Learn How Partnerships Can Strengthen Communities at National Conference

Dare to Disrupt!Partnerships are critical to the success of afterschool and summer programs, whether it’s with a school, community organization, funder, or policymaker. Despite the need for and benefit of partnerships, navigating the process of identifying and deepening partnerships can be challenging, especially with the demands we may face in our day to day roles working with youth.

Bringing diverse groups of stakeholders together may seem like a daunting task. How do you do it?

These five sessions at the National Conference on Afterschool and Summer Learning, coming to Seattle October 24-26, will share the real stories of communities that have come together in support of summer and afterschool. Register today so you won’t miss them!

Incorporating Youth Development into School District Summer Programs

Tuesday, 1:00 PM

Holy Chea, Program Officer, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, Tacoma, WA
Christine Brandt, Principal, Jason Lee Middle School, Tacoma, WA
Fahren Johnson, Youth Programs Director, YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties, Tacoma, WA
James Lovell, Program Quality Director, School’s Out Washington, Seattle, WA
John Hughes, Summer Program Coordinator, Seattle Public Schools, Seattle, WA

Abstract: In this session, hear how school districts, and youth development providers partnered to train certificated teachers and provider staff together on implementing youth development principles in summer programs. While youth development professionals are often trained to incorporate academic components, this model builds common language and youth engagement practices to strengthen both academic and enrichment elements during summer. Lessons from the Summer Learning Program Quality Initiative will also be shared.

Federal Opportunities for Summer Learning

Tuesday, 10:00 AM

Rachel Gwaltney, Director of Policy and Partnerships, National Summer Learning Association, Baltimore, MD

Abstract: Come learn all of the opportunities for summer learning in the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and what summer learning advocates need to know as states and districts are planning for ESSA implementation. We will also share examples and resources for funding summer learning through other federal programs.

Summer Learning as a Citywide Priority: Boston’s Story of Scale

Tuesday, 1:00 PM

Chris Smith, Executive Director and President, Boston After School & Beyond, Boston, MA
Donna Muncey, Deputy Superintendent of Strategy, Boston Public Schools, Boston, MA
Rahn Dorsey, Chief of Education, Mayor’s Office, City of Boston, Boston, MA

Abstract: What happens when the Mayor, Superintendent, and intermediary join forces to make summer learning a citywide priority? This panel will describe why Boston set a Mayoral goal for summer learning — and how the community exceeded the goal a year ahead of schedule. Lessons will focus on how to make measurable progress and secure broad stakeholder engagement.

Breach the Silos: Impact Built on Common Ground

Wednesday, 12:00 PM

Erin Offord, Senior Director of Programs, Big Thought, Dallas, TX
Gigi Antoni, President & CEO, Big Thought, Dallas, TX

Abstract: Aligning cross-sector partners around a big idea is a key element to scale and sustainability. Big Thought leaders will use case studies from Dallas, work in collective impact to highlight successes, “hiccups”, and in-progress efforts to disrupt systemic barriers to student success.

Rural Communities Rock!

Wednesday, 12:00 PM

Bob McNeil, Leadership Development Coach, Coaching Leaders, Spokane, WA
Christy Rather, Manager of Technical Assistance, National Summer Learning Association, Baltimore, MD

Abstract: Rural communities know what it takes to run high quality programs with little resources and without access to big city solutions. So how do they sustain their energy and resources? Connections & Relationships! Join this session for rich conversations, networking and sharing of how to move through challenges like transportation, changing demographics and messaging to families- the importance of your program.

Summer Meals Season Over… See You Next Year!

orange-300Although the heat persists, last week marked the last day of summer for hundreds of free meal sites in public parks, schools and other Seattle spaces. The sites have served free and nutritious lunches to Seattle children and youth since July and will continue to offer these services next summer.

SOWA staff visited Othello Park in Beacon Hill on the last day of the free summer meal program, and watched as kids took a break from playing to pick out their preferred foods with excitement. Throughout the summer, board games, basketballs and art supplies lined the adjoining tables, and hip hop and tap classes met at the park each week.

