Friday May 20th Superintendent Randy Dorn hosted the The Superintendent’s High School Art Show, an annual event co-hosted by OSPI and the Washington Art Education Association (WAEA). High school students from all nine of the state’s educational service districts (ESDs) participate in this artistic celebration each year. The finalists from these regional ESD shows are invited to participate in the Superintendent’s High School Art Show.  

The reception honored the work of our state’s public high school students. That’s correct, not a single private, independent or home school student is included in the superintendent’s showcase, as both this year and last the superintendent’s office ruled that non-public school students were not permitted to participate.  

Throughout 2016 WFIS has been actively pursuing Superintendent Dorn’s office to overturn what many feel is not only a mistake but an inappropriate denial of opportunity for thousands of high school students in Washington State.  To not allow all high school students the opportunity to engage each other in a community celebration of achievement in the arts is an issue the WFIS Board of Directors wants to see addressed.  

Superintendent Randy Dorn’s Arts Proclamation is surprisingly inclusive, given his office’s statement that the decision to only allow public school students works to be showcased was not overturned this past school year.  Of the 9 ESD’s hosting art shows for their region’s high school students, 7 do not prevent participation by private school, independent school or home school students.  The 2 ESD’s that do not leave the door open to all students, appear to do so by default, using the Office of Superintendent’s application form as their region’s application.  

The WFIS board of director’s was in full agreement that inclusion in the state art show is akin to sports competitions, musical performances, science fairs and other community events that tax payer dollars fund to highlight student achievement.  For this reason, WFIS will continue to advocate for all of the state’s high school students to be invited to participate in the regional as well as state-level art shows moving forward.