The foundation supports the Road Map effort by providing funding directly to the institutions and organizations working on educational outcomes in the region.
Direct Support to Community Institutions
Building Stronger Systems and Partners. We make grants to community organizations and educational institutions that align to and support the goals of the Road Map Project. For example, the Seattle Community College District is using a foundation grant to increase the success of students taking developmental education—or remedial—courses. We support Equal Opportunity Schools’ efforts to increase the numbers of students taking Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses in high school. Equal Opportunity Schools is an organization that works with leaders of schools and school systems to enroll more low-income students and students of color in the best academic programs.
The work of the Road Map is helping to show how we can work, collectively, to give all students the chance for a great education.
We also provide grant funding to multiple school districts in South King County seeking to improve their engagement with parents, and to other districts that are increasing the connections between kindergarten through third-grade teachers and their local child care centers.
Building Alliances. We support the creation of networks and alliances that provide coordinated academic and youth engagement services. This includes college access networks in Seattle and South King County, which bring together school districts, colleges, and community-based organizations. Our grant to the Puget Sound Educational Service District helps bring the community together to plan for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education and careers. Other grants focus on building better collaborations between youth development organizations and schools.
Support for the Infrastructure of Collective Impact
Strong Data. Better use of data helps education leaders and community members see clearly what is working and what is not. The foundation supports the Road Map Project’s work to set targets, track results, and make changes as necessary. In 2011, Road Map Project members and advisors selected a set of on-track indicators that, when taken together, give a view of how students in the region are doing. Indicators include the number of children who enter kindergarten ready to succeed, reading proficiency levels at various grades, and absenteeism rates—an early warning that a student is more likely to drop out.
The foundation also funds the Youth Development Executives of King County to determine what key social and emotional indicators of youth academic progress can be tracked. Pilots are now under way in collaboration with school districts on measures of things like student engagement and motivation.
Community organizations support the Road Map through tutoring assistance and other youth programs.
Powerful Community Voice. To be successful, the Road Map Project needs the support and engagement of parents, students, and the community as a whole. We fund a number of organizations working to elevate the voice of parents and community members.
For example, we provide support to CCER to run the Road Map Project Small Grants Fund for education-related community projects. The Small Grants Fund is used to boost community groups, organizations, and institutions that are committed to achieving the Road Map Project goal of improving education results from cradle to college and career.
We also supported a campaign to increase community support of teachers. In 2011, we worked with CCER, Starbucks, and DonorsChoose.org to provide critical funding for teachers’ classrooms throughout the Road Map. Through a foundation grant, King County Starbucks stores provided free DonorsChoose.org gift cards, which community members used to support requests for classroom materials and projects posted on the DonorsChoose.org website.
Funding Alignment. The foundation is one of many funders supporting CCER and the Road Map work. We work with these other funders to see if we can better align our investments to achieve results that are more powerful. More than 30 funders meet regularly to discuss funding opportunities and how to align our grantmaking to the goals of the Road Map.
Implementation of Statewide Policies
To boost student achievement, Washington State has adopted a number of important policies and programs. We provide grants that help the Road Map region implement and accelerate the adoption of these key state-level policies, which include:
- Quality standards for early learning and kindergarten readiness that help parents, early learning providers, and teachers understand how well prepared children are for school.
- Successful implementation of a new teacher and principal evaluation program to give teachers and leaders ways to improve their practice and serve students better.
- Expanding the number of families who apply for College Bound Scholarships, which allow all low-income students who maintain good grades to attend our state’s public colleges and universities.