Seattle University is in the planning phase to launch Seattle’s first Local Improvement Network for elementary school communities and their neighborhood partners. With support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle University’s Center for Community Engagement and College of Education will serve as lead partner the new Network which will utilize improvement science to close elementary math gaps by focusing on social-emotional academic development among local pre-school and elementary school students. Guided by a commitment to racial equity, Seattle University will convene institutional partners including Seattle Public Schools, Seattle Housing Authority, youth and family community-based organizations, the Community Center for Educational Results and the City of Seattle to co-create the Network’s strategies, goals and assessment measures. The Network will particularly emphasize intersecting influences on student learning including:
A Local Improvement Network Director, employed by Seattle University, will lead efforts to effectively plan the Network and further enhance the individual and collective capacities of Network partners including Seattle public elementary school teachers and administrators, community-based organizations, housers, early learning educators and family leaders. The Seattle Local Improvement Network will contribute to the goals and success of the Road Map Project (a region-wide effort to improve education and address educational inequity).
The Seattle Local Improvement Network’s first year will focus primarily on building Seattle University’s capacity to serve as an intermediary and identifying elementary school communities and their neighborhood partners that will comprise the Network. Emphasizing its distinct place-based approach to community engagement, Seattle University will conduct extensive outreach to central Seattle elementary schools and their communities to assess interest and readiness to participate in the Local Improvement Network. By spring 2020, up to three additional elementary schools will join the Bailey Gatzert Elementary School community, a long-time partner of Seattle University, in the new Network. The Network will officially launch in summer 2020.
To test ideas that might be brought to scale through the Network, during 2019-2020, Seattle University will partner with Gatzert Elementary teachers, administrators, parents, community-based organizations, housers and early learning educators to pilot several continuous improvement efforts focused on closing math gaps through instructional practices, extended learning (afterschool) opportunities, social emotional academic development (SEAD) and early learning partnerships.