LYNNWOOD, Wash., October 14, 2021 – Each school year, the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) updates its K12 Report Card, which details the academic achievements, among other metrics, of Washington public school districts.

The Lynnwood Times has compiled several metrics from the most recent OSPI Report Card and from the individual districts’ websites and social media accounts to help its readership understand how their district compares with other local districts. Of the 15 school districts in the County, this comparison focuses on the 9 most populous districts. This article will measure both the district’s academic achievements and the district’s transparency.

Student Academic Achievement

The OSPI measures student achievement based upon the number of students who meet the state’s academic standards across various grades. More information about the state standards, which are categorized by subject, can be found on the OSPI website.

Students who take the state tests (K-12) are grouped into one of four achievement levels – novice, developing, proficient, and advanced – a system set up by Smarter Balanced, an education group based out of California. Students who fall under the third and fourth levels (proficient and advanced) are counted as those reaching the academic standards.

This article will discuss the ELA (English Language Arts), math, and science standards. The student academic achievement discussed below does not include the 2019-20 nor 2020-21 school years, as those results have not been released.

The proficiency scores across the three core subjects were averaged to give each district an overall ranking. The school districts ranked, from highest scores to lowest, as follows:

Rank District English Math Science 4-yr Grad Rate
1 Northshore 76.3% 68.2% 62.6% 95%
2 Everett 71.9% 58.9% 57.1% 95%
3 Lake Stevens 68.5% 56.1% 58.7% 91%
4 Snohomish 68.1% 56.9% 42.9% 91%
5 Arlington 65.4% 49.0% 57.5% 88%
6 Edmonds 63.1% 52.1% 44.3% 84%
7 Mukilteo 57.8% 46% 50.1% 87%
8 Monroe 59.5% 44% 49.8% 89%
9 Marysville 49.4% 35.3% 38.3% 84%

Mukilteo School District

Of the district’s 16,013 students enrolled, 57.8 percent met the ELA standards, 46 percent met the math standards, and 50.1 percent met the science standards in the 2018-19 school year.
In the 2019-20 school year, the district saw an 87 percent 4-year graduation rate, up from 85.1 percent in 2018-19.

The district is working to support students who are not meeting these academic goals, as well as those who fell behind as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We had the largest number of students in summer school this past summer, and the elementary summer program specifically looks to support English Language Arts and math comprehension,” Communications Director Diane Bradford told the Lynnwood Times.

“Elementary schools also offered JumpStart programs to help kindergarten and first-grade students get a head start on school this summer. Those extra days of learning helped students learn routines and basic skills so they were more prepared when school began,” Bradford added.

The district has implemented a School Improvement Plan, which was updated in March 2021.

Edmonds School District

Of the district’s 21,367 students enrolled, 63.1 percent met the ELA standards, 52.1 percent met the math standards, and 44.3 percent met the science standards in the 2018-19 school year.

In the 2019-20 school year, the district saw an 84 percent 4-year graduation rate, up from 82.6 percent in the previous year.

Regarding the district’s low science scores, Lisa Van Cise, a representative of the Edmonds School Board’s communications department, explained that the numbers may be skewed since the WCAS is not required for graduation.

“We had significantly higher numbers of students that opted out. In many cases, this was due to students in AP and IB courses choosing to focus on those exams instead of taking another exam that would not impact their graduation. For this reason our group of students that opted out was disproportionately weighted with students that one might assume would have excelled on the exam,” Van Cise told the Lynnwood Times.

The science scores given above were not just from high school samples but were taken from fifth, eighth, and eleventh grades.

Everett Public Schools

Of the district’s 20,945 students enrolled, 71.9 percent met the ELA standards, 58.9 percent met the math standards, and 57.1 percent met the science standards in the 2018-19 school year.

In the 2019-20 school year, the district saw a 95 percent 4-year graduation rate, down from 95.9 percent in the previous year.

Though Everett school district has significantly higher student achievement and higher graduation rates, the district does not have significantly higher expenditures per student, the teachers have the same or even less education than other districts, and class sizes are not significantly smaller than other districts.

“Our student achievement successes can be attributed to several things, one being the intentional use of coordinated, aligned rigorous instructional materials aligned to state standards,” Communications Director Kathy Reeves told the Lynnwood Times.

“Another factor is the time and focus we have placed on meaningful professional learning for our staff on both social-emotional learning and academics to help our team optimize their teaching skills to support our diverse student population. In our new Strategic Plan, our priority student outcomes help us to focus our work in helping each student in our system succeed at high levels,” Reeves said.

Lake Stevens School District

Of the district’s 9,296 students enrolled, 69.5 percent met the ELA standards, 56.1 percent met the math standards, and 58.7 percent met the science standards in the 2018-19 school year.

In the 2019-20 school year, the district saw a 91 percent 4-year graduation rate, up from 89.8 percent in the previous year.

The Lynnwood Times has reached out to the Lake Stevens School District but has not received a response.

