District News

Academic and Student Well-being Recovery Plan

Summary: SPS is now eligible to receive Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III funds, which is part of the American Recovery Plan.

SPS Academic and Student Well-being Recovery Plan

June 15, 2021 Update: The SPS Academic and Student Well-being Recovery Plan has been approved by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

SPS is now eligible to receive Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III funds, which is part of the American Recovery Plan. Action plans created by staff and additional details of how ESSER III funds will be used will be shared with the public as they are developed for the 2021-22 school year and beyond. Thank you to the Seattle School Board for approving the plan and to SPS staff, students, families, and our community for providing valuable feedback.

Background May 2021

Seattle Public Schools submitted our Academic and Student Well-being Recovery Plan to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) on June 1. A draft of this plan was presented to the Seattle School Board on Wednesday, May 19. Community feedback was collected and provided to the Board prior to their vote. The Board voted to approve the plan on Wednesday, May 26.

The SPS Academic and Student Well-being Recovery Plan is a requirement to receive Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III funds, which is part of the American Recovery Plan. All Washington school districts must submit a Phase I plan to OSPI by June 1 with school board approval, publicly post the plan, and provide opportunities for public comment.

The development of the Academic and Student Well-being Recovery Plan and broader planning work for the coming school year are guided by the district’s strategic plan, Seattle Excellence, and the student outcome priorities identified by the Board in the areas of literacy, numeracy, high school graduation, and social emotional learning, as well as our community values of community engagement, cultural responsiveness, and anti-racism.

The plan, summarized below, follows a template created by OSPI for all districts. To read the full SPS Academic and Student Well-being Recovery Plan visit our SPS Plan page.

While this plan serves as a beginning guiding vision for the district, work with educators and community will be ongoing as we work to bring the majority of students back in-person, full-time and five days a week this coming fall. Additional details on how ESSER III funds will be used and specific action plans will be shared publicly as they are created.

Instructional Model for 2021-22

Based on state requirements from the governor and state superintendent, as well as the district’s desire to best serve our students, SPS is planning to have five full days of in-person instruction at all 104 schools in the fall. We are committed to working with our community and staff to open schools and welcome back all students who wish to return to in-person learning.

We are also developing virtual options for students who decide to stay fully remote. More information about these virtual options will be presented to the School Board on June 5 and communicated to families and students shortly after.

Plan Themes

The SPS Academic and Student Well-being Recovery Plan addresses six themes, required by OSPI:

  • Student Well-being
  • Student and Family Voice
  • Professional Learning
  • Recovery and Acceleration
  • Diagnostic Assessment Tools
  • Community Partnerships

These themes are in addition to health and safety processes and protocols already approved by the school board and that meet requirements of the Department of Health, CDC, and Public Health.

Student Well-being

Seattle Public Schools is developing “A Culture of Care,” a comprehensive plan for the well-being of all students during the 2021-22 school year. This plan will include, but is not limited to:

  • Supports such as monthly community circles, restorative practices, social emotional and trauma informed lessons and supports incorporated into daily instruction
  • Clear access points, communication, and triage processes for school leaders and educators on how to identify students in crisis and access appropriate acute or longer-term supports for them
  • Strengthening of partnerships with community-based organizations and culturally relevant agencies with a focus on mental health, counseling and supports
  • Clear contact information and a process for schools who do not have counselor, social worker, or care coordination staffing in their buildings to secure support for students
  • Evaluation of student progress and effectiveness of supports/interventions using student and family climate surveys

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) will also be an intentional focus for the 2021-22 school year and will include:

  • Establishing two-way communication with student, family, and community partners regarding SEL practices
  • Partnering with community agencies and key stakeholders to align SEL practices to out of-school-time efforts
  • Partnering with City of Seattle levy-funded schools to align efforts to anti-racist SEL practices
  • Collaborating with content specialists to embed SEL skills across all content areas
  • Aligning Social Justice Standards to SEL lessons and practices

Student and Family Voice

The Office of Public Affairs (OPA) and the Division of Equity, Partnerships and Engagement (EPE) has developed a comprehensive start of school communication and engagement plan that has committed to ongoing engagement with over 20 community-based organizations that primarily serve students of color furthest from educational justice and their families. Language specific engagements, regional meetings, and regular all staff meetings are also part of the plan.

Moving forward, OPA and EPE will convene an internal SPS workgroup to support ongoing two-way engagement with students, families, and communities in support of Fall 2021 and a strong start of school.

Other recent family engagement and research efforts include:

  • Office of African American Male Achievement Listen and Learn sessions for Black families and students
  • English Learner department hosted community meetings for multilingual families and students through community-based organizations
  • Family information sessions for the upcoming Early Literacy Assessments
  • Spring and fall student and family surveys regarding remote and in-person learning
  • Analysis of online platform usage (Teams, Schoology)
  • SPS-UW research-practice partnership report (“Centering Black Families and Justice-Focused Educators During Pandemic Remote Schooling”)
  • Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) project (still in progress)

Additionally, as part of developing the district’s recovery plan for fall, we have been holding community forums, organized by affinity groups, to hear from families of students with IEPs and students furthest from educational justice about their experience with remote learning, in-person services, and what they would like to see occur in fall. Information and updates from the community forums are shared with district staff and general education and special education educators.

