Transforming Education in Juvenile Rehabilitation

July 7, 2022
Student learning lessons in school library, using laptop

Learning systems and educational outcomes for young people in secure facilities have been wrought with challenges and barriers every step of the way. For many young people in Juvenile Rehabilitation (JR), school has been a negative and sometimes harmful experience. Especially with disproportionate rates of expulsion and disciplinary actions imposed on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) youth along with poorly designed policies that force them out of the classroom and into the criminal justice system. Data from the Education and Data Research Center makes this clear:

  • 16% of detained students graduated from high school, compared to 72% of non-detained students.
  • 57% of detained students dropped out of high school, compared to 14% of non-detained students.
  • 16% of detained students earned a GED certificate, in comparison to 2% of non-detained students.
  • Postsecondary enrollment (both two- and four-year colleges) among detained students was lower (37%) than non-detained youth (51%).

Fortunately, during the 2021 Legislative Session, Washington State lawmakers unanimously decided it was time to invest resources, time, and attention to changing how education is delivered in secure facilities by passing HB 1295. This bill has offered Washington (and JR) an unprecedented opportunity to radically transform how we meet the educational needs of the student population we serve. 

In partnership with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and American Institutes for Research (AIR), JR is reimagining and dreaming big about what high-quality public education can look like when built on a foundation of deeper learning, strong mentorship, and personalized pathways designed to meet the unique needs of our student population.

Alongside the system reform efforts of HB1295, we are celebrating positive education outcomes at Echo Glen Children’s Center and Green Hill School. 

Green Hill Education Outcomes (July 1, 2021-June 15, 2022)

  • 52 graduation ceremonies
  • 6 GEDs earned
  • 39 GED exams passed (there are four required exams required to earn a GED in Washington State)

Echo Glen Education Outcomes

  • 3 graduation ceremonies
  • 5 GEDs earned
  • Students earned an average of 6 full high school credits during their stay during the 2021-2022 school year
  • World language testing with 11 students earning 1-4 credits, and 6 students earning a seal of bi-literacy
  • After-school enrichment program
  • Academic tutors from the University of Washington
  • Smarter Balanced Assessment completed with a 95% testing completion rate

For more information about HB 1295, including the interim report submitted to the Legislature in December 2021, please visit the Institutional Education Structure and Accountability Advisory Group webpage hosted by OSPI.

To share ideas and input about the educational needs of young people in JR, please reach out to Haley Lowe, K-12 Education Program Administrator, or Libby Thorkildsen, Institutional Education Program Manager.