OnBoard Trainings on Educational Equity

Washington state’s 1,477 school directors oversee the education of more than 1.1 million K-12 students. That comes with a tremendous responsibility to ensure that our public education system serves all students and their families.

Under the umbrella of its complete professional development system called OnBoard, WSSDA is developing a program that focuses on educational equity. The equity program will give school directors the background knowledge necessary to support them in pursuing educational equity within their district. The program also satisfies the requirements outlined in the July 2021 Senate Bill 5044.

Overview of the Program

The trainings provide school directors with a deep understanding of what educational equity means. Directors will develop their own cultural proficiency as education leaders and consider how to lead their own school districts in a way that supports and expects educational equity for every student in their community.

Through this program, school directors can expand their skills and understanding while meeting the state requirements for school director training.

Components of the Program

The program starts with an introductory course followed by trainings in the topics listed below. Curriculum development is ongoing, so WSSDA will gradually offer more training options in each topic:

A. Recognizing Diversity and Cultivating Inclusion
B. Developing Cultural Proficiency
C. Addressing Opportunity and Outcome Disparities
D. Eliminating Identity Discrimination
E. Dismantling Institutional Racism

Topics A-C, along with the introductory course, are required elements of initial professional development for school directors. Topics D-E are available as part of continuing professional development.

Initial Professional Development

Beginning with the 2022 calendar year, school directors must complete the program once per term of elected office, which for most districts is four years. However, newly elected directors must complete the initial training within two years of election. To satisfy the initial requirements school directors must take a minimum of:

Two 2.5-hour trainings (5 hours total) that include the introductory course and at least one course from within any of the first three topic areas (A-C) listed above.

Continuing Professional Development

After completing the initial professional development, school directors have access to additional topic areas. In each subsequent term of office, school directors are required to engage in a minimum of:

One 2.5-hour training that includes self-selected learning experiences in any of the five topic areas (A-E) listed above.

Frequently Asked Questions

(PDF version of the FAQ)

WSSDA offers professional development opportunities in many areas of educational leadership for Washington state’s school directors. Some of these opportunities are designed to be taken by individual school directors and some are designed for participation by board-superintendent teams. The OnBoard Professional Learning System provides interactive learning at the board level focusing on visionary leadership, effective governance, and strategic advocacy. The Commitment to Educational Equity series is just one part of the entire OnBoard system. This graphic shows the breadth of topics covered by OnBoard.  
In July 2021, the Washington state Legislature passed Senate Bill 5044 into law, requiring cultural competency, diversity, equity, and inclusion training for Washington state’s K-12 public school educators, district leaders, and school directors. WSSDA is named within the law as responsible for identifying relevant standards and developing and delivering professional development in those topics for school directors. The Washington Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) is responsible for development of the training for educators. The requirements of ESSB 5044 are contained in various RCWs, including several related to school directors. They include:  
WSSDA is named within the law as responsible for identifying standards and developing and delivering the training for school directors. The Washington Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) is responsible for development of the training for educators, also specified in the law.
Senate Bill 5044 specifies several topic areas for required training for school directors, including cultural competency, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Initial Professional Development

Beginning with the 2022 calendar year, school directors must complete the program once per term of elected office, except that newly elected directors must complete it within two years of election. The initial requirements include a minimum of two 2.5-hour trainings (5 hours total) that must include the introductory course and one course from the topic areas in Elements A-C listed below.

A. Recognizing Diversity and Cultivating Inclusion
B. Developing Cultural Proficiency
C. Addressing Opportunity and Outcome Disparities

Continuing Professional Development After completing the initial training requirement of 5 hours, school directors have opportunities for expanded learning. In each subsequent term of office, they are required to engage in a minimum of one 2.5-hour training from any of the five topic areas in Elements A-E listed below.

A. Recognizing Diversity and Cultivating Inclusion
B. Developing Cultural Proficiency
C. Addressing Opportunity and Outcome Disparities
D. Eliminating Identity Discrimination
E. Dismantling Institutional Racism

School directors can access this training to expand their skills and understanding while meeting the state requirements through in-person, interactive professional development opportunities offered around the state in 2021 and beyond. The training is offered at WSSDA’s annual conference in November each year and in various regions around the state throughout the year.
Multiple opportunities are offered by WSSDA in partnership with local school districts and regional Educational Service Districts to bring the trainings within reach of all 295 school districts. WSSDA is working to expand access as the program ramps up. If your region is interested in hosting a training, contact WSSDA for scheduling options. A minimum of 20 attendees is required to provide a high-quality experience.
Not yet. Development of the training is focusing on providing in-person, interactive options across the state in 2022, then offering synchronous and interactive virtual training starting in 2023.
Not yet. Development of on-demand training will likely be available in some content areas after 2023. Research indicates that individual, asynchronous learning is the least impactful modality for adult learners, so it will be the last delivery method developed.
Participants will have a variety of conversations with each other and perform some guided activities together. Because the trainings are interactive, we require a minimum of 20 people to ensure a rich experience. As a result, participants should be able to leave with an expanded understanding of educational equity.
WSSDA has a group of trainers with experience serving as school directors and school leaders in Washington state. They work in teams to provide this and other OnBoard training.
The work school directors and superintendents engage in to understand and elevate educational equity in their own districts is important and has tremendous value for identifying how to close opportunity gaps and provide what each student needs to be successful. However, previous WSSDA trainings or those offered by Educational Service Districts or other sources do not meet the requirements outlined in the RCWs. The unique and research-based design of the OnBoard Professional Learning system will likely compliment and amplify the benefits of any training you’ve already taken by expanding your personal thinking about issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion.