Raymond, Quincy and Issaquah school districts were recognized as Boards of the Year by WSSDA at its 2017 annual conference. The three represent small, medium and large school districts, respectively.
Boards of the Year are selected from among the successful applicants for WSSDA’s Boards of Distinction program. They are judged to have provided particularly strong examples that demonstrate alignment with the Washington School Board Standards.
Raymond is a first-time participant in the Boards of Distinction recognition program. Quincy has been recognized once previously, while Issaquah is an eight-time winner of the Boards of Distinction accolade and was named Board of the Year in 2015.
“This year we had a really strong group of applicants,” said Colleen Miller, WSSDA’s director of leadership development. “Our Boards of the Year, in particular, did a great job illustrating how their decisions lead to specific actions, supported by district resources, and whose positive impacts were clearly verified through data.”
Representing districts with up to 1,000 students, the Raymond School District distinguished itself with strategic and detailed evidence of how they vision, plan, monitor and adjust their district’s strategies for student success. For example, the board made a decision to allocate resources, and form a partnership with the organization “Save the Children,” to establish a parent education program for pre-school families. Over the past two years, participating children from birth to age 3 have been read to an average of 59 times per month and age 3 to 5 students an average of 45 times per month.
Beginning with the Quincy Promise campaign and following through with a strong commitment to decreasing the opportunity gap with clear evidence linking the board’s decisions to positive outcomes, the Quincy school board offers a model for others. This past year, Quincy 6th graders grew 3.4 times their expected Smarter Balanced Assessment growth rate in math and 2.2 times in ELA. Eighth-grade students gained 3.6 times their expected growth rate in ELA. Quincy was among nine other districts named as Boards of Distinction representing the medium-sized category with 1,000-9,000 students.
Representing districts with over 9,000 students, the Issaquah school board has persisted in their efforts to close the opportunity gaps. One clear example is the increased number of pre-kindergarten students participating in a summer readiness program—from 40 to 120 students. Another example is their disaggregated data regarding pass rates for Advanced Placement testing. Issaquah is also focusing on eliminating barriers to increase the diversity of students identified for the highly-capable program.
“Simply applying for Boards of Distinction allows us to evaluate our work in a way that’s different from ordinary processes, so we’ve incorporated it into our annual work schedule,” said Issaquah board member and WSSDA President Marnie Maraldo. “It helps us reflect on our work and even identify new areas to focus on. I would encourage all boards to consider participating in the Boards of Distinction program.”
See each winner’s application to become a Board of Distinction: