SPS Superintendent Banda comments on seniors not meeting State math requirements

Banda says SPS will not ask State for a waiver of of requirements

The following letter was sent from from Seattle Public Schools Superintendent José Banda to high school principals to illustrate concern over seniors who are not meeting the State's graduation requirements for math. HIs letter follows:

Dear Seattle Public School students and families,

Ensuring our students are able to graduate from high school prepared for college, career and life is at the core of what we do at Seattle Public Schools. Graduation is so important, and we are concerned about the approximately 80 seniors that have completed all of the graduation requirements -- except for meeting standards on either the End of Course Algebra or Geometry Exam.

The graduating class of 2013 is the first in Washington State history to have this new mathematics test as part of the state graduation requirements. Since these students entered high school, the assessment has changed from a Mathematics High School Proficiency Exam to an End of Course Exam, and the standards addressed by the assessment have been adjusted.

Seattle Public Schools strongly believes in high graduation standards for our students. At the same time, we are committed to equity for all students and we are concerned that low income and students of color are disproportionately impacted by the requirement. However, the District will not be asking the state for a waiver of this requirement. Our initial research shows that to waive this requirement would necessitate legislative action at the state level, and OSPI is not entertaining district request for waivers from this requirement.

The following opportunities are available for students to reach the state graduation requirement:

  • Students may complete a Collection of Evidence (COE)
  • OSPI recently added an additional COE submission date for seniors.
  • Students who submitted a collection this winter and are eligible to augment are encouraged to do so.
  • If you would like to learn more about submitting a Collection of Evidence, see the Academic Intervention Specialist or your School Counselor.
  • SAT/ACT Scores may also be used to meet the graduation requirement.
  • To use the SAT equivalent, a student must earn an SAT score of 390 in math, or 350 in reading, or 380 for writing.
  • To use the ACT, a student must earn a 16 in math, or a 13 in reading, or a 15 in writing.
  • The following sites provide dates and locations of these tests: https://apstudent.collegeboard.org/home, www.satcollegeboard.org, or www.actstudent.org.
  • Students have until May 17 to take either the ACT or SAT – check with your counselor for payment options.
  • Students may re-take the state math assessment as many times as they like in an attempt to meet the graduation requirements.
  • The next mathematics End of Course testing window will be the last three weeks of the school year. Results will be available in September.
  • If you have other questions about retaking the tests, please see the Academic Intervention Specialist or your School counselor.
  • Students can enroll in Summer Credit Retrieval to gain additional skills that may support them in meeting the State Mathematics requirements
  • In summer 2013, this program is housed at three sites: Chief Sealth, Cleveland and Roosevelt.
  • Classes run from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. from June 24 - Aug. 8.
  • Students can learn more by contacting their School Counselor by May 31.
  • In addition, in some circumstances, individual students can seek a waiver of the new math graduation requirement from the state.
  • Please see http://www.k12.wa.us/assessment/WaiverAppeals/Appeals.aspx for information and rules related to appeals.
  • Finally, students and families with complaints about the process can contact the Office of the Education Ombudsman at 866-297-2597 or via email at OEOinfo@gov.wa.gov

Unfortunately, students who have not met the new graduation requirements will not be able to participate in graduation ceremonies in June. We know this will be disappointing for our students and families, but if all requirements are met over the summer or into next fall, students will be able to participate in the district-wide graduation ceremony held in November.

Please know that our principals, teachers and counselors are here to support you. It is our goal to help our students graduate, and I hope these opportunities allow our 80 seniors to graduate with a diploma from Seattle Public Schools.


José Banda
Seattle Public Schools

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