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    Frequently Asked Questions for the Class of 2020 and Other High School-Related Topics

    We will continue to update the Class of 2020 FAQ as more questions and answers arise. Please contact ccr@seattleschools.org for senior-related questions.

    How are state graduation requirements changing to respond to the impact of COVID-19? 

    The State Legislature passed and the governor signed HB 2965 (go to the Washington State Legislature website to read the bill). Here is the key new section of this bill: "Recognizing that schools and districts throughout Washington have different needs and resources to respond to the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, within existing resources, the state board of education may administer an emergency waiver program to grant local education agencies and private schools flexibility so that students in the graduating class of 2020 or earlier who were on track to graduate before the gubernatorial declaration of emergency of February 29, 2020, and any subsequent amendments to that proclamation, are not negatively impacted by measures taken by the local education agency or private school in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)…"

    OSPI issued guidance on providing seniors with meaningful credit-earning opportunities on Friday, March 20 in their Bulletin 022-20.

    The Washington State Board of Education (SBE) adopted emergency rules around an emergency waiver for districts in response to COVID-19. To get the waiver, districts will need to complete an application and demonstrate a good faith effort to address core course requirements and credit deficiencies. Districts that receive the waiver will have the authority to waiver credits on an individual basis for seniors who were on track to graduate this school year.

    Seattle Public Schools' waiver application has been approved.

    What is SPS’s approach to helping students graduate? What graduation requirements can students waive?

    SPS is taking a number of steps to support seniors to graduate as they had planned and stay on track towards their postsecondary plans. Our goal is to help seniors stay engaged in learning and earning their credits to enhance their college and career readiness.

    Eligible high school seniors will have access to the State Board of Education emergency waiver of state graduation credit requirements for the 2019-20 school year. Due to COVID-19, students are eligible for the waiver if they were on track to graduate as of February 29, 2020. School counselors will identify eligible students and meet with them remotely to discuss the implications of requesting a waiver. It is very important that school counselors can call or email students, or message them in some way. If you are not sure that your child’s school counselor has up-to-date contact information, please contact the counselor or school principal.

    As in previous years, students may also request waivers from the state Physical Education and Washington State History requirements.

    Superintendent Denise Juneau and the Seattle School Board have also agreed to issue a blanket waiver for all local and school-based graduation requirements that go above and beyond state graduation requirements. These requirements will be automatically waived for all seniors who have not yet met them. Local requirements include service learning, an additional credit above the 20 required by the State of Washington, an additional 0.5 credits of CTE, and specific courses in social studies and English. School based requirements may include senior projects and/or additional credits.

    In order to graduate, seniors must meet or waive all state graduation requirements. Students who are not able to complete a Graduation Pathway may apply for an Expedited Waiver. All students must complete their High School and Beyond Plans. Information about completing High School and Beyond Plans and Graduation Pathways will be communicated to you by your student’s school counselor directly.

    What are the criteria for applying for an Expedited Waiver from the Graduation Pathways Requirement?

    School counselors will work with eligible students to submit Expedited Waivers from the Graduation Pathways requirement. Students are eligible for the waiver if they fall into one or more of the following categories:

    1. Admission to an institution of higher education or career preparation program
    2. Scholarship for higher education
    3. Completion of a college-level course (that does not meet dual credit criteria)
    4. Military enlistment
    5. Other: Student was enrolled in a spring 2020 course that would have met a graduation pathway, but the credit was waived
    6. Other: Student intended to take a test (such as Smarter Balanced, ACT, or SAT) to demonstrate proficiency, but the test session was canceled in spring 2020
    7. Other demonstration of student’s skills and knowledge
      For more information on the Expedited Waiver, please contact your school counselor or read the FAQ from OSPI.

    For more information on the Expedited Waiver, please contact your school counselor or  

    Will there be waivers for other high school students (Classes 2021, 2022, and 2023)?

    We are not aware of any state law or guidelines that address this question yet. We will update as we receive additional guidance from the state.

