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State Advocacy

SOWA works to encourage policy makers at all levels—city, county, and in Olympia—to become champions for accessible, equitable policies for afterschool and summer that are engaging, high-quality, and that look different than the school day.

Together with the Sparkwind Movement, the Expanded Learning Coalition, and our policy and advocacy partners statewide, SOWA advocates for increased funding for and access to expanded learning opportunities for all of Washington’s youth. By engaging with decision makers through site visits, advocacy, and in Olympia, SOWA moves the needle for expanded learning in Washington.

2017 Legislative Session Overview

The 2017 legislative session included several bright spots for expanded learning opportunities afterschool and in the summer.  This will help in our collective efforts to build momentum for the Sparkwind Movement and increasing equitable access for more children and youth to high-quality programs!  

Take a moment to read SOWA's blog providing an overview of 2017 legislation and budget items supporting expanded learning opportunities. 

Stay tuned as we begin planning for the 2018 legislative session and determine our priorities to continue momentum for increased access to quality expanded learning opportunities. 

Capital Funding

Does your program or site have a construction need? Perhaps a new kitchen, playground, or even a new building? The state of Washington offers an often untapped resource for funding brick and mortar expenses, or capital funding, for educational and/or community-based organizations. Expanded learning programs are in a good position to attain capital funding, which includes the Youth Recreational Facilities grant (YRF), the Building Communities Fund (BCF), and Building for the Arts (BFA). We created this issue brief that goes into detail on the issue of capital funding, and the different options available to programs.

ELOs and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):

In 2015, Congress approved the new federal education law entitled the ‘Every Student Succeeds Act’. This law governs federal education spending and policy. As a part of this new law, each state must submit a plan on how they will use utilize federal resources. ELOs can be an allowable use of funds in many parts of the law including assistance to low-income students, for professional development, a strategy for school turnaround, and more.

The OSPI Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELOs) Council is legislatively tasked with developing recommendations to the state that will help increase access for Washington students to expanded learning. To that end, the Council submitted comments and recommendations to each ESSA work group opportunities to include ELOs in the ESSA plan. (View a copy of these recommendations.) We hope K12 stakeholders, providers, families, and youth will help promote ELOs as an effective use of federal funds and a great strategy in the state ESSA plan.



For questions on expanded learning policy in Washington State or in your community, tips for inviting policy makers to visit your program, and more, please contact David Beard at DBeard@schoolsoutwashington.org