Each year the Washougal School Board of Directors identifies a set of goals based on the 2019-2025 WSD Strategic Plan.
For the 2020-2021 school year, the Board has identified goals around Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; Partnerships to support students; and fiscal resiliency, three of the pillars in the Strategic Plan.
A little less than two years ago, the Washougal community started a strategic planning process for our schools. District leaders met with, and listened to, hundreds of district patrons, staff, and students. We gathered feedback about all aspects of the district, listening for the critical themes we needed to work on, together. A steering committee representing all of our patrons took the feedback and crafted our strategic plan, with equity as a central pillar for our work. Our students, our families, our staff, our community all want us to focus on equity and to eliminate the achievement gap. The strategic plan, adopted in 2019 by the school board, challenges us to disrupt systems that perpetuate institutional bias, to increase diversity in our workforce, and to ensure equity is at the center of our decision making.
Equity Definition: Equity is ensuring that each student and staff member has access to resources in order for staff to support students to reach their dreams and goals and achieve success. Annual Goal: The District will form building and district level teams, analyze our data and develop and begin implementing our 3 – 5 year Equity Plan. Measurable Outcomes
Equity Definition: Equity is ensuring that each student and staff member has access to resources in order for staff to support students to reach their dreams and goals and achieve success.
Annual Goal: The District will form building and district level teams, analyze our data and develop and begin implementing our 3 – 5 year Equity Plan.
Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Student Support Aaron Hansen is guiding the work of helping all of us learn and grow in our ability to see WSD consistently provide equitable opportunities and outcomes for all of our students. This important and challenging equity work will require all of us to lean into the critical conversations needed to disrupt systems which perpetuate institutional biases and oppressive practices. The timeline below identifies what we have done so far and what we are planning to do in the future.
Similar to other school districts, Washougal has experienced significant and persistent disparities in the discipline of students based upon race/ethnicity, disability status, language, sex and other factors. It was clear that these trends warranted serious attention to work toward equitable opportunities and outcomes for each and every student. In recognition that disciplinary actions put students at higher risk for negative school and life outcomes, we updated our student discipline policies, procedures and practices to ensure due process protections for all students and to provide a continuum of equitable, culturally responsive, instructional approaches to support students and all members of the school community in meeting behavioral expectations. Along with the updates in our policy and procedures, we provided training for our district and building administrators. This training focused not only on the policy but classroom strategies that our teachers can use to proactively address behavior.
The Washougal School District partnered with the Camas School District in providing a “Day of Equity” training on October 11 which was a professional learning day for both districts. All WSD staff were invited to attend this training that included keynote speaker, Caprice Hollins, co-founder of Cultures Connecting and author of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Strategies for Facilitating Conversations on Race, individual breakout sessions facilitated by Camas and Washougal staff and a student and staff panel discussion including a WSD student.
We know that our teachers are central to the success of our equity work, and that is why our district is partnering with the statewide teacher association WEA to provide equity training. Sixteen of our teachers attended three days of Culturally Responsive training in July 2020 in order to become our Culturally Responsive trainers for staff. Our district and building leaders attended a day of training with Ben Ibale, WEA Civil Rights Coordinator, on August 4. All of our teachers and building administrators attended the first day of the Culturally Responsive training on August 26. This training was facilitated by our Equity consultants and our teacher trainers. The Culturally Responsive training will support our teachers in becoming more culturally responsive and improve their classroom engagement with students from diverse backgrounds, social groups and cultures through meaningful, caring adult relationships. The overall goal is to “Foster hope across differences in order to increase resiliency and academic success for students.”
Each building will establish its own equity team. Equity teams will receive support from our Equity consultants throughout this year as they engage in intentional efforts to identify disparities that create opportunity gaps as they develop their focus for the year. These teams will use an equity lens with the aim to make the necessary changes to building processes and practices and to foster hope across differences in order to increase resiliency and academic success for students.
Our equity work this year includes developing and adopting a WSD Equity Policy. As mentioned earlier, our data suggests that among student learning outcomes, race, ability, language, and socioeconomic status continue to be the most persistent predictors of student performance. We need to prioritize our efforts and resources on strategies that eliminate the disparities that exist and every form of oppression that perpetuates inequities in our system. This policy will provide an equity lens we will use to examine current district practices.
The District is establishing an advisory team in the 2020-2021 school year that will consist of staff, students, parents and community members. Team members will be selected based upon geographic location and representation of the diverse population of our community. This team will review and discuss data, prioritize action steps, and advise on the development of the district’s equity plan.
|Administrative Discipline Policy & Procedure Training||$14,000||$9,000|
|“Day of Equity” Training
(with Camas School District)
|Culturally Responsive Classroom Management Training||$250,000||$250,000|
|Culturally Responsive Classroom Management Training Trainers||$15,000||$15,000|
|Building Equity Teams||$60,000||$60,000|
It is important for those who are experiencing discomfort through this process to reach out and let us know, it provides an opportunity for us to do what we do – TEACH! We look forward to these conversations, and helping those who are new to the work to understand the challenges ahead of us, and to include more voices in shaping our path forward. Our district leadership and school board have prioritized our equity work this school year. We have begun this critical work with investments in professional development for teacher leaders for our equity work, paid training for all teachers district-wide, and paid time for equity teams at each school. We have prioritized partnerships, like those with WEA and the Camas School District) that will help us listen to the students who need our support, dismantle systemic barriers and oppressive practices, and create meaningful change that closes the achievement gap.
Washougal has a proud history of community and schools working together to support students and to help them succeed.
For the 2020-2021 school year, the district is working to identify organizations who are interested and able to support the students we serve in new and creative ways, as well as expand partnerships with other community and child serving organizations to ensure all of us are supporting our students, families, and community, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
GOAL: We will partner to build culturally responsive schools, where all children are known, supported, and connected through positive relationships in a safe environment.
Identify student social-emotional needs and seek resources to support them
Provide authentic, real-life and engaging mentorships and learn about our students
Develop connections and relationships within Washougal so staff and students can contribute to the community
Work with service organizations, businesses, social service providers, families, students, and staff
Encourage students to develop perseverance, determination, and resiliency
Partner with early learning providers
Invest in birth to three programs
Provide mental health supports for students
Ensure a safe and welcoming learning environment
Seek partnerships to provide engaging opportunities for students
Reduce challenges and barriers to parental participation
COVID-19 has tasked the school system in Washougal to reframe how we deliver student instruction in a very short time period. We have responded and developed learning opportunities that are flexible to align with what meets our student and family needs. This has also reframed how we use our resources. We are adjusting and planning, within the budget, to operate in a virtual learning environment by adding software support for our students, providing connectivity for students that have access issues and planning on additional delivery expenses to get learning resources in the hands of our students.
GOAL: We will maximize resources to create opportunities for our students through a transparent budget process that aligns with our priorities for student achievement and operations of the district. Every dollar matters.
There are many unknowns in this year’s budget, including how many phases we will transition through during the year, and what increases or changes in costs will happen as we move between phases. The district has experienced a decline in enrollment, particularly in Kindergarten, that has reduced the total number of students by about 5.5%. We have experienced increased cost for sanitization, personal protective equipment, non-funded postage to mail materials for families, increased costs for providing Internet service for students, and additional needs for software, technology supplies, and services. The district has also increased staffing to build the Washougal Learning Academy, a new, family-friendly and flexible learning environment to support families who need ways to continue their child’s education without the demands of daily synchronous opportunities.
These increased demands on the budget have not been offset by potential savings, although we have seen some small decreases in costs for utilities, substitute costs, and an increase in one time funding through the CARES act.
State revenue allocation is based on budgeted enrollment. The state funding is based on a prototypical school funding formula that generates funding through an allocation model not a reimbursement model. If enrollment changes significantly from budget will impact the allocation funding from OSPI and the District’s funding adjustments based on actual enrollment will start in January 2021 through August 2021. We are monitoring enrollment monthly and making adjustments to maintain our commitment to our stakeholders of being fiscally sustainable.
In response to the challenges we face, the district has crafted a budget that provides flexibility to adjust to changes in funding due to the decline in students, lack of pupil transportation ridership, and lower participation in revenue generating programs.
Alignment of Staffing to Prototypical Funding Model
Staff Temporary Layoffs
Reduction in Certificated Teachers