    How will students in the Class of 2020 who are deemed “off track” per HB 2965 per supported?

    For students who are deemed “off-track” per HB 2965, school-based staff, in collaboration with the SPS College and Career Readiness team and using the district’s Racial Equity Analysis Tool, will review what they learned from the initial outreach to senior students and begin to develop plans for their graduation and postsecondary transition.

    What supports for credit recovery during school closures will be provided to students?

    The district is providing schools with more licenses from their existing online credit recovery providers. Some online course providers are offering its course content for free. For these online course options, teachers will still need to review student work.

    SPS is also exploring creating additional courses in Schoology and/or through the creation of packets. CAI may ask high school teachers to create project-based learning through Schoology and packets that can be accessed by any of our students.

    School-based staff (e.g., teachers, academic intervention specialists) will check in regularly with students engaging in course-taking and credit recovery and provide support/assistance as needed.

    What guidance do we have on SAT and ACT testing?

    All questions about the SAT scheduled for Saturday, May 14 need to go to the College Board. SPS only contracts for the school day SAT. Any school that decides to be a testing center for the Saturday SAT contracts with College Board independently from SPS. For example, Rainier Beach High School is a test center for the test scheduled for May 14. Any SPS student registered to test there should have received information from The College Board directly on any changes or updates to this scheduled exam.

    Information on ACT testing at any of SPS high schools during the weekends should be directed to ACT. Any school that decides to be a testing center for the Saturday ACT contracts with ACT independently from SPS.

    What specific supports for the Class of 2020 who are English Learners (EL) and migrant students will be provided?

    English learners teachers are connecting with EL students through phone, email, and Schoology.

    EL teachers are working in collaboration with students, families, counselors, and grade level and content area high school teams to: increase access to Schoology via their phones; provide instruction on how to connect technology at home with school websites and online coursework; assess EL student needs; provide instruction on how to connect technology at home with school websites and online coursework; collaborate with grade level and content area high school teams to assess student needs; determine work that needs to be completed; create plans of support; connect and communicate with student’s families; collaborate with instructional assistants around student outreach and support; and coordinate supports and logistics so students can take competency based testing for their heritage language and earn credit.

    The district’s migrant supervisor is in communication with migrant families weekly.

    Migrant students are eligible for:

    • Packets to retrieve credit, supported by the district’s Migrant supervisor.
    • The Dream Academy at the UW during the summer where they can receive .5 credits in either Science, Math, or an Elective.
    • Migrant students are also eligible to take competency-based testing for their heritage language and earn credit.

    What is the plan for World Language Credit testing and Dual Language Immersion STAMP testing?

    World Language Credit Testing and Dual Language Immersion STAMP Testing has been postponed due to Covid-19. Previously scheduled dates for the spring will be rescheduled.

    Depending on the health situation and district guidance it is possible there will be optional testing dates over the summer, as well as in the fall of 2020. If you have questions or would like to schedule testing for a student that is currently a senior you can contact Dr. Thad Williams at tbwilliams@seattleschools.org.

    How will grading work for students engaging in course work during school closure? How will students earn credits?

    In accordance with OSPI guidelines, we will “continue making every effort to provide seniors with meaningful learning that enables them to earn the credits required to graduate.” Read the High School Grades FAQ. 

    What happens if families and students pay for and take online out-of-district courses during school closure? What rules will determine how these courses are addressed when school resumes?

    Per Superintendent Procedure 2024, students must request permission in advance to take online out-of-district courses and add the credits to their high school transcripts. Generally, permission is granted if the student needs the course to graduate and it is not available at the school, or if taking the course will get the student on track to access college preparatory coursework in 11th or 12th grade.

    Online out-of-district courses may be taken for credit only, not for letter grades.

    Online courses may only be taken with OSPI approved providers. Read the list of approved providers. 

    Exceptions to Superintendent Procedure 2024 will not be made due to school closures related to the coronavirus. Not all students/families are able to pay for out-of-district online courses, so to preserve equity for all students, existing rules will remain in place at this time.

