RE Lewis River Academy:
Recently both Mark and Kim Knudson attended the WALA conference.
At the Conference Mark was one of the main presenters: Mr. Knudson presented the ALE portion of our Student Information Progress System (SIPS) to a standing room only crowd. The NWAC accreditation team was so impressed with SIPS that they recommended we present it to the other schools in the state. LRA and TEAM use SIPS to comply with ALE regulatory requirements. Questions from the audience gave us ideas on how to improve SIPS. We've already had requests from other districts to share code and design. Mr. Rippl is working with LRA and TEAM to make necessary improvements to the tool.
Legislative workshop: No bills are currently active on the hill. It appears the legislators are giving us a year or two to settle into the rules. The last few years, they have changed the laws repeatedly, rolling them out in August just before school started. The overall feeling of the conference attendees is that legislation is creating so much paperwork, it's affecting the time and ability of the teachers to teach.
OSPI presentation: DLD Director Karl Nelson spoke about the current legislative session. He has not been summoned to the hill, meaning there are not any ALE related bills pending at this time. He presented the efforts to identify quality open educational resources (OER). Regarding a question from Mr. Knudson, he stated that school boards will need to add policy on the handling and sharing of open resources.
State auditors session: Lead administrators from the Schools Team and Program Evaluation Team announced an RFP to hire an ALE subject expert to work on their staff. They fielded questions regarding audits and appeared truly interested in learning how our programs work. All schools between 10-100 students will be audited by mail or email to provide documented evidence of compliance with ALE regulations.
TPEP workshop: ALE groups, including administrators are looking at ways to evaluate ALE using TPEP. Unfortunately, we did not hear anything substantive at this workshop. The attendees do see a need to consider the unique ALE education environment.
WINGS workshop: This is a yearly subscription program ($2,300) that works very similar to our SIPS program. The creator of WINGS attended Mr. Knudson's SIPS presentation and they met multiple times outside of the workshops to talk about both of their programs. These discussions led to some of the upcoming improvements in SIPS. Because WINGS has to satisfy schools statewide, it is not as user-friendly and effective as SIPS. It's a great alternative for districts that don't have the programming talent like we have. Thank you Mr. Rippl.
Guitar building STEM program: This is an NSF funded STEM program. Students make an electric guitar from scratch in a semester. There is curriculum already approved by OSPI. There is summer training paid for by NSF in June in Everett. This is a fantastic program for applied math and science. More importantly, it gets some students re-engaged in school. The program was taught by two women who had no manufacturing/building or guitar playing background.