Working with Local Scholars

Working with Local K-12 Scholars 

The Seattle University Youth Initiative (SUYI) connects volunteers and service learners to opportunities in local schools. Our goal is to help neighborhood youth be successful in school and prepared for college and career. Academic assistance is our primary focus, however we also support theocial emotional growth and development of youth through mentoring and enrichment activities.

We use the term “scholar” to refer to our students in recognition that ALL youth are brilliant and highly capable. Scholars are members of a learning community, in which they are held to the highest expectation that they will conduct themselves in a respectful manner, showing their peers and teachers that they respect and care for the well-being of others and themselves.  

SeattleU Student Requirements for Getting Involved:

All SUYI K-12 student employees, volunteers, and service learners are required to complete a K-12 application, attend an orientation, participate in an anti-racist training and complete a back-ground check prior to serving in a SUYI K-12 Partner School. Find more aninformation and the link to the application on ConnectSU. 

A group of Seattle University and Seattle Public Schools staff as well as students from Washington Middle School pose with an award from SPS to Seattle U for SUYI

Seattle U received recognition at a Seattle Public School School Board Meeting.

K-12 SUYI Programs

The Seattle University Youth Initiative K-12 Program connects resources to our partner schools to form a pathway of academic support for youth attending Bailey Gatzert Elementary, Washington Middle School, and Garfield High School.

Our goal is to ensure that youth graduate from high school and are prepared to succeed in college and in life. In partnership with teachers and community organizations; we provide tutoring and academic support; reinforce academic behaviors and learning strategies; promote student engagement and motivation, and provide college awareness and readiness opportunities. The types of activities offered and the level of resources available, vary from site to site; however, providing youth with positive adult relationships in a safe structured setting, is fundamental to all SUYI K-12 engagement.

Mission: The Seattle University Youth Initiative (SUYI) Kindergarten through 12th Grade (K-12) program connects campus and K12 school communities to pursue a more just and humane world. 

Vision: By engaging with our K12 schools and partners by building pathways of support for scholars, families and schools through a dual capacity framework, the Seattle University Youth Initiative (SUYI) K-12 program will positively transform our university and our school partners. 

Purpose: We are committed to engaging Seattle University students, K-12 scholars, and their families through a pathway of high quality learning opportunities, programming and partnerships that support their growth and development as civically engaged leaders, especially those who are the furthest from educational equity. 


Our actions are guided by the following values: 

  • We are committed to anti-racist practices that honor the full humanity of our students, families and community members. 
  • We pursue partnerships and programming that acknowledge the dignity of all individuals, recognize culture as an asset, contribute to environments and systems in which all students thrive, and that build leadership capacity among all of our constituents. 
  • We emphasize an asset-based model where we work collectively with students, families, schools and community partners to center the knowledge, skills and lived experiences of our constituents. 
  • We believe that people learn best through hands-on experiences coupled with intentional reflection that implores us to consider our own experiences, biases, values and strengths, deepening our ability to act intentionally. 
  • We recognize the importance of and commit to engaging our K12 scholars and their families and SU students with compassion, creativity and care for the whole person. 
  • We honor our responsibility to utilize our resources efficiently and effectively and to make decisions that are grounded in our values and core beliefs. 

K12 Program Core Beliefs 

Scholars: We believe all youth are innately curious, possess unique assets, and have the capacity to be self-directed independent learners and successful change agents and leaders for a just and humane world. 

Educators: We believe educators are responsible for their own professional development and are accountable for building healthy relationships with scholars to foster social-emotional and academic growth. 

Families: We believe families are their children’s first educators and are invaluable influential partners in our collective efforts. 

Education and Community: We believe all people have the right to a high quality, transformative education and community experiences which upholds dignity and affirms diverse identities and lived experiences. 

Collective Impact: Our community partners are the experts in the community. 

Systemic Oppression: Our responsibility is to advocate for all youth and families in order to disrupt practices that perpetuate structural inequity and societal systems that tend to privilege the powerful. Young people of color have historically and are currently being underserved by education systems; this perpetuates structural oppression, including racism and injustice. We uplift and collaborate with all youth and families to foster empowerment, self-determination, and their capacity to thrive. 



Racial Equity Training 

This required workshop is designed to help develop and/or further develop anti-racist practices. We welcome back CCE partner and workshop facilitator, Karena Hooks and colleagues.

This workshop explores institutionalized racism, its prevalence in our schools and its long-term implications for our youth. This workshop is considered foundational and is required for all new CCE student employees, as well as any volunteers and service-learners who engage with youth in schools. 

Middle College High School

In 2012, Seattle Public Schools opened a Middle College High School on the Seattle University campus to provide a high quality “small school” learning environment for 50 high school students including SUYI neighborhood youth. The College of Education houses the school and several University academic programs provide direct support to the high school students.

Other SUYI Partners

Many community partners contribute to the SUYI pathway of support for neighborhood youth from cradle to career. 

  • City of Seattle Upward Bound. For over 30 years, the City of Seattle Upward Bound Program has called Seattle University its home for the summer. Upward Bound enrolls SUYI neighborhood youth and other high school students in its ninth to twelfth grade college prep program.
  • College Success Foundation. The College Success Foundation offers academic support and mentoring to neighborhood seventh to twelfth graders through school-based programs at Washington Middle School and Garfield High School. These programs are supported in part through a HUD Choice Neighborhood grant.
  • Youth Tutoring Program. The Catholic Community Services Youth Tutoring Program provides individualized after-school tutoring for neighborhood students living in the Yesler Terrace public housing community.
  • Other partners. Many other campus and community partners provide academic support activities for neighborhood youth. 

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