Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Article of interest

Below is an interesting editorial on teacher contract negotiations.

Summertime but Seattle Public Schools and its teachers union won't rest easy
Contract talks between Seattle Public Schools and its teachers union ought to feature less Sturm und Drang and more collaboration around stark new economic realities.

By Lynne K. Varner
Seattle Times editorial columnist

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Alliance for Education Development Update

The end of the school year is always a good time to look back and reflect. That is precisely what we’ve done with our community outreach and development efforts here at the Alliance. This year, we have revamped our efforts to effectively reach and engage the community as well as raise funds to support our work. Our outreach consists of letters, phone calls, newsletters and emails evenly spread throughout the year. Our most visible vehicles remain our Community Breakfast and our Black and Orange Ball.

Our 8th Annual Community Breakfast, held on April 28th, was a big success this year. Over 900 teachers, parents and community members gathered to support students – it was our biggest Breakfast ever! We could not have been more pleased with the turnout and generosity of those who attended. It is encouraging to see how many people share our passion and vision for a city unified in helping children fulfill their potential as learners.

Our 8th Annual Black and Orange Ball will be held on October 23rd at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle. We are currently working hard to get all the pieces in place for a memorable event. The Black and Orange Ball is a celebration of our students and our work as well as an auction benefiting the Alliance’s mission to help every child in Seattle Public Schools achieve academic success.

Together we can make a difference and we thank you for all you are doing to help students at Seattle Public Schools. Your involvement - whether you are volunteering, advocating for your children or financially supporting education – is the key to our success.

Please consider supporting the Alliance for Education this year. Click Here to make a donation online and Click Here to send me an email if you’d like to get involved in other ways. Our goal is to convene and engage the community in meaningful discussions about education and rally their support to achieve the positive outcomes we are all striving for. Thank you for your continued support.

Edgar Gonzalez, Director of Development, AFE

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Seattle College Fair – A Huge Success

The Seattle College Fair was held this past Saturday, June 12th at Seattle Central Community College. Over 300 people, including students, parents, and family members, came from all over the city to learn strategies for college planning and preparation. The event kicked-off with emcee Jesse Jones of King 5 News, followed by brief speeches by Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and Chief Academic Officer of Seattle Public Schools, Dr. Susan Enfield. The keynote speech was delivered by Anthony Kelley, former UW football player and an inspiration to many students.

The fair held a number of workshops that assisted students and parents on topics such as:
  • Financing college
  • Getting into college
  • Community colleges
  • Parental involvement in the college going process
  • Why college matters (student panel)

Seven organizations sponsored the event, including:

  • Alliance for Education
  • City of Seattle
  • College Success Foundation
  • NELA (Northwest Education Loan Association)
  • Seattle Central Community College
  • Seattle Public Schools
  • Washington Higher Education Board

97% of participants that filled out the evaluation at the end of the event said that they know more now about college planning and how to pay for college than prior to the event.

Over 50 students applied for the College Bound scholarship, a state-funded scholarship designed to motivate 7th and 8th grade students to pursue a college education. To learn more about the scholarship please visit the website:

- Mark Yango, AFE

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Community Schools Update

In collaboration with Seattle Public Schools and other partners, the Alliance is engaged in research and community discussions on the Community Schools strategy, an approach to public education showing promise in several areas across the country.

While there are numerous Community Schools models in different regions, there is no single program design. But in general, a Community Schools (CS) approach engages partners in a coordinated system that offers a range of supports to children, youth and families before, during and after school.

Partners include educators, health and social service agencies, youth development organizations, parents, volunteers, business, and others. In general:
  • The school becomes a “hub” or local focal point for student, family and neighborhood engagement, a place where school-community connections are built and reinforced.

  • Programs may include pre-school/early learning, academic support, counseling, student health clinics, family engagement, access to basic services, refugee assistance, evening programs for adults (e.g., parenting support, language and job skills, etc.) and others.

  • Broadly speaking, the vision is:
  • Children are ready to learn when they enter school and every day thereafter.
  • All students learn and achieve to high standards.
  • Young people are well prepared for adult roles in the workplace and future families.
  • Parents and community members are involved with the school and committed to their own life-long learning.
  • Neighborhoods are safe, supportive and engaged.

In a recent survey, we learned there are over 300 community based organizations delivering numerous on-site and off-site services to Seattle students. Currently, a few schools do benefit from a coordinated approach to these services (e.g., the Community Learning Centers in some middle schools and the federally funded Full Services Community Schools Program at two high schools). However, the district and others agree that a system-wide strategy in which providers and schools align to achieve specific goals would reduce fragmentation, improve services and impact academic outcomes.

In partnership with the district, our work to date includes:

  • Interviewing other CS projects to benefit from the lessons they learned in start-up and implementation (e.g., Children’s Aid Bureau in New York, Chicago Public Schools, LINC in Independence, Missouri, SUN Schools in Portland, Cincinnati Strive, and Harlem Children’s Zone).

  • Surveying and interviewing local service providers to document the number, types and locations of student services, the level of coordination with schools and other providers, and other information.

  • Developing a catalog of services that will be posted very soon to the Alliance’s website (we’ll let you know when it’s available).

  • Engaging with funders, government officials, higher education and others who may be interested in supporting partnerships between schools and communities (e.g., Seattle Foundation, Seattle University and others).

  • Researching national models to learn about the planning and implementation of these initiatives.

  • Convening district and community partners to work toward a common vision of what this strategy would look like.

The Seattle School Board continues to study this promising approach as we conduct research and analysis, and engage the community about the model. For further information about the CS strategy in general, visit For local updates, stay tuned to the Alliance blog.

- Karen Tollenaar Demorest, AFE