Many families rely on free or reduced priced lunches during the school year but the need for accessible food options does not stop when school is out. Summer meal sites provide kids with sustenance to develop into healthy young adults, and when combined with engaging summer activities, youth are more likely to attend programs to eat and learn.

The City of Seattle sponsors meal sites like Othello Park in collaboration with United Way of King County, Seattle Parks and Recreation and Seattle Public Schools.

With the start of the school year, providers are now looking for ways to distribute evening snacks and suppers so that low-income youth are able to eat healthy meals all year. Many afterschool meals are offered as part of high quality expanded learning programs that are of little or no cost.

The need for more sites to meet increasing demand is great, and providers are encouraged to spread the word that nutritious meals are needed year round to support children and their families.

Interested in learning more about afterschool and summer meals across Washington State? Emil Natalie at nkahn@schoolsoutwashington.org

Meet SOWA Board Member John Cassleman

John CasslemanWith a Board of Directors passionate about improving opportunities for Washington’s youth, we wanted to share with all of you what inspires and drives our Board of Directors to volunteer and serve as advocates and spokespeople on behalf of SOWA’s mission.

This month, we’re introducing you to John Cassleman, a former high school teacher in the “remote rural” city of Bridgeport, Washington who recently relocated to Olympia. His past teaching experience includes English, History, and Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID), as well as a “College in the Classroom” English course in partnership with Wenatchee Valley College. While at Bridgeport, he served as the head coach of the school’s first cross country team and as an assistant track and field coach in the spring. John loves to eat pie, read books, and go on adventures with his wife Shanell and their daughter Aster. Take a moment to get to know John and what brought him to SOWA.

What inspired you to join the Board at SOWA?

SOWA offered me an opportunity to make an impact in the education of our youth on a statewide level. I had to take advantage. I also felt that I could offer SOWA my perspective as an educator who works with school-age students in rural Washington. And then, on a personal level, it has always been my desire to help deepen the connection between eastern Washington and western Washington.

As a teacher, why do you believe our work is so important when it comes to supporting youth?

Youth need as many places, formats, and settings to learn as possible. They need to find something that works for them. School, in the traditional sense, is not enough. Students need ownership of their learning and something they can call their own. That said, it’s not enough just to have programs available. In order to be successful and safe for our youth, those programs must meet certain quality standards.

Can you give us some of your perspective coming from a rural community?  What are some of the biggest challenges, and how do afterschool and summer help address needs?

The biggest challenges in rural districts are challenges of access and opportunity. For example, computer models tend to be older, connection speeds are slower. People don’t go to see plays, or have community centers. Compounding this, transportation is especially difficult, especially with afterschool programs. Variety is another challenge.  People (educators, usually) are already wearing many hats just to provide the basics for their students – engaging lessons, clubs, sports, afterschool tutoring – and don’t have time or the expertise to run additional programs. In rural communities, too, many families sustain themselves through agricultural work. That makes for long days, especially in the summer. Unfortunately, that is the time children need the most support.

I say all this without much pessimism. Last year the Bridgeport High School Senior Class put on a Haunted House for Halloween. It was as if every child in the city was there. Rural communities come together when opportunities are provided. Programs like Feed Your Brain give people a reason to participate.

How have you grown in your professional and personal life since joining the Board?

I have furthered my knowledge about the power of afterschool and summer programming, for one.

Working with well-organized, knowledgeable, and passionate people has also helped me improve my ability to approach problems holistically. As a board member, I am also a spokesperson for a cause and so I must address a variety of audiences in a way that is commensurate with their own wants and needs.

Any fun memories from afterschool or summer programs you can share with us?

One memory that stands out is from a summer camp call Palouse Pioneer Day Camp. At this camp we identified flora and fauna, created crafts from gathered materials and we made skits. One year, our groups’ skit involved teasing the other groups’ counselors. For one of the jokes, they picked me to grab hold of a counselors two braids and make a crack about water-skiing. I don’t remember the specifics of the joke or the punch line, so it can’t have been that good. What I do remember, however, is the feeling of empowerment by being the center of attention and the feeling of joy at being allowed to be silly.

