John Welch, Superintendent of Puget Sound ESD, then explained the purpose of Washington’s ESDs in accordance with RCW28A.310.010:
- Provide cooperative and informational services to local school districts;
- Assist the superintendent of public instruction and the state board of education in the performance of their respective statutory or constitutional duties; and
- Provide services to school districts and to the Washington center for deaf and hard of hearing youth and the school for the blind to assure equal educational opportunities.
Because of their entrepreneurial nature and evolution over time, ESDs continue to expand services and support to Washington school districts. In 2021, for every $1 invested in ESDs from the state, ESDs returned $53 in educational programs and services. That is $389 in services for every student in the state.
Adding to the AESD’s evolution story, Dr. Michelle Price, Superintendent at North Central ESD, walked the audience through the recent redesign effort and the pieces that are essential for keeping the statewide system aligned and accountable.
The AESD Network’s approach to partnering with OPSI has evolved in the last 10+ years as well. Alongside the network of nine ESDs, the collective purpose of OSPI and AESD is to work together to support high quality instruction and learning for ALL students, everyday, and in every classroom.
While attending the annual conference is a great opportunity for the NCESD Board of Directors to learn from others, it is also a great reminder to see how far Washington state has come to better support the state’s public schools, Henkle said.
“I think the value of working together as a local Educational Service District Board, as well as working together as a comprehensive statewide delivery system is to assure that every school district receives an excellent level of service – regardless of location.”
The NCESD Board of Directors returned home with new, inspiring ideas and confirmation that the services and support the agency provides to regional districts helps create safe, healthy, and positive educational environments where students achieve high levels of success.