News Brief - 11/28/16 Online, competency-based university now offers partner benefits to all nine ESDs in Washington KENT In a continuing effort to increase access to high-quality college education for working adults in Washington state, WGU Washington announced today a strategic partnership with Capital Region Educational Service District 113 (ESD 113). The partnership includes an agreement to jointly increase awareness of the nonprofit, online university and provide dedicated benefits to employees of ESD 113’s 44 school districts in Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific and Thurston Counties. WGU Washington now has partnerships with all nine educational service districts across the state, and every employee of a K-12 institution in Washington including teachers, paraeducators, administrators and support staff is eligible for tuition discounts, fee waivers and exclusive scholarship opportunities from the university. “Educational service districts help support the professional development of educators and, in turn, expand opportunities for improved student outcomes,” said Dana Anderson, superintendent of ESD 113. “Our partnership with WGU Washington is aligned with this mission and provides diverse learning experiences for educators within our region. I am pleased the Capital Region ESD 113 which covers 171 public schools and 27 state-approved private schools is engaged in this opportunity to ensure the educators we serve remain among the best in the state.” WGU Washington’s Teachers College was named the “best value” in teacher education in 2015 by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ). The college rated higher than 1,100 other education programs and schools across the nation. The NCTQ scored the online, competency-based university better on a combination of factors, including quality, affordability and how well the school prepares future teachers for the realities of the classroom. In addition to its proven quality, WGU Washington’s Teachers College are affordable. Tuition is only about $6,000 per year. WGU Washington’s competency-based learning model allows students to study and learn at their own pace, moving quickly through what they already know so they can focus on what they still need to learn. This allows many students to accelerate their studies and complete their degrees faster, which saves not only time, but money. The state’s system of Educational Service Districts was established by the Washington Legislature in the 1970s with the objective of providing a variety of services to local school districts and establishing a conduit to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.