Arts, Faith and Humanities

Gates Foundation Grant to Help Close Math Gap in Seattle Schools

September 19, 2019

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Center for Community Engagement and College of Education will lead effort

A $1.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Seattle University will be used to launch Seattle’s first Local Improvement Network for elementary school communities and their neighborhood partners. Seattle University’s Center for Community Engagement and College of Education will serve as lead partners for the 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 emphasize intersecting influences on student learning including early and extended learning, family engagement, housing and instructional practices.

A Local Improvement Network director, employed by Seattle University, will lead efforts to plan the network and further enhance the individual and collective capacities of partners including elementary school teachers and administrators, community organizations, early learning educators and family leaders. The network also will contribute to the goals and success of the Road Map Project, a King County region-wide effort to improve education and address educational inequity in seven school districts.

The 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. By spring 2020, up to three additional elementary schools will join the Bailey Gatzert Elementary School community, a longtime partner of Seattle University, in the new network that will officially launch next summer.

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