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Supporting our high school seniors

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Capitol in Olympia

Providing services, teaching, and learning during the pandemic is a challenge for all of us, but we know our high school seniors are facing exceptional hurdles.  WEA is using our union voice to advocate for supports for our high school seniors to help them achieve graduation and ease the transition into the workforce or higher education.

WEA has testified in support of HB 1121, a bill that would give districts flexibility to waive rigid graduation requirements.  The pandemic has impacted students’ ability to access graduation pathways and required coursework.  This legislation would recognize that students are experiencing major disruptions and those who are close to graduating and deserve a diploma should not be denied one.  Thankfully this bill is moving on a fast track, which should give districts the time they need to ensure every student who qualifies under the more flexible requirements gets a diploma.

“We have seen and learned that the pandemic is impacting many students across all races and ethnicities, as well as social and economic levels,” testified WEA’s Lucinda Young.  “This legislation will help students graduate from high school so that they can move to the next chapter in their lives.“

Some students will not yet feel ready for the workplace or higher education because they were unable to access needed learning, whether academic or social-emotional.  SB 5265 would create a pilot program for a bridge year, allowing high school seniors to take an additional year of classes at their high school or an institution of higher education.  Importantly, it would give students the opportunity to expunge any D or F grades from their transcripts if they take the same course in their bridge year and pass it.  It also allows students to participate in extracurricular activities for one more year.  This bill had a hearing this week.

While it’s still only week three of legislative session, we’re seeing good progress on making sure our high school seniors get the supports they need during the pandemic.  Stay connected through this work by subscribing to the OurVoice blog using the box to the right above.

Posted in: Legislative Issues
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