“We Are Recovering” WA Schools Chief Praises Covid Response from Teachers, Students
(Olympia, WA) --State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal says he's proud of the progress Washington's K-12 education has made, now years removed from the height of the Coronavirus pandemic. In a speed marked to time with the start of the state's legislative session, Reykdal says they've come a long way.
“I am so proud of the progress we have made over the last year,” Reykdal said. “Our schools are leveraging one-time federal funds to support student learning and well-being recovery in innovative ways, and their tireless efforts have had a tangible impact. However, our students’ needs are profound, and they preceded the pandemic.”
Reykdal addressed the continued recovery from the pandemic by noting that Washington’s students were impacted by Coronavirus in countless ways, but the recovery is steady.
The OSPI says this includes things like dedicated staffing to support students to graduation, free mental health services, access to higher education in high school at no cost to the student, and much more. Districts are on track to spend down all the funds by the
Enrollment Said To Be A Mixed Bag
While steep declines in enrollment for the early grades were noted during the first parts of the pandemic, attendance for high school students has remained very steady through the pandemic, even increasing from pre-pandemic numbers for some grades. Reykdal adds transfers to private schools and homeschool peaked during the height of the pandemic in 2020 and have since returned to their pre-pandemic rates. The graduation rate for the Class of 2022 held steady at 82.3%, a small decline of 0.2 percentage points as compared to the Class of 2021.
The OSPI Chief Says Lawmakers Need to Step Up
Reykdal has put forward a legislative wish list. This includes providing all students with meals at school at no cost to the student, eliminating financial barriers to dual credit programs, ensuring all of Washington’s youngest learners have free access to books at home through their fifth birthday.