    For more information, visit the SPS webpage on this policy and procedure.

    Can students enroll in online schools offered through other districts?

    Some students may choose to enroll or dual enroll in online schools offered through other districts, like the Federal Way Internet Academy. Students who are enrolled or dual enrolled in online schools like the Federal Way Internet Academy are not subject to the rules outlined in Superintendent Procedure 2024. Credits and grades earned through online public schools in other districts can be transferred to the Seattle Public Schools transcripts.

    For more information about this option, please contact the enrollment office by email at admissions@seattleschools.org or by phone at 206-252-0760.

    What is our guidance for Running Start students?

    Current Running Start students should email their school counselors for electronic copies of their Enrollment Verification Forms (EVFs) for Spring quarter classes. Emailed forms from school counselors count as a signature. For Spring quarter, signatures are not required in case your school counselor is unable to send your EVF to the college.

    Running Start courses are considered Seattle Public Schools courses. School year courses are not subject to the rules outlined in Superintendent Procedure 2024 for out-of-district courses, even if the Running Start courses are offered online. Summer courses are subject to the procedure and are paid for by the student and their family.

    Students should reach out to school counselors for courses that meet graduation requirements. If a school counselor has a question about courses that count for graduation requirements, they can contact the SPS College and Career Readiness team.

    Students who are currently not enrolled in Running Start who wish to drop some or all of their current classes to take classes through Running Start are currently subject to SPS procedure. Any classes dropped after five (5) weeks must have Es entered on their transcripts.

    Students who do not wish to drop classes will have tuition covered by the state Running Start funds based on the number of classes they are enrolled in with SPS. See the EVF for details (linked below). Families may pay out of pocket expenses to cover the additional costs.

    Students who qualify for free and reduced lunch have the college, placement tests, and other fees waived. Colleges also often provide books for checkout as well. Tuition is still subject to the state guidelines for enrollment. See EVF for details.

    Where can students get up to date information on college admissions?

    Students can get information through direct contact with the colleges/universities where they have applied or been accepted.

    The National Association for College Admission Counseling is providing updates on college admissions deadlines. 

    The Common App provides information regarding disruptions such as the coronavirus. Impacted students can reach Common App's dedicated support team via email (recovery@commonapp.net). Fee waivers may be available for students facing unexpected loss. Students who are having difficulty sending official test scores also have the option of sending self-reported scores to colleges. Visit the Common App website for more information.

    The Community Center for Educational Results is also providing updated information on colleges in Washington. Go to the Community Center for Educational Results google spreadsheet to learn more.

    What other resources are there to help students prepare for the transition to postsecondary options, including college?

    The Puget Sound College and Career Network has this webpage with specific guidance and tools for students and families engaged in post-secondary planning.

    What is the guidance on Seattle Promise at this point?

    For Seattle Promise Applicants, there are a few important requirements to complete to keep your Seattle Promise scholarship and remain in the program:

    BY APRIL 3:

    BY APRIL 15:

    BY APRIL 30:

    • Complete your English and math placement tests (will be sent to you on April 3).
    • Complete your registration survey (will be sent to you on April 3).

    Seattle Colleges is still accepting applications. Seattle Promise is just one funding option of many and Seattle Colleges are ready to help you explore other funding options. Let Seattle Colleges know if you missed the deadline and want to attend Seattle Colleges by filling out their web form.

    What are the 504 supports for the Class of 2020?

    The SPS Central Student 504 team will reach out directly to 12th graders with a 504. More details to come.

    What is the guidance on Bridge to College courses?

    Students who pass both semesters of the Bridge to College course may use it as a Graduation Pathway.

    What if I have questions about the high school AP Exams for 2020?

    Please visit the High School Advanced Placement (AP) Exams Online 2020 page.

    What decisions have been made about graduation ceremonies and proms?

    We will provide an update as soon as possible. We are following state and District guidelines on group gatherings. More details to come.