There are many bills of interest to private schools, so the WFIS board dedicated a two-day retreat in Olympia to study the array of current policy and discuss the potential affects for private schools. On the first day as a whole group, board members heard from one another details of the topics that are most critical to our school communities, sharing stories and finding commonalities. That evening we broke into teams to work on defining clear advocacy statements. Then it was off to the Capital early Tuesday morning to present the WFIS Legislative Agenda 2018!
WFIS school leaders were divided into six teams to attend 20 pre-scheduled meetings with our state representatives. Our message:
- Private schools need to be made aware of dangerous situations that threaten students and staff as they are happening. There is no better way to protect children than to give schools the information they need to react. Our schools cannot rely on parents for emergency information.
- Families need continued access to affordable, high-quality childcare. To ensure this, subsidy rates for Working Connections Childcare need to be increased to at least 70% of market value so hard-working, high-quality providers can cover current costs.
- WFIS strengthens education for all students in WA State. Our teachers and principals cooperate in all aspects of policy making and will contribute to the highest quality education standards for children and opportunities for families.
Following the meetings at the Capital, we reconvened for a debrief exchanging feedback from the meetings. Everyone felt the connections made were important and powerful. Best of all, our legislators around WA State now have personal connections to the private schools in their communities and a greater sense of who the educators are leading 83,000 kids who attend private schools in WA State.