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ERIC Number: EJ1180079
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-May
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1540-8000
Washington District Keeps Culture of Learning at Center
Girtz, Suzann; Salina, Chuck; Eppinga, Joanie
State Education Standard, v18 n2 p28-32 May 2018
Sunnyside High School in Washington State, a school of more than 1,600 students, had a graduation rate below 50 percent in 2010. The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) had repeatedly identified Sunnyside as a low-performing school--that is, in the bottom 5 percent of the state's high schools and therefore qualifying for support. Yet five years later, the graduation rate reached 90 percent. Disproportionality in graduation rates--the opportunity gap between economic or racial/ethnic groups--disappeared altogether. During the 2009-10 school year, Sunnyside received a federally funded School Improvement Grant (SIG) and chose the transformation model, one of four models on the federal menu. The model, among other things, required the school board to hire a new principal to facilitate school improvement. In April 2010, the school was awarded a Title I grant of $1.5 million for each of the successive three years to improve its graduation rate. The foundational element that allowed leaders at Sunnyside to improve graduation rates was the development and implementation of a conceptual framework. This framework shows the relationship between academic press and social support, held together and enlivened by relational trust. Graduation rates and grades increased with an increase in relational trust, as measured by the Center for Educational Effectiveness. This article describes how Sunnyside School District has demonstrated that a district that combines academic press, social support, and relational trust is vibrant and responsive. When boards at the national, state, and local levels align their work and ground it in an effective conceptual framework that includes these elements, policies are more likely to be not only more effective--but also to make learning part of a joyous, lifelong endeavor.
National Association of State Boards of Education. 2121 Crystal Drive Suite 350, Arlington, VA 22202. Tel: 800-368-5023; Tel: 703-684-4000; Fax: 703-836-2313; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Washington
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A