SEATTLE, April 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — College Spark announced $1.3 million in Community Grants with projects ranging from efforts to support the Highline Public Schools as it strengthens its current Advanced Placement (AP) program to better support low-income students, to work at two-year colleges around the state who are redesigning their systems of remedial coursework to empower students to enter and succeed in a program of study quickly.

The annual, competitive statewide Community Grants Program focuses on building the effectiveness of grantees working with low-income students in middle school, high school and college by funding new and promising practices that help students become college-ready and transition successfully to college. 

«Education is not only about equal access, it is about equity,» said Christine McCabe, Executive Director at College Spark. «These programs were selected because they have the potential to improve persistence and completion rates for low-income students, addressing barriers that poor, first-generation, and minority students face in school.»

This year’s 10 grantees will measure results using at least one of the following indicators of future college success:

  • Middle School Math: Improve math achievement in middle school, one measure of which is the rate of students earning a three or higher on the Smarter Balanced Assessment.
  • Early Warning Indicators: Decreasing the number of middle school students who trigger two of three early warning indicators: five or more absences per semester, course failure, or suspension or expulsion.
  • Remedial Education: Decreasing the percentage of students who are required to enroll in remedial, noncredit-bearing courses in college.
  • College Math and English: Increasing the percentage of students who earn their first college-level credits in English or Math. 

For example, Glover Middle School in Spokane will work to reduce early warning indicator rates by developing systems for analyzing student data, reforming school policy to limit the use of suspension practices, and teaching emotional-regulation strategies or dispute resolution skills for students.  Yakima School District will design and implement professional development for all middle school math teachers to improve math outcomes for students, particularly for English Language Learners (ELL).  Training will focus on improved conceptual understanding of mathematics and integrating ELL supports and growth mindset practices into their daily routines.     

The projects focused on increasing first college-level credits in English and math are making campus-wide changes to the structure of their developmental education sequences and gatekeeper courses.  Bellingham Technical College plans to convert all of its developmental math classes to flipped classrooms, which deliver lecture content online outside of class time and use the classroom for practicing skills.  Both Clark College and Everett Community College will condense their pre-college math sequences in addition to contextualizing remedial math courses to specific programs of study in order to better connect required math content to student academic and career goals. 

Since 2005, College Spark’s Community Grants Program has awarded more than 100 Community Grants totaling more than $17 million.

College Spark Washington funds programs across Washington state that help low-income students become college-ready and earn their degrees. Grantees include community-based organizations, K-12 schools and districts, community and technical colleges, four-year colleges and universities, educational nonprofits, and public agencies. College Spark began supporting access to higher education in 1978 and, since 2005, has awarded more than $50 million to college readiness and degree completion programs throughout the state. 

Contact: Thai Craig
[email protected] 
206-282-4528

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SOURCE College Spark Washington