Let’s Meet Natalie Kahn, Our New Americorps VISTA

natalie-300One of the many ways SOWA supports children and youth across Washington is to advocate for children who do not have access to adequate nutrition both after school and during the summer months. Our support ranges from guidance for programs on how to get funding for snacks, to our annual Feed Your Brain grant.

We’re happy to bring on Natalie Kahn, our latest AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, whose work will be directly related to advocating for summer and afterschool meals. Let’s get to know her!

Where are you from?

I grew up in Seattle and in LaCenter, Washington, a small town in the southern part of the state. The last four years I lived in Ohio in another small town called Wooster, where I attended the College of Wooster. After graduation I moved back to Seattle and it feels great to be home.

What do you like to do in your own time?

I grew up riding horses and I do endurance riding, which is long distance racing on horseback, as well as horse backpacking and trail riding. I love the outdoors, especially the Pacific Northwest. I like to backpack, bike, swim, kayak, and so on! My mother is a ceramics teacher, so I work with clay and other art forms, like jewelry and printmaking; I also like to write poetry. I play soccer and have more recently become interested in salsa dancing.

What brought you to SOWA?

At the College of Wooster I worked closely with a local food cooperative called Local Roots. I discovered how important it is for communities to be able to access nutritious food, not only for health but for social development and engagement among community members. I became passionate about environmental and food justice during this time and decided to take a stand on these issues. When I learned about School’s Out Washington and the opportunity to work on the Afterschool and Summer Meals Expansion Program I was hooked. I now work as an AmeriCorps VISTA at SOWA.

Tell us one thing you are proud of.

I graduated from the College of Wooster this last May with a major in anthropology and a minor in environmental studies! I am proud of myself for finishing but I am also grateful for the support that I have had. I now want to support others in making education a reality.

Boeing to Support STEM Learning at National Conference

Dare to Disrupt!

Wondering how you can bring science, technology, engineering and mathematics education into your community? Wonder no more. As part of Boeing’s centennial celebration, Boeing has launched 100 Days of Learning—an educational initiative designed to inspire the next generation of innovators to explore the wide world of STEM and beyond. With materials that are perfect for teachers, parents, and mentors, as well as STEM learning sessions at the upcoming National Conference on Afterschool and Summer Learning, you will be more than prepared to inspire children in your community to explore all that the world of STEM has to offer.

sticker_v1_CMYKAs part of Boeing’s 100 Days of Learning, Boeing engineers have teamed up with educational experts like PBS LearningMedia, Teaching Channel, Iridescent’s Curiosity Machine and Above and Beyond to develop real-world STEM-oriented materials. The resources are designed to support teachers, parents, and mentors and provide them with hands-on activities, lesson plans and videos to cultivate curiosity and engage students in critical thinking and problem solving. Be sure to check out these materials, available for free through Boeing’s 100 Days of Learning webpage, and through partner channels.

Many of the design challenges, interactive activities, and videos are great for afterschool programs and encourage teamwork and creative thinking. These activities work well with groups and help students learn through exploration and play—so it doesn’t feel like more work! If you’re looking for inspiration or a way to get started, Curiosity Machine has some fantastic videos on their YouTube channel that show how to complete their design challenges; and PBS LearningMedia has educational videos and interactive activities on their website that let students dive into the history of aerospace and flight.

While you’re at the Conference, don’t forget to check out some of these great sessions on other ways to integrate STEM education into your organizations. Whether you’re on a budget or grappling with STEM concepts as someone from an outside field, these sessions along with the 100 Days of Learning materials will arm you with the skills and materials you need to encourage and inspire the STEM innovators of tomorrow.

The Hard and Soft of STEM: Imagine It! Create It!

