Partners for Our Children

SB 5688 directs the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to convene a work group that would recommend comprehensive social emotional learning benchmarks for grades kindergarten through high school that build upon what is being done in early learning. Benchmarks must include, for every grade level at least the following: self management; self awareness; social awareness; relationship skills; responsible decision making.

The work group is further directed to (a) develop guidance for schools, school districts and educators, to promote social emotional learning that is culturally competent, linguistically appropriate, provides a positive learning environment, is inclusive of parental involvement, promotes school safety, includes best practices in assisting students with transitions, and incorporates best practices to address the mental health continuum of children. (b) Provide technical advice on how social emotional learning fits within existing teacher and principal evaluations. (c) develop an implementation plan that provides a framework for incorporating social emotional learning and is aligned with other initiatives.

SB 5688 specifies who must be on the work group, with whom the work group must consult, and the date (Oct. 1, 2016) by which a report must be submitted. The report must consist of recommendations for benchmarks, guidance, technical advice, and an implementation plan.

Additionally, Educational Service Districts are directed to develop and maintain the capacity to serve as a convener, trainer, and mentor for educators and other school district staff on social emotional learning. School districts are authorized to use (existing?) funding to develop and update their action plan and must submit the report to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction on an annual basis and make the plan available on their websites.

Committee amendment:   As amended, school psychologist is added to the list of workgroup members. A provision is added that the workgroup must reflect the cultural, racial, ethnic, gender, and geographic diversity of Washington State to the greatest extent possible.

Amendment in Ways and Means:  The amendment in Ways a Means added a subject-to-appropriation clause to the new duties required of OSPI, and eliminated the training requirement of the ESDs.

Senate Floor Amendment:  A floor amendment was adopted that adds a school social worker and a school counselor to the list of work group members that will recommend social emotional learning benchmarks.

As amended by the House Education Committee:

Engrossed second SSB 5688 as amended by Committee on Appropriations:  Provides for a pilot project involving two educational service districts (ESDs), rather than requiring all ESDs, to develop and maintain the capacity to serve as convener, trainer, and mentor for educators and other school district staff on developmentally appropriate interpersonal and decision-making knowledge and skills of social and emotional learning. Changes terminology regarding social and emotional learning to be consistent with the terminology used throughout the striking amendment. Specifies that the pilot project is to begin no later than January 1, 2017.

This is the companion bill to HB 1760.