OSPI Receives Grant to Create Support System for Educators
OLYMPIA — November 25, 2013 — The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction recently received a grant totaling $2.4 million that will help create support systems for educators.
The three-year grant, awarded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will help support Washington state teachers and administrators transition to the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards.
Recent national surveys point to the need for additional support. The American Federation of Teachers polled 800 of its teacher members in March 2013 and found that 72 percent feel that they are not receiving the necessary resources and tools needed to successfully teach the new standards.
“A lot has been added to teachers’ plates,” said Randy Dorn, superintendent of public instruction. “And it’s been done without a lot of resources. Having a coordinated and comprehensive support system will help ease the fear that some educators have about their added responsibilities.”
“The timing of this grant couldn’t be any better,” he added. “All students will be tested on the Common Core State Standards in the spring of 2015. So we need to give educators the support they need, and we need to do it quickly.”
As part of the grant, OSPI will partner with state and national educator support and professional learning organizations, including Washington’s Association of Educational Service Districts Network, Learning Forward Washington, the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP), Washington Association of School Administrators, Washington STEM and the Puget Sound region’s Road Map Race to the Top Project.
Gary Kipp, executive director of AWSP, said he was happy to be a partner in this grant. “Teaching, learning, assessment and evaluation are all changing in dramatic ways,” he said. “Improvement in student learning is dependent on all of these initiatives working together. Having a statewide support system for professional development and support will be critical as we move forward with implementation. The collaborative approach that is described in this grant is a prerequisite to achieving that system.”
Together, the agencies will build a collaborative statewide professional learning system based on best practice research. The grant – called “Transforming Professional Learning Systems for Reform: Common Core and More” (WA-TPL) – will also award smaller grants for school districts to create administrator and teacher leader professional support systems at the local level.
“It is crucial that we have opportunities to build superintendent capacity for implementing new state standards are the new evaluation system,” said Bill Keim, executive director of WASA. “That capacity becomes so much easier to achieve when we work collaboratively and when we build strong connections between agencies.”
Applications for the district grants will be available in Spring 2014. The announcement of grantees is expected to occur by the end of the 2013-14 school year.
Washington state adopted the Common Core State Standards in July 2011 and the Next Generation Science Standards in October 2013.
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.
OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.
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