Brent Cummings, Andrew Sayers, William Hammond, and Martin Fortney, Walla Walla Public Schools

Abstract: Dynamically engage all youth by appealing to their innate curiosity and innovative tendencies. Session presenters will model and actively engage attendees in a highly effective, student-centered learning methodology through hands-on activities utilizing 3D Printing, Drones, Pyrotechnics (sort of), and more!

Our Notes: Brent Cummings and his crew of STEM-crazed Walla Wallans have presented at SOWA’s annual Bridge Conference before, including this session on drones and quadcopters in 2014. Expect to be making something with your hands (or if the abstract is to be believed, maybe blowing something up).

Time: Tuesday, Oct 25, 10:15 AM.

But I’m Not a Scientist!

Kathryn Eckert, Librarian, Chicago Public Library, Chicago, IL
Bryan Wunar, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL

Abstract: STEAM concepts are all around, but if you’re not a STEAM expert, they may be challenging to add to your program. In this session, a librarian and a science educator explore ways to integrate STEAM into any program, from staff engagement to design challenges. No previous STEAM experience necessary!

Our Notes: There are opportunities to include relevant STEM lessons in many fields. For example, understanding why different colors of light combine to make new ones is relevant to a theater program. We hope this session brings in people who might not realize the potential their programs have to work outside the box.

Time: Tuesday, Oct 25, 3:00 PM

STEM on a Budget: Leveraging University and Community Partnerships

Zach Pekor, Project Director, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD

Abstract: By effectively utilizing, local institutions of higher education and community based non-profit organizations, program staff, administrators, and students can engage in meaningful STEM experiences.

Our Notes: We’ve seen what partnerships with universities can do for afterschool and summer programs (like this one in Mt Vernon). Especially for STEM, this isn’t something to ignore.

Time: Tuesday, Oct 25,  3:00 PM

Dare to Succeed in Math – Disrupting the Negative Views

Mary Curry, Math Enthusiast, MANGO Math Group, Snohomish, WA

Abstract: Math is the single strongest indicator in academic and financial success. Math is the root to success in the sciences, in reading and in social skills. Learn how to help students succeed in math with fun creative problem solving games that help build math confidence.

Our Notes: No other subject as important as mathematics gets such a bad rap. We hope this session can dispel myths and show us how to communicate math’s importance to the children who need it most.

Time: Tuesday, Oct 25, 1:15 PM

Summer STEM PD: Bridging NGSS and SEL to Prepare Staff to Work with Youth

Ann Durham and Sarah Summers, Providence After School Alliance, Providence, RI

Abstract: In this interactive session, participants will explore effective approaches to summer STEM professional development, with a particular focus on how to approach the Next Generation Science Standards from a youth development and social-emotional development lens to inform training and practice.

Time: Tuesday, Oct 25, 10:15 AM

Register now!

Register today and you’ll have a chance to attend these five workshops and more!

Register here.

Thanks to The Boeing Company for their generous sponsorship to support STEM learning at the National Conference on Afterschool & Summer Learning.

Literacy at the National Conference

Dare to Disrupt!

If there is one skill that makes learning possible, its literacy. Its not just the responsibility of classroom teachers to teach this skill. All of us in this field, but especially those of us involved in summer learning, have a responsibility to keep kids reading so they can keep learning both when the school bell rings and long after they graduate.

The National Conference on Afterschool and Summer Learning is coming up on October 24, 25, and 26, and we’re proud to feature these three sessions on literacy where you can learn how successful out-of-school time organizations make learning about reading and writing fun!

Register for the conference today so you don’t miss out.

Program Practices to Provide Equitable Summer Opportunities for Children

Karen Colville, Save the Children, Fort Collins, CO

Tuesday, October 25, 10:15 AM

In this session, participants will be provided with low-cost, high-impact practices on literacy components, health and nutrition, team-building and more from Save the Children partner schools in rural communities.

REAL Kids Make REAL Progress in Literacy-Based Summer Learning Program

Sean O’Connor and Andrew Waters, Harlem RBI, New York, NY

Wednesday, October 26, 12:00 PM

Harlem RBI’s innovative REAL Kids Summer and After-School Program serves youth in East Harlem and South Bronx, NYC from kindergarten to fifth grade. Last year, 99% of children that attended REAL Kids avoided summer learning loss and had a great time! Find out how the youth they serve play, learn and grow with incredible success.

