November 2022 Newsletter: Our new Washington state strategy
November 30th, 2022
I have deep love for the state of Washington. It’s been home for most of my life, and I even recently bought my parents’ house – bringing my Washington state story full circle. Years ago, when I set my roots in Washington state, I was a shy and awkward student with big hopes and dreams about what could be for our state and world.
I may be a little less awkward today, but I still have big hopes and dreams as my team launches our new strategy in Washington state.
This new strategy leans into locally-led solutions to help more Washington students make the transition between K-12 and their postsecondary pursuits—whether that be apprenticeships, two-year, or four-year schools. We’re focused on this specific transition point because, as you’ll see below, it’s what students themselves say they want.
Our strategy was also developed through an intentional community feedback process. We talked to more than 200 people to inform our approach, visiting cities to hear from educators and families while also having one-on-one discussions with several community leaders.
First up in 2023: we will issue an open invitation for regions to be part of a learning network. In addition to connecting these regions with technical experts to help them identify and test solutions, community organizations will have a chance to receive grant funding to help them start or expand programs and build coalitions. Alongside this regional work, we’ll explore statewide policies that help all students take the next step to reach their aspirations.
I hope you’ll explore our website to learn more about this new approach. We look forward to partnering with many of you to give every young person the opportunities they need to design the futures they want.
Director, Washington State Initiative
Partner Spotlight: Listening to students
Did you know: Nearly 90% of high school students in Washington say they want to continue their education after graduation.
That’s what Washington STEM learned when they surveyed our state’s high schoolers. Young people are eager to pursue apprenticeships, career certification programs, and two- or four-year college degrees.
Partner Spotlight: Financial aid awareness
Did you know: Washington state is ranked 48th in the country for FAFSA completion?
Seniors who complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) are 92% more likely to enroll in postsecondary education, but too many Washington students don’t complete the application because they think it’s too complex or that they aren’t eligible for aid.
The Washington Student Achievement Council is working with schools to address this. One strategy is the 12th-Year Campaign, which helps districts organize financial aid advising events.
Community Engagement Spotlight: Addressing Food Needs
In recent conversations with nonprofit leaders, our Community Engagement learned that due to ongoing issues tied to the pandemic, inflation, and the rising cost of food, our region’s food banks are seeing unprecedented demand. That’s why we made $2.85 million in grants to nine local organizations working to connect individuals and families with the meals they need:
- Ballard Food Bank
- Food Lifeline
- Northwest Harvest
- Nourish Pierce County
- Rainier Valley Food Bank
- South King County Food Coalition
- University District Food Bank
- West Seattle Food Bank
- White Center Food Bank
What We're Reading
- Building rural learning pathways to strengthen the future of community, Getting Smart
- Showing Up for the Students of Washington State and Helping them Achieve their Full Potential, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Mead HS students launch into post-high school education with math support through bridge to college, Ready WA
- High School to Post-secondary: Technical Paper, Washington STEM
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