprised to learn they qualify for advanced courses find themselves in my classroom. This policy works, sometimes even after the students (or their parents) express hesitation at the start of the school year about taking on advanced coursework.”

Washington state is committed to increasing enrollment in dual credit courses as a tool for addressing inequity. Dual credit courses like AP, College in the High School, Running Start, and CTE programs prepare students for their next steps in college and career. “Growing equitable access to dual credit programs is one way to stem exploding student loan debt and better prepare our young people for an economically stable future.” (OSPI, 2018)

Today’s report is the result of years of advocacy and efforts to create a more equitable education system. Click here to view the report and see if your district is included, then celebrate with us by sharing the good news with your community!

We’re proud to be standing with you and with these districts as we pave the way for a more equitable education system for every student.

he following is a letter sent by high school principal Triscia Hochstatter to her Senator, Judy Warnick, in support of expanding the Ninth Grade Success Team Grant program that has been piloted in Washington state since 2019.

Dear Senator Warnick,

I’m writing to ask for your support of the budget proviso that would expand the OSPI Ninth Grade Success pilot to $8M and to 80 more schools in Washington State.  Moses Lake High School has been a participant in the pilot since 2019 and we have reaped many benefits as a result. Overall, the work of this organization has resulted in an average increase of 13.9% of freshmen on-track to graduate across all the pilot districts. While Moses Lake High School’s on-track to graduate statistics are not seeing an increase YET, the strategies introduced to us regarding how to look at data to make informed decisions has uncovered areas of concern that are now being addressed. For example, grading practices can sometimes be taken for granted and have become a focus of Moses Lake High School as a result of the coaching we have received through the support of our 9th Grade Success Coaches. We have been able to dig into the difficult work of examining harmful versus productive grading practices that lead to student learning. In tandem, we continue to develop data analysis protocols, making systemic changes that improve the culture for learning and empower our teaching staff to become solution-oriented and I have no doubt with this strong foundation that we will see increased rates of ‘freshmen on-track to graduate.’ 

I have been involved in education for over 30 years and have seen programs come and go. As a participant in the pilot, I can say that I have no regrets about entering into a partnership with the Center for High School Success. Because this organization is about providing coaching and working alongside a school team, the practices schools embrace to improve the on-track to graduate statistics are championed by teachers themselves creating an invested interest for success. With a staff of approximately 170 people, it is a slow process to create change, however, the staff buy-in this organization promotes by their very coaching method and structure of support accelerates implementation of research-based practices leading to student success.

It is true that COVID has created many challenges for schools. Being a part of this pilot gave us the support we needed to move forward with the implementation of embedding academic support for all freshmen within the school day. In addition to the time allotted for academic support, students were given social-emotional support and the opportunity to interact with one adult and a small group of other 9th grade students. This has been instrumental in connecting freshmen with our school and each other during this challenging COVID time. 

And lastly, efforts to target freshmen to implement practices that lead to their academic success are working. 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.

As a principal, I urge you to support this program so we can continue to be proactive and create less of a need to be reactive. Thank you for your time. I’d be more than happy to discuss this further if you have any questions.


Triscia Hochstatter, Principal

Moses Lake High School


Below is the fourth edition of our Parents & Families newsletter for the 2019-20 school year.

Para información en español, visite este sitio web y seleccione español en la esquina superior izquierda.

Welcome back to our Parents & Families newsletter, and welcome to 2020! Now that we’re into the second half of the school year, I’d like to dive into a new topic over the next three months: high school graduation pathways.

No matter what grade your student is in, they’re working toward the academic milestone of achieving a high school diploma at the end of their 12th-grade year. Recently, our state made some updates to the way high school graduation can be achieved in Washington, so it feels like an opportune time to dig into all you need to know about graduation. If you have any specific questions, please don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected] and ask.

In this newsletter, I’ll start with an overview to keep things simple and give you a chance to start digesting the information. Over the next two months, I’ll dig deeper into the details.

So, what does it mean to receive a high school diploma in Washington? Ideally, it means that the student receiving it is prepared for life after high school. Literally speaking, though, a high school diploma in Washington means the following things, as of 2019:

  • you’ve passed the required high school courses
  • you’ve completed a High School and Beyond Plan to guide your course choices
  • you’ve completed one of the following pathways:
    • passed the state assessment in English/Language Arts (ELA) and/or Math
    • passed a dual credit class in ELA and/or math
    • passed an AP/IB/Cambridge class in ELA and/or math
    • passed a transition course in ELA and/or math
    • passed a sequence of Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses
    • achieved the minimum Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) passing score
    • met the graduation score of the SAT or ACT in ELA and/or math
    • met a combination of the above pathways in ELA and/or math

Now, although all these pathways are options for students, your district may only offer some of them right now. The best way to move forward in getting the most relevant information for you would be to research what is going in your district, because every district is a little different.

Here are some resources that review the changes from a statewide lens to get you started:

I hope this can serve as a starting place for you, and then we’ll pick up with more information in our next newsletter.

If you’re interested in learning more about graduation pathways or about how to advocate for change at your school and at the state legislature, please join us as a volunteer and we’ll reach out to connect and learn more about what you’re interested in.