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Legislative News January / February 2023

High School Start Times Update - Stay Informed! 

Eastlake High School parent Nicole Steinbok is working at the district level on the Schools Start Time Task Force. For more information on the American Pediatrics Association’s research & recommendations on School Start Times for Adolescents, she recommends this link: 

From the link, this quote stands out, “That the evidence strongly implicates earlier school start times (ie, before 8:30 am) as a key modifiable contributor to insufficient sleep.” 

Another suggested resource & model for Washington State is the State of California, which has led by example and successfully passed (2019) and enacted (2022) a law requiring Middle School and High School start times to be no earlier than 8am and 830am respectively. Link for how the law is worded can be found here: 

If you have questions for Nicole Steinbok, you can email them to & our Legislative Advocate, Leta Hamilton, can pass them on to Nicole. 

Mastery Based Learning - What is it?

At the recent Washington State PTA Legislative Assembly, the membership voted to include as an area of focus “harnessing the benefits of mastery-based learning.”

To educate the Eastlake learning community about what “mastery-based learning” is & why it matters, Leta Hamilton, the Eastlake High School PTSA Legislative Advocate, interviewed Eastlake’s Cassie Wesson-Mast.

Ms. Wesson-Mast uses mastery-based learning in her geometry classroom. This style of teaching uses instructional videos as “homework” & then uses class time for practice, mastery & to receive individual help for students’ specific questions. In this way, the entire classroom time is spent individually helping students as needed.

The philosophy behind mastery-based learning is to answer the question, “What is best for kids?” The purpose of being in a classroom is to learn. It is a disservice to students to expect them to pass a test if they are failing on homework, quizzes & generally not showing proficiency in the content of a class. Mastery-based learning allows students to revise in a subject until they can demonstrate mastery. They must show consistent success to move on to the next stage of curriculum.

Differences between mastery-based learning & traditional teaching methods include fluidity with deadlines & adjusting pacing to individual students’ needs. Ms. Wesson-Mast has found that her students are successful with this method once they “get on board” with the methodology. She has also found that on school wide assessments, her students have a higher test score average than traditionally taught classes of the same subject matter.

In summary, mastery-based learning is a style of teaching using technology through instructional videos to teach a subject matter. Then, the teacher uses all the class time to help individual students with their specific questions. For students who have a deeper understanding of the subject matter, they can advance at a faster pace. For students who are struggling, a teacher has time to check in with them daily if necessary. It creates a classroom where it is more difficult for students to “hide” or “get by” without fully grasping the material. It has shown great benefits to those students who may otherwise fall through the proverbial “cracks.” Ms. Wesson-Mast’s eyes are on the progress of a student much more than in traditional teaching. Through leveraging technology, she can send feedback immediately & address needs of individual students without impeding progress of those students who have already mastered concepts.

Mastery-based learning is being studied, tested & explored across the state of Washington. It is in the orbit of our state legislators. As parents, we should be aware of what it is, advocating for its benefits. The reason Washington state PTA adopted mastery-based learning as an area of focus is to have a seat at the discussion table. Our goal is to ensure “all students experience learning through a positive progression of demonstrated mastery.”

For further reading, go to



Legislative Advocacy 2022-2023 School Year

The PTA/PTSA is a child advocacy association. Its legislative mission is to speak on behalf of all children & youth at the local, state & federal levels. One of the purposes of the PTA at all levels (local, state& national) is "to secure adequate laws for the care & protection of children & youth." PTA/PTSA promotes & encourages legislative advocacy for the education & welfare of all children & youth.

At Eastlake High School, the purpose of the Legislative Advocate is to communicate legislative issues that affect our students. The Legislative Advocate will also endeavor to ensure students who are eligible to vote have the information they need to register.