Snohomish School District

Of the district’s 10,041 students enrolled, 68.1 percent met the ELA standards, 56.9 percent met the math standards, and 42.9 percent met the science standards in the 2018-19 school year.

In the 2019-20 school year, the district saw a 91 percent 4-year graduation rate, up from 88.6 percent in the previous year.

The Lynnwood Times has reached out to the Snohomish School District but has not received a response.

Marysville School District

Of the district’s 11,203 students enrolled, 49.4 percent met the ELA standards, 35.3 percent met the math standards, and 38.3 percent met the science standards in the 2018-19 school year.

In the 2019-20 school year, the district saw an 84 percent 4-year graduation rate, up from 76.7 percent in the previous year.

The Lynnwood Times reached out to the Marysville School District but did not receive a response regarding student achievement.

Northshore School District

Of the district’s 23,577 students enrolled, 76.3 percent met the ELA standards, 68.2 percent met the math standards, and 62.6 percent met the science standards in the 2018-19 school year.

In the 2019-20 school year, the district saw a 95 percent 4-year graduation rate, up from 93.7 percent in the previous year.

The Lynnwood Times has reached out to the Northshore School District but has not received a response regarding student achievement.

Arlington Public Schools

Of the district’s 5,865 students enrolled, 65.4 percent met the ELA standards, 49.0 percent met the math standards, and 57.5 met the science standards in the 2018-19 school year.

In the 2019-20 school year, the district saw an 88 percent 4-year graduation rate, down from 90 percent in the previous year.

The Lynnwood Times reached out to Arlington Public Schools but did not receive a response regarding student achievement.

Monroe School District

Of the district’s 6,926 students enrolled, 59.5 percent met the ELA standards, 44.0 percent met the math standards, and 49.8 percent met the science standards in the 2018-19 school year.
In the 2019-20 school year, the district saw an 89 percent 5-year graduation rate, up from 82.6 percent in the previous year.

The Lynnwood Times has reached out to the Monroe School District but has not received a response.

School Expenditures

The district’s 2018-19 per-pupil expenditures have been ranked from highest to lowest as follows:

  1. Marysville, $15,268
  2. Everett, $15,216
  3. Edmonds, $15,185
  4. Snohomish, $14,662
  5. Mukilteo, $14,403
  6. Northshore, $13,962
  7. Monroe, $13.616
  8. Arlington, $13,553
  9. Lake Stevens, $13,471

Many of the districts have seen increases in their annual budgets, some of which are a result of the 2012 McCleary decision. The decade-long battle ended in June of 2018 when the state came into compliance with the Supreme Court after funneling billions of dollars into public education.

The 2020-21 annual budgets are given below, followed by the budget increases since 2018:

  • Mukilteo: $289,790,128 (increased $42,136,804).
  • Edmonds: $360,400,000 (increased $38,779,253).
  • Everett: $358,243,167 (increased $37,236,930).
  • Lake Stevens: $146,559,776 (increased $24,144,112).
  • Snohomish: $154,830,615 (increased $3,003,462).
  • Marysville: $176,142,760 (increased $9,263,315).
  • Northshore: $404,522,307 (increased $58,522,307)
  • Arlington: $86,993,411 (increased $11,529,266)
  • Monroe: $100,416,001 (increased $7,433,031)

District Transparency

The Lynnwood Times reached out to each school district’s communications director. Of the nine districts, five gave a response (Mukilteo, Edmonds, Everett, Marysville, and Arlington), three of which answered all questions asked (Mukilteo, Edmonds, and Everett).

School Board Meetings

All the school districts’ websites include the date, time, and location of the school board meetings, as well as the meeting agendas and meeting minutes after they are approved.

Edmonds, Everett, and Northshore upload video recordings of the school board meetings on their websites, and Arlington posts school board meetings on its YouTube channel. Everett’s Zoom recordings also provide closed captions for their viewers.

All school districts are open to public comment, some through Zoom and some in person. Those who would like to partake in public comment at school board meetings can sign up on their district’s website.

Social Media

All districts regularly post updates on their Facebook pages. Mukilteo, Edmonds, and Marysville post reminders about school board meetings on the day of, while Everett posts reminders the day before and Arlington posts reminders several days in advance. Edmonds and Everett also regularly post Superintendent’s updates to their Facebook pages.

Edmonds and Everett are also the most active on YouTube, Edmonds uploading 39 videos in the last month and Everett uploading 14 at the time of this article. Northshore has also uploaded 6 videos in the last month and Marysville uploaded 4.

All districts post COVID-related information, policies, and updates to their social media for parents to access.

Olivia Thiessen

Olivia graduated with her master’s in Curriculum and Instruction in English in 2020. While completing her degree, Olivia worked as a college grammar and composition teacher and wrote for various magazines and websites. She spent the last year writing secondary English and history textbooks but has recently shifted gears to focus on writing for the media. She believes journalism is the greatest tool within a free society and is passionate about bringing truth to local citizens.

Olivia Thiessen has 13 posts and counting. See all posts by Olivia Thiessen

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