SBE: Mastery-based Learning Grows with State-funded Support

Dec 12, 2023 | Articles, Updates

Source: The Washington State Board of Education – Olympia, WA | December 12, 2023

Washington State Board of Education Announces Second Cohort of Grantee Schools for Mastery-Based Learning Collaborative

In a pioneering effort by the state legislature and the Washington State Board of Education (SBE) in promoting mastery-based learning, the Board is excited to offer new funding and support for 20 schools across the state. The awarded schools are now part of Cohort 2 of the Mastery-based Learning Collaborative (MBLC) – a grant program created to support mastery-based learning (MBL) – sometimes called competency-based education.

The MBLC is now 40-schools strong (Cohort 1 was announced last year). Schools were selected to be a part of it through a competitive application process. Grantee schools receive professional learning to successfully move their instruction to align with the state’s culturally responsive-sustaining MBL framework, which was informed by national MBL work. Schools also participate in the wider MBLC community, so that schools can learn from and support each other in their work.

Schools in the following districts have been awarded funds:
School nameDistrict/area
Catalyst Public SchoolsBremerton
Gibson Ek High SchoolIssaquah School District
Nespelem High SchoolNespelem School District
Rainier Valley Leadership AcademySeattle
Sno-Isle Skills CenterMukilteo School District
Dishman Hills High SchoolWest Valley School District (Spokane)
Hudson’s Bay High SchoolVancouver Public Schools District
Methow Valley Independent Learning CenterMethow Valley School District
Envision Career AcademyNorth Thurston Public Schools
Summit Virtual AcademyNorth Thurston Public Schools
Cottonwood Elementary SchoolWest Valley School District
Career Academy at Truman High SchoolFederal Way Public Schools
Open Doors Youth Reengagement (1418) at Truman CampusFederal Way Public Schools
Open Doors at Heights CampusVancouver Public Schools
Tumwater High SchoolTumwater School District
Tulalip Heritage SchoolMarysville School District
Nova High SchoolSeattle Public Schools
Discovery, Minter Creek, and Purdy ElementaryPeninsula SD
A.G. West Black Hills High SchoolTumwater School District
Lopez Island SchoolsLopez Island School District

Based on the lessons learned from the two cohorts, SBE will identify policies, practices, and support structures necessary to successfully transition schools to MBL.

State and federal funding for this work in the current two-year (biennium*) budget cycle totals $10,367,000.

“With this funding, schools can help us better understand student successes within this approach and how important it is for their futures,” said Bill Kallappa, Chair, State Board of Education. “Our first cohort has shown us engaging, hands-on learning that leads to student success, and we’re excited to see more in Cohort 2. We hope to offer more options like this, making school more relevant and equitable for all. Congratulations to the grantees.”

What is Mastery-based Learning (MBL)?

MBL is an innovative approach that lets students take charge of their learning, go at their own speed, and get help that fits their interests and needs. Instead of moving on to new content because time has passed, students move forward when they truly master a topic. They demonstrate they have met the state learning requirements in meaningful ways. This way of teaching and learning also values each student’s unique strengths and the knowledge they bring from their different backgrounds.

For a comprehensive list of selected schools and additional information on mastery-based learning, visit the Washington State Board of Education’s page:

In 2019, House Bill 1599 created a state work group focused on MBL that set the stage for the work of the MBL Collaborative. Washington has been recognized nationally for its work around culturally responsive-sustaining MBL (for instance, see this article or Washington’s work spotlighted in this national data portal.)

*The biennium runs from 7/1/23 – 6/30/25.

Media Contact:
Stephanie Davidsmeyer
Director of Communications 

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