If you are a parent, educator, student, or community member in Washington state, you may have heard of OSPI, or the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. But what exactly is OSPI and what does it do? We will answer some common questions about OSPI and its role in overseeing K-12 education in Washington state.
What is OSPI?
OSPI is the state education agency for Washington state. It is led by the Superintendent of Public Instruction, who is elected by the voters every four years. The current Superintendent is Chris Reykdal, who took office in 2017. OSPI is responsible for implementing state laws and policies regarding education, as well as administering federal and state funds for various educational programs. OSPI also provides guidance, support, and resources to schools and districts across the state.
What are OSPI’s main goals and priorities?
OSPI’s mission is to ensure that each and every student in Washington State has access to a high-quality public education that prepares them for college, career, and life. To achieve this mission, OSPI has set six long-term goals:
- All students prepared for post-secondary pathways, careers, and civic engagement.
- All students have access to personalized, rigorous learning experiences.
- All students are supported by qualified, effective educators and leaders.
- All schools have adequate resources and supports for student success.
- All students are safe and healthy in their learning environments.
- All students are engaged in their learning and feel a sense of belonging in their school communities.
To pursue these goals, OSPI has identified several priority areas for the 2024 legislative session, such as:
- Improving classroom air quality and ventilation to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other airborne diseases.
- Increasing paraeducator wages to attract and retain qualified staff who support students with diverse needs.
- Closing opportunity gaps for historically underserved students by expanding access to dual credit programs, career and technical education, early learning, and mental health services.
How does OSPI measure and report student and school performance?
OSPI uses various tools and indicators to monitor and report how well students and schools are meeting the state’s academic standards and expectations. Some of these tools and indicators are:
- State Tests: These are standardized assessments that measure students’ knowledge and skills in English language arts, math, science, social studies, health, fitness, arts, and technology. State tests are administered annually to students in grades 3-8 and 10-11.
- Washington School Improvement Framework (WSIF): This is a system that evaluates schools based on multiple measures of student achievement, growth, graduation rates, attendance rates, discipline rates, dual credit participation rates, and English learner progress rates. WSIF also identifies schools that need additional support or recognition based on their performance.
- Washington School Report Card: This is an online platform that provides detailed information about each school and district in the state. The report card includes data on student demographics, enrollment, attendance, graduation, assessment results, WSIF ratings, teacher qualifications, per-pupil expenditures, and more.
How can I get involved or learn more about OSPI?
OSPI welcomes feedback and input from all stakeholders who care about public education in Washington state. There are several ways you can get involved or learn more about OSPI’s work:
- Visit OSPI’s website to access various resources, publications, reports, newsletters, webinars, podcasts, videos, and more.
- Follow OSPI on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or LinkedIn to stay updated on the latest news and events.
- Contact OSPI’s staff or offices by phone or email to ask questions or share your concerns or suggestions. You can find the contact information for each department or program on OSPI’s website.
- Participate in public meetings or hearings hosted by OSPI or the State Board of Education to voice your opinions or learn about current issues or initiatives. You can find the schedule and agenda for upcoming meetings on OSPI’s website or the State Board of Education’s website.
- Join a committee or advisory group that advises OSPI on specific topics or programs. You can find a list of current committees and advisory groups on OSPI’s website.
- Vote for the Superintendent of Public Instruction in the next election. The Superintendent is elected every four years by the voters of Washington state. The next election will be held in November 2024.
We hope this blog post has given you a better understanding of what OSPI is and what it does. If you have any questions or comments about this post or about OSPI in general, please feel free to leave them below. Thank you for reading and for your interest in public education in Washington state!