Building Self-Esteem with Storytelling, Writing and Rapping!

Meredith Scott Lynn and Julia Gabor, WRiTE BRAiN BOOKS, Los Angeles, CA

Wednesday, October 26, 10:15 AM

Self-expression by way of storytelling, journalism and rapping is a powerful avenue for increasing the self-esteem of young people while learning vital literacy skills. This lively session will teach you how to inspire kids to find and explore their “own voice.”

Announcing 2016-2017 Youth Work Methods Series in Spokane

Hey Spokane friends! We’re very happy to be able to announce the complete calendar for our 2016-17 Youth Work Methods Series workshops in Spokane.

These aren’t the only workshops we’ll be hosting in Spokane this school year, so be sure to keep following us here on our blog, or sign up for our newsletter to get updates on upcoming trainings near you.

Workshop Title Date Time
Structure & Clear Limits 09/21/2016 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Homework Help 10/20/2016 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Building Community 11/15/2016 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Ask, Listen, Encourage 01/19/2017 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Reframing Conflict 02/07/2017 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Cooperative Learning 03/09/2017 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Planning and Reflection 04/25/2017 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Youth Voice 05/18/2017 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Cultural Competency and Responsiveness at the National Conference on Afterschool & Summer Learning

Dare to Disrupt!

As SOWA’s own Jackie Jainga-Hyllseth recently told Youth Today, “To make progress with real youth outcomes, you’ve got to get staff to be responsive to the cultures of the children in the program. If you don’t train staff to be culturally responsive, how can you create a safe environment for kids to realize their potential?”

This is why Cultural Competency and Responsiveness is one strand at the National Conference on Afterschool & Summer Learning: Dare to Disrupt! The Pathway to Excellence in Education coming to Seattle this October 24-26!

Check-out the full conference schedule, and take a moment to learn about four incredible sessions at this year’s conference that seek to to improve our cultural competency and responsiveness in working with young people.

The conference summer registration rate ends August 31st, so register today to secure your spot at this one of a kind conference experience.

Using Storytelling and Culture to Engage Marginalized Students

harris-275Dr. Rénard Harris, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC

Wednesday, Oct 26, 12:00 PM

Culturally responsive teaching validates students – race, culture, and identity, and stories connect us and inform us of how to respond to what might happen in the future. Learn the process and participate in creating oral stories and using culturally responsive teaching to engage marginalized students.
Our Notes: Stories are central to human culture, and children come to understand the world through the lenses of the stories they learn. A culturally competent instructor knows that the same story may be interpreted differently by children with different backgrounds and experiences. This promises to be a thought-provoking session.

Our Notes: Stories are central to human culture, and children come to understand the world through the lenses of the stories they learn. A culturally competent instructor knows that the same story may be interpreted differently by children with different backgrounds and experiences. This promises to be a thought-provoking session.

Understanding Gender: Working with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Children and Youth

bob-275‘bob’ McNeil, Leadership Development Coach, Coaching Leaders, Spokane, WA

Wednesday, Oct 26, 10:15 AM

Transgender and gender nonconforming children and youth are becoming increasingly visible in our schools and programs. Because staff members are unsure of how to be respectful and affirming of transgender and gender nonconforming children and youth, they may unintentionally subject them to situations that are discriminatory and harmful.

This interactive training offers youth providers with information and best practice tools to provide transgender and gender-nonconforming youth with appropriate and informed support and includes: terminology, clear understanding of the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity, best practice in addressing common issues that come up including bathroom use and use of preferred names and pronouns.

Our Notes: ‘bob’ McNeil has been one of SOWA’s coaches in the Spokane area for years, and a veteran of our Bridge Conference, instructing on such diverse topics as this 2015 session on high quality programming in rural settings (which will be back for an encore this year!). Now, bob’s bringing two decades of experience in youth development and an eye for equity to helping conference-goers make transgender youth feel safe and welcome in their programs.

