State of Education Address 2017-18
“With the Federal Way community placing our 23,300 scholars at the heart of this vibrant city there’s nothing we can’t accomplish to ensure their bright futures,” remarked Dr. Tammy Campbell, superintendent of Federal Way Public Schools (FWPS), at the Nov. 1, 2017 annual State of Education address hosted by the Greater Federal Way Chamber of Commerce.
Campbell spoke to a room filled with approximately 200 attendees, including public officials, community members, business leaders, higher education administrators and FWPS scholars, highlighting successes like the highest graduation rate of 83 percent for the class of 2017, areas of growth and how the district is measuring goals in its new strategic plan. Campbell called out that great schools make a great city with a thriving commerce, active, engaged, richly diverse and productive citizens, as well as safe neighborhoods.
Campbell shared an update on progress toward each of the five different goals identified in the district’s strategic plan.
For Goal One: The early years building the foundation, Campbell identified the measure of progress is the percent of scholars meeting or exceeding grade level standards in English Language Arts and math by the end of third grade. Third grade reading is on target and has increased 19 percent since 2016. The district is supporting this goal by kicking off the first FWPS Early Learning Convening event on Nov. 16. Learning Partnership Guides, which articulate expectations at each K–12 grade level, have been distributed to families at each school site.
For Goal Two: Whole child, thriving, confident, responsible individuals, Campbell identified measures of progress are the percent of scholars participating in at least 95 percent of classroom instructional time, and the percent of scholars and families participating in Scholar-Led Conferences (SLC). SLCs had an increase in participation from 73 percent in the 2015–16 school year to 92 percent in the 2016–17 school year. School attendance has increased from 93.7 percent in the 2016–17 school year to 94.4 percent in the 2017–18 school year. The district will continue with a robust attendance awareness campaign, and increase efforts to ensure 100 percent participation in SLCs.
For Goal Three: Active learners, engaged, empowered, critical thinkers, a measure of progress is the percent of scholars that are engaged and challenged as measured by a perception survey which showed 60 percent of students feel engaged demonstrating an area of growth for the district. Moving forward, the district is working on expanding science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and STEAM (STEM with an emphasis on the arts) opportunities for students including STEM Summer Learning Academies and a district-wide STEM Exploration Night on March 14, 2018.
For Goal Four: Content area competence, mastery of all subjects, a measure of progress includes the percent of scholars meeting grade-level standards in core subjects. FWPS third grade reading is at 38 percent, and eighth grade reading is at 49 percent. FWPS third grade math is at 44 percent, and eighth grade math is at 30 percent. The district must help our scholars improve in both reading and math scores. The good news is 16 FWPS schools are outperforming, or on pace with their peers. While the district didn’t have consistent curriculum for the last 20 years, it is in the process of rolling out a guaranteed and viable curriculum to provide consistency across all school sites.
Graduation rates have increased every year, and for the first time ever FWPS had the highest graduation rate of 83 percent for the class of 2017. For Goal Five: Persistence to graduation, high school graduation through successful transitions, measures of progress include the percent of ninth grade scholars on track for graduation, and the percent of scholars who complete applications for College Bound scholarships, and FAFSA and WASFA. FWPS has the highest College Bound Scholarship completion rates in the south King County region. The percent of scholars who have completed the FAFSA and WASFA has increased 7.6 percent from school year 2015–16 to 2016–17. FWPS outperforms the state with 62 percent of high school graduates who attend college. The district will continue to promote Career and Technical Education so more scholars may learn about careers in fields such as engineering and human services.
Campbell also asked the community to remember to vote by Nov. 7 for the school construction bond proposition.
Finally, noting that the community and district must have high expectations for our scholars and that words matter, Campbell closed with a quote from an uknown author, “Words are seeds they do more than blow around they land in our hearts and not on the ground. Be careful what you plant and careful what you say. You may have to eat what you planted one day.”