Dear friends and neighbors,
It’s been quite a busy summer. Since the legislative session ended in May, I have been hard at work meeting with community members and stakeholders, learning, traveling, and road-mapping the upcoming year. Here’s a look at some of what I’ve been up to:
Education Commission of the States
This July, I spoke at the Education Commission of the States conference in Minneapolis and presented an overview of work on special education. Last session, we were able to allocate significant additional funding — more than $372 million over the next two years — and address concerns that we’ve heard from teachers and parents. This includes providing an ombuds liaison in every education service district, helping ensure that parents understand the complicated process of assessment, prescription and delivery of services.
There’s still more to do to ensure that special education transportation is included in a new transportation formula, which we intend to bring forth next session.
Mayor Salim Nice and I had the honor to join one of several boats with the Mercer Island Marine Patrol making sure the hundreds of visitors flocking to watch the Blue Angels were safe. Chief of Police Ed Holmes gave us a comprehensive picture of the issues around boater safety.
AI in Education Summit
In August, I attended Code.org’s AI in Education Summit in Santa Barbara, California. I was able to interact with thought leaders in the AI field and renowned AI researchers, both of whom shed light on the compelling risks and boundless opportunities presented by AI in the classroom. Additionally, we also delved into the pivotal role of computer science in shaping the future of education and workforce development.
I will attend a similar event from Code.org, CSEdCon, in Las Vegas, Nevada, later this year, where we’ll discuss the implications of AI and the future of computer science education.
Imagination Library of Washington
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has now expanded to Washington!
Books will be made available to children ages birth up to five years old in all 39 counties in Washington, which has four operating local program partners covering the state.
I had the opportunity to attend an event in August with Dolly Parton, who visited Washington in honor of us achieving statewide coverage. It was truly a magical experience.
If you’re interested in joining the program, you can find more information and enroll here.
I expect the fall to be just as busy and filled with many classroom visits. As I have done every year, I intend to visit schools throughout our state to continue to learn from our educators how policies work in their classrooms and what additional tools they need. Stay tuned for more information there and other updates in future newsletters.
As always, I am honored to serve as your senator.