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Student Outcomes Focused Governance

Seattle School Board Student Outcomes Focused Governance

The Seattle School Board is responsible for ensuring that the district is achieving the community’s vision for Seattle students while adhering to the community’s values of safe, anti-racist, high-quality learning environments.

In order to accomplish this, the Seattle School Board recognizes the need to clarify its focus and align actions, practices, beliefs, and behaviors, from the boardroom to the classroom, to said vision and values. Changes in student outcomes are not possible without changes in adult behavior—and the Seattle School Board is committed to making changes to center  outcomes for students in its governance and regularly monitoring its progress toward that end.

Beginning in March 2021, the Seattle School Board engaged with the Council of Great City Schools to examine and transition district governance to a Student Outcomes Focused Governance (SOFG) model.

This framework, consistent with and drawing from the Policy Governance model, will provide the district with ever increasing goal alignment between board, central office, and school buildings; clear foci and delineation for Board (governance) and staff work (management and implementation); increased effectiveness of board use of time; and, ultimately, improved outcomes for students. More information about Student Outcomes Focused Governance.

Under SOFG, the School Board sets goals for student outcomes, based on the community’s vision for the district, and guardrails, based on the community’s values for how the vision will be achieved.

The SOFG Goals and Guardrails, adopted by the board on August 25, 2021 and revised October 26, 2022*, are aligned with Seattle Excellence and the Targeted Universalism theory of action laid out in the strategic plan.

The goals and guardrails make the strategic plan more focused, actionable, and provide clear metrics for accountability for the board to monitor student outcomes rather than adult inputs. It is in this manner that the board works, continuously, to create the conditions for superintendent, administrator, teacher and ultimately, student success.

*The goals and guardrails revisions adopted in 2022 (1) incorporated a focus on consistent and reliable operations with the replacement of Guardrail 2; (2) revised language in Guardrail 1 to provide greater clarity regarding linguistic and ADA accessibility in family engagement; and (3) revised language in Guardrail 5 to include a definition of welcoming environments in alignment with Board Policy No. 0030, Ensuring Educational and Racial Equity and the District’s Basic Rules, Rights, and Responsibilities.

Student Outcomes Focused Governance Goals and Guardrails Aligned with Seattle Excellence


  1. The percentage of Black boys who achieve English Language Arts proficiency or higher on the 3rd grade Smarter Balanced Assessment will increase from 28% in June 2019, to 70% in June 2024.
  2. The percentage of Black boys and teens in 7th grade who achieve proficiency or higher on the 7th grade Smarter Balanced Assessment in math will increase from 23% in June 2019, to 45% in June 2024 and to 70% in June 2026 – essentially doubling over 3 years and reaching the targeted 70% in 5 years.
  3. The percentage of Black boys and teens who graduate having successfully completed at least one advanced course will increase from 54% in June 2019 to 62% in June 2024


  1. The Superintendent will not allow school and district initiatives to go forth without engaging students of color furthest from educational justice and their families, including those who have a preferred language other than English and who require accommodations for disability.
  2. The Superintendent will not allow operational systems to deliver unreliable service.
  3. The Superintendent will not allow adult behaviors in central office, school buildings, or classrooms that are misaligned with district-wide vision, values, and anti-racism initiatives.
  4. The Superintendent will not allow the use of disciplinary actions as a substitute for culturally responsive behavioral and social emotional supports for students, with and without disabilities.
  5. The Superintendent will not allow any district department, school building, or classrooms to not provide welcoming environments, as defined in Board Policy No. 0030, that reflect and support the diversity of the district’s student population, their families, and community and promote a sense of belonging.

Student Outcomes Focused Governance Implementation

Over the course of the next year, the School Board and SPS staff will be working to implement the shift to Student Outcomes Focused Governance. This will include board training sessions, community engagement, progress monitoring of the goals and guardrails, and substantive changes in board practices and policies.

In June 2022, Board President Hersey created an Ad Hoc Governance Committee to develop a plan and timeline for the Board’s implementation of Student Outcomes Focused Governance (SOFG). Directors Hampson, Rankin, and Song Maritz served on the committee and conducted their work from July 1 to September 30.

The committee identified eight areas of work where Board practices, structures, and policies required modification in order to transition to Student Outcomes Focused Governance.

The eight areas were:

  • Implementation Timeline
  • Board Committees
  • Policy Manual
  • Board Meeting Agenda
  • Board-Superintendent Relationship
  • Board Accountability
  • Board Action Report
  • Community Engagement

The committee conducted research, reviewed SOFG guidance documents, interviewed staff, and interviewed outside experts in the creation of their recommendations. Committee members identified the necessary steps, policy revisions, board or staff actions, and timeline for each transition area.

These recommendations were accepted by the Board on October 26, 2022.

View the Board Action Report and a full summary of the recommendations here: School Board Action Report – Acceptance of the Board Ad Hoc Governance Committee’s Recommendations for Implementation of Student Outcomes Focused Governance

View the Implementation Timeline here: School Board Ad Hoc Governance Committee’s Implementation Timeline