Difficult Decisions and a Call to Action in These Challenging Times

Dr. Scott Seaman, AWSP Executive Director
Oct 14, 2020

We are clearly in some of the most challenging times of our careers. And, quite frankly, you probably never envisioned leading your school in and through these circumstances. We hear you. AWSP has been supporting school leaders since 1972 and continues to make the necessary changes to provide the relevant, timely, and personalized support you need.

YOUR Principal Foundation

Just as COVID has impacted members like you, COVID has impacted AWSP in many ways.  AWSP is one of the strongest principal associations in the country and often celebrates having the highest membership across our nation. Thanks to a strong membership base, we are able to provide incredible support to our members. What many AWSP members may not know is that YOU also belong to the Washington School Principals Education Foundation (WSPEF), which houses our nationally-recognized student leadership programs (AWSL), and overseas our Cispus Learning Center (Randle, WA), Chewelah Peak Learning Center (Chewelah, WA) and Principal Center (Olympia, WA - the AWSP Office). Together AWSP and the Foundation support both building leaders and student leaders throughout the state. We are one of the only principal associations in the country that also has a strong K-12 student leadership arm. 

AWSP is a non-profit 501(c)(6) organization run by and for principals and assistant principals. You are represented by a Board of Directors composed of K-12 principals from around the state. These board members are hard-working, dedicated, practicing school leaders like you who also donate their time to leading the direction and future of AWSP. There are many ways to get involved in association leadership. And, again, we are only a phone call away to find out more information.

Termination of Chewelah Peak Learning Center Contract
At our recent annual September AWSP and Foundation Board meeting, the board made a difficult decision to terminate our Chewelah Peak Learning Center contract with the Department of Natural Resources and ESD 101. This was by no means an easy decision. The financial woes experienced at Chewelah Peak have been a topic of board discussions since the facility opened almost 20 years ago. And, although past revenue through other programs (Cispus, AWSL, etc.) has been able to rescue Chewelah, this year COVID presented an insurmountable obstacle. With a loss of two thirds of the revenue at both facilities, we were pushed into survival mode by channeling our efforts into saving the more lucrative of the two facilities, Cispus. No one took any pleasure in this difficult decision to walk away from almost 20 years of programs at Chewelah Peak.
Now, does this mean we’ve abandoned eastern Washington schools, students, and principals? Not in the slightest. We are actually serving more students, principals, and schools than ever before with the permanent placement of key AWSP and AWSL staff on the east side of the state: James Layman, Scott Friedman, and Gina Yonts. We also continue to create and offer programs throughout eastern Washington. Additionally, we’ve already secured facilities to offer the same camps we used to offer at Chewelah Peak. Our impact will continue but will just look different moving forward.

Cispus Forever Campaign: An Endowment Fund
Word is spreading quickly about both the action related to Chewelah Peak and the precarious position of Cispus because we officially launched our “Cispus Forever” Campaign this week. This state (and national) campaign is focused on both the short-term survivability of Cispus (in response to COVID) and the establishment of an endowment to forever secure the future of Cispus. We have to start somewhere while we work to build an endowment that will help us weather future storms like COVID. This is not a “fundraiser” to make facility improvements, buy a hot water heater, or add staffing. This is the creation of an endowment fund.
We consider this campaign a three-pronged approach in soliciting endowment funds:

  1. Friends of Cispus (alumni, staff, AWSP members, retirees, parents, students, etc.)
  2. Large Corporate Donors (Businesses from throughout Washington)
  3. Grants, Gifts, Estate Planning (Family and business foundations)
Although we’ve officially named this campaign “Cispus Forever,” that doesn’t mean we are focusing solely on the future of Cispus, but rather all of the programs we offer through AWSL that run throughout the state—and hopefully, one day, enough resources to reconsider a facility on the east side of the state. However, until then, we must engage over 50 years of experiences in our state and across the country of people who know and understand the word “Cispus,” hence the campaign title. People know Cispus or know someone who at some point in their lives was impacted by an experience at Cispus. This will be the foundation of our cause and the security of our future.
Your Help is Critical

Plain and simple: We need your help. Please consider joining us in giving. The entire team at AWSP is making a financial commitment to this campaign, as well as the AWSP Board. We must all engage in securing the future of one of the most special places on earth and some of the most powerful programs aimed at developing students as leaders.
What else can you do? Help us spread the word. Tell the Cispus/AWSL/Chewelah Peak story. Share our plight while sharing our impact. Share the urgency while also sharing an incredibly bright future. Create a local fund drive competition within your school community. Engage your students or school in a giving campaign. If every student in the state donated just $1 dollar, we’d be well on our way to securing our future. And/or if every AWSP member donated $50-100, we’d be even further down the road.
Download our #CispusForever campaign flyer for more information. You can also check out www.cispusforever.org for additional campaign details, student leadership programs, and how to make direct donations.
Thank you again for walking down this road with us in leading our state by impacting principals, the principalship, and each and every student. Remember, you are AWSP, and the kids are our future.

Receive Notification on Replies to this Comment?

Back To Top