Legislative Advocacy questions or comments can be sent to

To view the Washington State PTA Advocacy page, click this link: Advocacy (

Legislative Assembly

This year the Washington State PTA/PTSA had its Legislative Assembly over the weekend of October 15-16. Delegates discussed, debated & voted on new issues & resolutions to add to our comprehensive legislative platform. In addition, delegates determined the new top 5 issues for WSPTA to prioritize & advocate for over the next two years. 

Top 5 Legislative Priorities for 2022-2024:

1. Addressing the Student Mental Health Crisis

2. Addressing Critical Gaps in Education Funding

3. Preventing & reducing gun violence & suicide

4. Addressing funding, inclusion, & supports in Special Education

5. Building & maintaining safer school facilities

2022-2024 WSPTA Supported Issues:

- Creating a diverse & effective educator workforce

- Expanding School Construction funding options

- Harnessing the benefits of mastery-based learning

- Improving equitable identification & access for highly capable students

- Increasing education equity by closing the digital divide

- Increasing support for equitable family engagement

- Supporting a meaningful high school diploma

- Mitigating the adverse impacts of climate change

Information on each of the above topics can be viewed at

If you have questions, please email 

PTA Advocacy in Action

Learn about our legislative priorities and other supported issues and find out more ways to get involved. Our advocacy work is directed and powered by our members.

3 Easy Ways You Can Make a Difference:
1. Become a PTA Member: by becoming a PTA member at your school, you add to the impact the PTA is already making on your behalf. The WA State PTA team is already advocating in Olympia and will continue this work throughout the session. Your membership increases our numbers, which adds more weight to our advocacy efforts in the eyes of our legislators.
2. Contact Your STATE Legislators as a PTA Member and Share Our WA State PTA Legislative Platform: by adding your voice to those PTA members already working on your behalf, you raise the volume of our requests and help make sure our legislators know these issues are truly a priority for ALL of us.
3. Contact Your STATE Legislators as a Parent and Community Member to Share Your Own, Personal Concerns, Stories, and Opinions: while as PTA members we legally must share the official PTA stances and platform, as individual constituents we always have the right to speak our own opinions and add weight to the grassroots interest in these important topics.

Washington Legislative Priorities 2020-2022
The Washington State PTA legislative platform is a two-year platform to mirror the Washington state legislative cycle. On the even-numbered years, the new platform is voted on by members at the legislative assembly in the fall. The top five issues become our short-term platform and consist of our priority issues when advocating throughout the year. Other issues are placed on an “also supported” list. During the odd-numbered years, members vote to amend current issues or to add new, emerging issues to the also supported list.

Top 5 Legislative Priorities for 2020-2022
1. Increase Access to Nursing, Mental Health, and Social Emotional Learning Staff (watch)
2. Support Students and Preserve Education Funding (watch)
3. Increasing Educational Equity by Closing the Digital Divide (watch)
4. Supports and Funding for Students with Disabilities and Their Families (watch)
5. Prevent and Reduce Gun Violence and Suicide (watch)

2020-2022 WSPTA Supported Issues
- Equitable Identification and Services for Highly Capable Students
- Mitigating the Adverse Impacts of Climate Change
- Safe School Plans and Emergency Preparedness

For more information visit the WA State PTA Advocacy site. You can also email the EHS PTSA Legislative Advocate.

For more information, email the WSPTA Advocacy Director.


To learn more about these issues as well as the other supported issues of the WSPTA please visit the advocacy page of the Washington State PTA website.

How Do I Contact My Legislator?

Find your legislators and their contact information on the Washington State Legislature's "District Finder" web page. Just enter your address information and the page will list your district legislators and congressional representatives with their contact information.

Ways to be Involved

  • Become a member of your school PTSA/PTA
  • Visit the Washington State PTA’s Take Action Page
  • Sign up for the Action Network to receive action alerts to quickly and easily communicate with our legislators on topics they are actively working on. 
  • See what these Seattle Middle School students have done to get involved, they have created DCBullyBusters - to ask legislators to pledge to end bullying in politics.
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