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Weekend at the Capital


~ WSU Superintendent Program ~Curtis Cleveringa 

  1. What are the major take always from this month’s session?

As I consider the opportunity I had this weekend, I’ve jumped to the conclusion that the pendulum is about to swing in education. For years, we’ve been underfunded on the ground floor and teachers are taxed with burdens they may not have the resources to carry. All efforts and mandates, with good intention, are hoped to improve student achievement. Assessments, TPEP, HQ & continuing certification all push teachers sometimes away from what is the most important aspect of teaching learning. That is, building authentic relationships. It was refreshing to listen to state leadership whom truly care in a way that mirrors the epitome of education! Compassion and empathy carried a constant theme throughout weekend. The following are the speakers and topics that I had the privilege to listen and reflect upon.

Lt. Governor Brad Owen – Attributes of Effective leadership –

  • Values driven
  • “Listen to Learn & Learn to Listen”
  • Leaders must compromise
  • Diversity is an asset in Washington

Gene Sharratt, Executive Director, Washington Student Achievement Council –

  • Washington Student Achievement Council’s legislative priorities
  • Keep the college bound scholarship program strong
  • Make College affordable through the state needs grant
  • Advance STEM Education
  • Enhance Consumer Protection

Randy Dorn, State Superintendent of Public Instruction

  • Vocabulary discrepancy between vocabulary acquisition across social economic status
  • Salary allocations / actual salary expenditures

Ben Rarick, Executive Director, State Board of Education

RCW 230.090


The purpose of a high school diploma is to declare that a student is ready for success in postsecondary education, gainful employment, and citizenship, and is equipped with the skills to be a lifelong learner.

Deb Merle, Governor Inslee’s K-12 Education Policy Advisory

Alan Burke, Executive Director, Washington State School Directors Association

OSPI Candidates —  Please research and build your own opinions!

Erin Jones  Linkedin & Erin Jones Facebook 

Chris Reykdal 

Larry Seaquest 

Article on Gil Mendoza 

It is an exciting time to be in education in Washington. I’m passionate about the work we do, but sometimes we hear the energy vampires in our buildings, community, public, and social media. Having been in an environment, where all individuals present are a positive force for change, was very refreshing. I loved it!

  1. How does the information presented inform your understanding of the role of the superintendent in advocating for public education in a political context?

As the building leader and future district leader, I found the weekend experience to be a treasured experience. Listening to my esteemed colleagues, I was reminded of the importance of our work in the trenches. I appreciate knowing the support throughout the state capital and all the agencies that are here to support us. I was reminded again the importance of the symbolic positions we hold and the influence we have within our communities. As we approach a dire teaching shortage in our state, I realized how imperative it is to counter the message that is being sent to our constituents about the profession. Students are not going into the profession because of the underlying messages teachers are sending them. The greatest issue facing educators today is the public’s criticism of America’s public schools. The negative perception of public schools is leading to a decrease in public support. The assumptions relating to the inadequacy of public schools fall into several categories.

  • The perception of ineffective teachers
  • The perception of a poor return on fiscal expenditures
  • The perception of student performance declining.

We carry a huge responsibility in recreating a positive mindset in education. Generally, the media and our society have pulled down the profession. We as leaders must elevate it. If we are not telling our stories, someone else is.

  1. What do you see as the critical legislative issues this session that will most profoundly impact public education? Explain.

The McClearly decision has been lingering over the legislation. When solved, it will impact educators in the state more that anything I have experienced in my career! Now is the time. In this session, the rubber meets the road… so to speak. If the legislators do not adopt a plan, the Supreme Court will most likely reconvene and impose sanctions. Hopefully the unquestionable positive impacts for rural schools will have a profound impact across the state. Students from small districts do not get the same opportunities as students within urban districts. I would expect the plan would, at a minimum, provide money for small districts to provide those opportunities for all students.

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