Wednesday, February 29, 2012

HB 2799 - Collaborative schools, testimony in support

To: House Education Committee
re: In support of HB 2799, collaborative schools

Dear Chairwoman Santos and committee members

On behalf of the Washington State PTA, I am writing in strong support of HB 2799, collaborative schools for innovation and success. Identifying ways to better support students affected by the achievement gaps has been at the forefront of many PTA and PTSA conversations this past year. At our legislative assembly last fall, delegates unanimously voted to prioritize closing achievement gaps this legislative session by advocating for specific strategies. This particular issue also garnered the highest support in a statewide online survey that gathered feedback for voting delegates.

HB 2799 would advance three of strategies endorsed in that proposal:

  • Student-focused practices that encompass intervention and leadership strategies for each child and every classroom with positive academic and behavioral intervention systems
  • Consistently effective home-school communications and family engagement that assists in the instructional development of children
  • A funding formula that ensures children with more need get adequate support to meet standards
At its January meeting, the Washington State PTA Board of Directors also passed a position on Equitable Educational Opportunities that addresses both innovative schools and strategies to better support students. The board will ask delegates at our annual convention in May to make this a permanent position.

HB 2799 touches on various aspects of this board position (see page 38 of linked document), but most particularly the following:

Resolved, Washington State PTA will promote equitable educational opportunities that provide research-based instructional support to students enrolled in the state’s persistently lowest achieving schools and to students affected by the state’s achievement gaps. These will include, but not be limited to, supporting:
  • A tiered system of student-focused, academic supports, and identification of research-based interventions for targeted groups of students, and targeted professional development for academic intervention staff.
  • The identification and sustained implementation of research-based core reading and math programs that are sequenced K-12.
  • Consistently effective home-school communications and family engagement that assists in the instructional development of children
I would also like to thank you for exploring various options for promoting student success this session. Often these conversations become divisive, which is terribly unfortunate. Our public school system serves a great many students quite well. But years of data show us certain students do not fare well. They need more support; some of that support needs to come in the form of wraparound services, but some of it also needs to come in adjustments to the way schools approach teaching, student and family engagement, and discipline policies. Establishing collaborative schools will help the state focus on the needs of these children and will help develop instructional practices that benefit all students.


Ramona Hattendorf
Washington State PTA government relations coordinator

1 comment:

  1. The thing about 2799 is that the Colleges of Education are already having to do backflips to try and adjust to the nonsense that the PESB is pulling vis-a-vis the new assessments and portfolios for new teachers. I could easily see this falling into the category of "Sounds nice, but we don't have the time."