Supporting the Socio-Emotional Needs of English Learners

jhumpa-jimena-275Jimena Quiroga Hopkins, Co-Executive Director, Development Without Limits West, Oakland, CA

Jhumpa Bhattacharya, Co-Executive Director, Development Without Limits West

Tuesday, Oct 25, 3:00 PM

Through interactive activities, this workshop will help expand the definition of English Learner success to go beyond English acquisition, deepen understanding of the English Learner experience, and will share research-based strategies to address the socio-emotional needs of English Learners.

Our Notes: Imagine what it is like for students whose native languages are not English, yet live in an English-dominant world. Also recent Bridge presenters, Jimena and Jhumpa will impart skills for making those young people’s lives just a bit brighter.

Structural Racism

nick-debbe-275Debbie Barnes, SOWA Trainer & Coach

Nicolas Bradford, Founder, Restorative Justice Center of the Northwest, Tacoma, WA

Tuesday, Oct 25, 3:00 PM

A thorough understanding of structural racism can help all professionals provide effective services for youth and their families. In this session we will explain structural racism, provide examples of and data on structural racism, and discuss implications for youth. The material can be emotionally challenging and we will provide what we hope will be a helpful structure for understanding and a learning environment for every participant to grow.

Our Notes: Long-time followers of SOWA may recognize this session, as we frequently offer it as a community workshop. Now, this session will be brought to a national audience, giving providers historical background to understand structural inequities in American society and how racism persists today. Our colleagues from outside the Seattle area are encouraged to catch this enlightening session while in town.

Summer Learning Opens a World of Possibilities to Young Dreamers

Astronauts Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger (left) and Wendy Lawrence (right)

Astronauts Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger (left) and Wendy Lawrence (right)

SOWA has been working closely with former NASA astronaut Wendy Lawrence on our Zero Robotics program. This is a STEM summer learning program where students across Washington state get a chance to program a trio of robots located on the International Space Station. Tomorrow is the final competition for programs in Washington, when their code will actually be run *in space*!

Wendy along with another former NASA astronaut Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger understand and value the importance of STEM learning in afterschool and summer settings. We thought we’d share what our two space-faring partners had to say about the importance of this program and STEM learning in Washington.

Children across our state dream of a bright future – some dream of being scientists or doctors, others engineers. Many dream of being astronauts. While we all know that our childhood ambitions wax and wane over time, for too many children in Washington, they disappear because opportunities to turn those dreams into lifelong passions and careers are absent or out of reach.

According to the Office of the Governor, 47,000 jobs in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) field will go unfilled by 2017. Despite being the home of global STEM innovators and employers such as Microsoft, Boeing, Blue Origin, and a host of tech start-ups spanning every imaginable area, Washington’s workforce continues to fall behind in STEM.

Especially for low-income children, children of color, girls, and children living in rural areas of our state, innovative strategies are needed to engage these populations. Moreover, providing opportunities to incite passion and excitement around STEM is crucial for helping to make dreams a reality and maintaining Washington as a thriving economic hub and STEM center.

While we must focus on providing high-quality STEM education during the school day, ensuring access to STEM programming and opportunities outside of the classroom holds valor and importance as well, especially in reaching populations of children with limited access to the often expensive and therefore out of reach STEM afterschool and summer programs.

As we enjoy the last days of summer and start to prepare and think about heading back to school, it’s critical to acknowledge the key role of afterschool and summer in supporting STEM learning and engagement.  The hours youth spend in afterschool and summer programs provide experiential, hands-on learning that looks different and enhances what happens during the school year creating lasting, fun memories for all.

Organizations are stepping up to address this issue by offering low-cost programs that increase access to more children, but without public support they are only Band-Aid solutions.

In our careers, we have experienced firsthand the ambition, drive, and perseverance it takes to succeed and have our childhood dreams of becoming an astronaut come true. But we also know that fulfilling your dream becomes much more difficult if you don’t truly believe that this is a career that is open and available to you.

