College Spark E-Newsletter
College Spark Washington funds programs across Washington state that help low-income students become college-ready and earn their degrees.



In the News  
Guided Pathways is an evidence-based approach that simplifies choices about college courses, informs and supports those choices, and directs students into an intentional, comprehensive program of study that leads to a credential.  Learn more in this Seattle Times article, $7M grant to help clear career path for community college students or in this Everett Daily Herald op-ed, Helping college students find their paths.

In just six years, Big Bend Community College has increased the number of Hispanic students taking math and technology classes by 187%.  Read more of the Seattle Times article, New approach leads to math boom at Moses Lake college.

The statewide release of student achievement data shows significant jumps in the graduation rate at Foster High School, with increases of almost 15 percentage points overall and more than 30 percentage points for Hispanic and Special Education students.  Our Kids, Our Future reports in Foster High's graduation rate skyrockets with culture of "Yes, you can!"  Read more in the Seattle Times article, The revival of Foster High: school filled with refugees makes a comeback.
To help families better understand student score reports, Ready Washington and GreatKids developed the Washington Test Guide, available in English and Spanish.  This guide provides information on how to help your child in school and sample questions to ask his or her teacher.

Using Smarter Balanced Scores to Chart Your Path is an infographic depicting a students path from middle school to high school with the required steps to stay on track.  Download the infographic or watch the video

Highline Public Schools developed a helpful infographic showing the actual amount of time students spend on testing.  Out of 1,170 school hours, a typical student spends less than 20 hours on district and state testing.  
February 2, 2015
Shuksan Middle School offers alternative discipline to keep students in school 


When students aren't in school, they aren't able to learn.  Administrators at Shuksan Middle School, in the Bellingham School District, took this phrase to heart and developed an alternative to out-of-school suspensions to keep students in school and learning.  Hear about how they reduced suspensions from 114 in 2011-2012 to 15 in 2014-2015 in this short video


Restorative Justice at Shuksan Middle School
Restorative Justice at Shuksan Middle School
Bridge to College applications
Bridge to College Math and English Language Arts courses are available for seniors who score below the college-ready level on the Smarter Balanced Assessment in 11th grade.  Students who pass the course will be considered college-ready by the majority of colleges in Washington and permitted to enroll in college-level math courses without additional placement testing.  Applications are now available to teachers who would like to offer this course in their school through grant support from College Spark. 
Visit the recently launched Bridge to College website for more information and resources for students, parents, and educators. 
Academic Youth Development and Intensified Algebra grants
School Year Academic Youth Development (SY-AYD) and Intensified Algebra are programs developed by Agile Mind  in collaboration with the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin.  Researchers who have studied program outcomes have found significant probative changes in student and teacher attitudes and beliefs, as well as student achievement in mathematics.  College Spark will provide funding for 60 schools to implement SY-AYD and/or Intensified Algebra.
  • Intensified Algebra is aligned to the Common Core, and both programs support higher-level problem-solving skills and are designed to improve students' scores on the Smarter Balanced Assessment.
  • Over a seven-year period, 60 schools will receive four-year grants to implement SY-AYD and/or Intensified Algebra.  Schools with be selected to receive SY-AYD and IA funding in three cohorts.  
  • Schools with strong advisory programs will be given priority for SY-AYD grants.    
Information about grant funding to implement SY-AYD or Intensified Algebra will be available this spring. 

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