Professional Learning

Professional learning is central to implementation of this Academic and Student Well-being Recovery Plan and will include:

  • Training on “Culture of Care” practices
  • Science of Reading course for all certificated K-3 teachers
  • Support for culturally responsive instruction
  • Continued professional learning on recent curricular adoptions for Science K-12, Math 6-8, ELA K-5, and Spanish 6-12
  • Continued Social Emotional Learning sessions focused on educator practices, staff wellness, and anti-racist SEL approaches for students

These professional development sessions will provide detailed guidance on curriculum, assessment, and instruction to promote culturally relevant, antiracist practices and to maintain high, standards-based expectations for all students.

The early literacy instructional response will be guided by a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) framework that ensures strong instruction in foundational literacy skills (phonological awareness, decoding, and fluency). SPS requires all certified K-3 teachers to participate in a course on the Science of Reading that has identified the best instructional approaches to teaching reading. Schools may also opt-in to receive intensive training, materials, and support around SPS’s early literacy intervention program, Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics, and Sight Words (SIPPS).

Recovery and Acceleration

Seattle Public Schools is committed to supporting our students as we return to full day in-person learning, using the lessons we’ve learned during the last year. Student learning depends on strong partnerships between families and our educators.

Next school year, staff will be focused on supporting growth along each student’s individual learning path in collaboration with parents and caregivers. We will invest in enhanced academic supports, community partnerships, and extended learning opportunities to support these efforts.

Supports will include:

  • Improvements to implementation of Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) at the building level and using a MTSS framework that ensures strong instruction in foundational literacy skills: phonological awareness, decoding, and fluency
  • PreK-12 Students with IEPs Comprehensive Recovery Plan for implementation in summer and fall of 2021
  • Continued efforts to expand access to core instruction for multilingual students through co-teaching, co-planning, student schedules, student course advising, and scaffolding
  • Additional, targeted resources at 13 priority schools where more than 50% of the district’s K-3 African American boys are enrolled
    • Teachers from these 13 schools engage in a comprehensive system of support that includes year-long professional development coupled with job-embedded coaching and extra personnel dedicated to strengthening family engagement in the area of literacy
  • Decolonizing Social Studies: District-wide implementation of Since Time Immemorial, Black Studies, and Ethnic Studies
  • College and career readiness efforts – continued partnership with Equal Opportunity Schools (EOS), Naviance, Office of African American Male Achievement, Special Education, Career and Technical Education, and others to improve supports for students navigating pathways to postsecondary success

Diagnostic Assessment Tools

Seattle Public Schools has a rich set of tools to collect both quantitative and qualitative data. Examples include:

  • An annual assessment calendar, reviewed by a joint SPS-SEA committee and approved by the superintendent
  • Intensive training, materials, and support for early literacy intervention program, Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics, and Sight Words (SIPPS)
  • mClass DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) will be piloted to closely progress monitor reading instruction
  • Continuous School Improvement Plans (CSIP) are monitored quarterly using varied, available student data aligned to goals
  • New college and career readiness reports to inform schools on student credit-earning and pathway completion
  • A 9th Grade Success Tracker is being developed and will be piloted in the 2021-22 school year to ensure schools are supporting students in grade 9 towards post-secondary readiness
  • Improved grading guidance and reports to help schools promote equity-minded grading practices
  • Social-Emotional Skills are included on elementary progress reports
  • School Climate Survey will be used to establish baseline for assessing school connectedness, belonging, and engagement

Community Partnerships

Seattle Public Schools has a long history of community partnerships which will continue to support schools:

  • Partnerships with the City of Seattle that supports school day and out-of-school time work in partnership with school staff and CBOs, including academic intervention, social emotional learning, identity development, family support, and mental/physical health
  • Partnerships with 18 licensed childcare providers across 68 elementary and K-8 schools, providing academic support, youth development, enrichment, and this past year supporting students in accessing remote learning
  • Partnerships with over 450 organizations across schools and central office, providing a wide variety of programming and supports to students in multiple program areas

Health and Safety

Seattle Public Schools will continue to monitor and comply with the most up-to-date health and safety regulations and guidelines, including school facilities. SPS has also partnered with the Indian Health Board, City of Seattle, Seattle Fire Department, and area hospitals to provide vaccines for staff and students— and will continue to partner with these and other public health agencies to support healthy and safe learning environments this fall.

Next Steps

Phase 1 – June 1, 2021

Submission of Academic and Student Well-being Recovery Plan to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). SPS staff will then develop action plans, June – September 2021.

Phase 2 – November 2021

Review and analyze student data from the implemented Phase 1 strategies and interventions for each student group identified in the Recovery Plan. SPS will then adjust and begin longer-term planning of strategies and interventions for implementation over the winter and through the 2021-22 school year.

Phase 3 – April 2022

Continue to revise and improve strategies and interventions that were implemented in Phases 1 and 2 using student data. SPS will then engage in creating long-term, sustained strategies for the 2022-23 school year and beyond.

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