This summer, in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, NASA, and School’s Out Washington, we are helping dreams come true for middle school students across Washington State.  Zero Robotics, a free program in its first year in Washington State, will serve students in predominately low-income communities in King County by engaging them in a five week program learning how to write code for three small, free-flying satellites aboard the International Space Station. On August 12th, they will compete with their peers from across the country in a final competition at the Museum of Flight refereed live from space.

Youth are not just learning how to code – they are learning about physics and teamwork, and how to learn from mistakes to make a better product.  They have the unique opportunity to explore space in ways they wouldn’t have been able to otherwise, and of most value to us, they are able to see themselves in a career field they may never have thought was possible for them.

Making more expanded learning opportunities afterschool and in summer like Zero Robotics accessible to more youth from low-income and diverse backgrounds is crucial to fostering thriving communities across our state and nation that allow all youth to pursue their dreams and contribute to a healthy and vibrant society.  Let’s build more opportunities that open the door for Washington’s children to not only have dreams, but to achieve them as well.

New Regulations regarding School-Age Programs Operating in School Buildings

On July 25th, the Department of Early Learning (DEL) sent an email out to providers titled “School-Age WAC Update.” This email read, in part: “for all school-age programs that operate on public and private school premises, DEL will no longer inspect for or regulate under WACs as outlined in the School Age Facility Environment WAC List. It will be the responsibility of these programs to address any observations or concerns that relate to these subject areas directly with school personnel.”

So what does this mean exactly? Well, all licensed school-age programs have been periodically inspected to ensure that the site location met certain building specifications per regulation as well as meeting other kinds of regulations regarding provider qualifications, records, etc. For programs operating in school buildings, meeting those building specifications often meant making modifications to the classrooms or spaces inside the school or on the school playground where their programs were held.

These new guidelines from DEL, per legislation, will no longer be enforcing building and playground specifications for programs operating in schools, be they public or private. In other words, if the space is good enough to be in a school, it does not need to be modified for a school-age program. DEL will still inspect school-age programs for compliance with regulations not having to do with the physical space.

Licensed school-age programs that don’t operate in a school (such as a community center or private facility) still need to meet the same regulations as before, as would any preschool program operating in an elementary school.

Below is the full text of the email sent out by DEL on July 25. SOWA will be closely monitoring implementation. David Beard would be happy to answer any questions you have at dbeard [at] schoolsoutwashington.org.


The Department of Early Learning (DEL) recognizes that educational institutions are required to establish and maintain ongoing compliance with specific provisions of law, regulations, contracts, grants, ordinances and Federal standards designed to keep children safe during educational instruction.  

The Early Start Act (House Bill 1491) was approved on June 30, 2015, and later amended to include new language that modifies DEL’s scope of authority to regulate the physical facility environment of programs that operate on school premises. HB Section 4-(2)(a)(b) specifies the following:

  • (2)(a) In consultation with the state fire marshal’s office, the director shall use an interagency process to address health and safety requirements for child care programs that serve school age children and are operated in buildings that contain public or private schools that safely serve children during times in which school is in session;
  • (b) Any requirements in (a) of this subsection as they relate to the physical facility, including outdoor playgrounds, do not apply to before-school and after-school programs that serve only school age children and operate in the same facilities used by public or private school…”

DEL has defined the “physical facility environment” as all of the physical structures maintained within or attached to the structural building and premises, and that are directly maintained by the public or private school.

Therefore, for all school-age programs that operate on public and private school premises, DEL will no longer inspect for or regulate under WACs as outlined in the School Age Facility Environment WAC List. It will be the responsibility of these programs to address any observations or concerns that relate to these subject areas directly with school personnel.

DEL will revise WAC and RCW to reflect these changes and let you know when they go into effect. We understand that there may be questions that relate to these changes.  If you have questions that are not answered in the materials provided in this message, please feel free to contact your local licensing office for more information.

For quick access to the Legislation, please see the links below:

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