College Spark E-Newsletter

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

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Upcoming Events    
The Bridge Conference

October 8-9, 2012
Seattle, WA

Annual conference from School's Out Washington
brings together thinkers and doers to tackle issues related to improving young people's experiences in school and out.

October 21-23, 2012
Seattle, WA 
Regional annual conference for college access practitioners from western states.

New Publication about Community Colleges  
Moving the Needle to Improve Student Success
 highlights the outstanding efforts of four Washington community and technical colleges participating in the Washington Achieving the Dream initiative.  
College Spark Trustee Trevor Greene Honored

Trevor Greene, Principal of rural Toppenish High School was named
national Principal of the Year for improving math and science achievement, graduation and college-going rates at his school.  
 September 11, 2012
Annual Statewide Community Grants Program Accepting Applications


The College Spark Washington Community Grants Program is an annual, competitive statewide program focused on building the effectiveness of grantees that have demonstrated experience serving low-income students and generating knowledge related to college readiness in middle school and the successful transition to college.

The Community Grants Program is now accepting Letters-of- Interest for the 2013 program; the submission deadline is October 15th, 2012. All projects that receive Community Grants funding must measure their impact by using at least one of the outcomes below:

Outcomes that focus on middle school success

  • Increase the number of students who enroll in and pass 8th grade Algebra
  • Reduce the number of middle school students who trigger two or more of three early warning indicators: five or more absences during a single school semester, one or more course failures, a suspension, or expulsion

Outcomes that focus on the successful transition to college

  • Reduce the number of students who require developmental education in college 
  • Increase the number of students who pass their first college-level English or math course - either while in high school, after taking developmental education classes, or directly upon entering college
Eligible applicants include nonprofit organizations and schools that work with middle, high school, and college students.

Want to learn more about the Community Grants Program?
Between 2005-2012, College Spark Washington awarded more than 100 Community Grants totaling $11 million.
New Reports Highlight Importance of College and Career-Readiness


Two reports released this summer offer important information for those working to ensure all Washington high school students graduate college and career-ready.
The Condition of College Career Readiness, from ACT, reports that one out of five graduating Washington seniors took the ACT in 2012. Of those students, nearly four out of ten students met the college ready benchmarks. ACT defines college and career readiness as the knowledge and skills a students needs to enroll and succeed in a credit-bearing postsecondary institution (two- or four-year). 

The College Advantage: Weathering the Economic Storm reports that college graduates fared much better during the recession than those with a high school diploma or less. Nationally, the unemployment rates for recent high school graduates are near 24 percent compared to 6.8 percent for recent four-year college graduates. The report also states that "nearly four out of every five jobs destroyed by the recession were held by workers with a high school diploma or less."
Grantee News from the Field

South Seattle Community College
With College Spark Washington support, the college expanded the summer orientation that is required for all students in the 13th Year Promise Scholarship. The two-week academy introduced incoming students to college success skills. Early data show decreasing rates of remediation for recent high school graduates. 
  • Nearly one out of four 13th Year participants placed into college-level math compared to 4% of other recent graduates from Seattle Public Schools. 
  • Over half of 13th Year participants placed into college-level English, compared to 31% of other recent graduates from Seattle Public Schools.     
I-BEST (Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training) is a break-the-mold state program at colleges across the state. The program pairs workforce training with Adult Basic Education or English as a Second Language so students learn literacy and workplace skills at the same time.

The State Board recently released a white paper about the program, 2012 I-BEST Review:Lessons Being Learned from Traditional Programs and New Innovations, Next Steps, and Issues for Scaling Up. The paper examines the early results of I-BEST for developmental education programs at nine colleges, as well as the results of a longer-term look at the traditional I-BEST professional-technical model.
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