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Students' advice for lawmakers

SBE recently posted a coloring sheet activity to pair with a naming contest that is going on now. The sheet asked two questions in addition to a name submission for the SBE Seal. Here is a brief summary from the nearly 200 students who participated. Find the gallery of coloring sheets on SBE’s Flikr page. Also, check out the Instagram highlights about the contest so far. 

Our schools are special because…

“We take care of each other.” -Silverwood Elementary student

Most of the answers to this question were short and descriptive—mainly describing that their school is special because of the kindness and generosity of their teachers, and because of their love for their friendships. Recess and having fun were also noted a lot.

If I could tell lawmakers to change one thing about school, it would be…

School Facilities 
If students commented on their school’s condition, it was most likely about updating or adding playground equipment, adding more off-site adventures like treks in the woods, and one fifth-grade student said she’d like to see “air conditioning for everyone in the building” at her school.

Food
Many of the responses referenced the need for more organic food, longer lunch times, free lunch, better quality food, and one third-grade student’s idea “Pizza every Friday.”

School Climate
A large group of students hoped there would be no bullies in school, while others called for more socialization between all classes and more clubs, after-school programs, and groups for all student interests. Even more students wanted schools to “be safer” places to learn.

School Programming
By far, most of the students who submitted coloring sheets wanted longer recess. Ideas about what should take place during the school year beyond recess were divided. Some wanted more math, some far less. Some wanted more reading time, while others wanted less time in school altogether. One third grade student wrote “no school Fridays.” A couple responses called for more classes for below and above grade-level students, and another suggested changing 7th grade to middle school and keeping 6th grade in elementary.

Other Common Themes
Students wanted schools to hire more great teachers and paraeducators, recognizing that their educators are overwhelmed. A few students wished for pets in every school. Others ended their coloring sheet with a hope for “more fun” in their school day.

See all the data on SBE's Flikr page. Special thanks to the educators who helped their students with this activity! Educators' last names are the album titles on our gallery. Parent and educator reactions and kind words were much appreciated! See some of the educator/parent perspectives and cute student name justifications below.

Parent/Educator Perspectives

  • My fourth grader thinks it’s hilarious that the state has adopted a seal, and that it is kept in the office - 'but where does it sit without flopping around everywhere?' - Parent
  • Thank you for the opportunity for our students to name and decorate the board's adopted animal. The Madrone School is a small non-profit private school that works with students on the autism spectrum in Redmond and Woodinville. We loved discussing giving the seal a name and talking about what makes our school special...Thank you so much for this awesome opportunity! - Educator
  • I'm so excited to have the opportunity to submit my 5th graders' entries to name the SBE seal! We are learning about local, state, and federal governments in our Social Studies unit for September and I can't tell you how thrilled my students were to participate in a challenge that came from an important sector of our own WA government. Thank you for making it easier for me to teach them how important their voice is (even if none of their seals' names get picked) and how they are not too young to actively participate - what an amazing (AND FUN) lesson to illustrate that point! Thank you so much for reaching out to the community for this challenge and for actively finding ways to make my students feel important, heard, and valued! I'm so proud to be a WA educator, and this is just another reason why I love what I do! - Educator
  • My students are amazing! They require a tremendous amount of support and accommodations, but each day I get to work with them brings me so much joy. They have tough home lives, ADD, ODD, trauma. Projects like this help them to grow and learn and it feels more fun to them than "regular" reading, writing, and math! - Educator

Name Justificiations

  • The name I propose is Adira (uh-deer-uh) for the new seal. The name translates to strong, noble, and powerful in Hebrew. The name was inspired after I researched the Washington state board of education's mission. I learned that the SBE strengths our future and education by helping to prepare for global competitiveness. I hope you consider my entry, thank you for your time. -7th grader
  • Olympia, because it's the capitol of Washington. - 3rd grader
  • Gary, because Gary is just a good name. - 5th grader
  • Olympia, if it is a girl because it is the capitol of Washington. Rhododendron if it is a boy because of the state flower. - 4th grader