College Spark E-Newsletter
April 27, 2016
College Spark Washington funds programs across Washington state that help low-income students become college-ready and earn their degrees.
In the News 
College Spark's College Readiness
Initiative provided grants to 39 low-income schools in order to prepare more students for college and career with AVID and Navigation 101. This initiative changed cultures and drove metrics by equipping students to focus on who they are, where they're headed and what it will take to get there. Getting Smart blog reports in Bremerton High School Sees Big Shift in College Readiness with Advisories and Student-led Conferences and Culture of Readiness and Personalization Boosts Graduation Rates.   
Washington STEM recently launched a new video featuring teachers and students at Enumclaw Middle School in southern King County and how they are shaping new perspectives on Common Core Learning Standards. Watch math teacher Crystal Morey and her students engage in quality teaching and learning in the classroom. is amplifying teacher voice and supporting educators across Washington.  This group of dedicated educators are writing about their experiences inside the classroom with implementing college- and career-ready learning standards and assessments.

The Charles A. Dana Center has released the Core Principles for Transforming Remediation within a Comprehensive Student Success Strategy -a policy and practice blueprint for redesigning developmental education in U.S. colleges and universities.
College Spark announces $1.4 million in Community Grants

College Spark Washington recently announced grants totaling $1.4 million through its Community Grants Program, focused on generating knowledge about how schools, colleges, and community-based organizations can help more low-income students achieve key milestones on the path towards college readiness and degree completion.


All organizations that receive Community Grants funding measure project impact with one or more of the following outcome indicators:

  • Reduce the number of middle school students who trigger two or more of the three early warning indicators (absences, suspension/expulsion, and course failure)
  • Reduce the number of students who require developmental education (remedial coursework) in college
  • Increase the number of students who earn their first college-level credits in math and English

"Gaps in college readiness, college access, and college success between low-income students and their more affluent peers persist," said Christine McCabe, Executive Director at College Spark.  "These programs will be testing innovative solutions that have the potential to improve postsecondary persistence and completion rates for low-income students."


Since 2005, College Spark has granted more than $45 million throughout Washington state, with $15 million directed to the Community Grants Program.

Intensified Algebra and Academic Youth Development                             
School Year Academic Youth Development (SY-AYD) and Intensified Algebra (IA) 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 is currently funding SY-AYD and IA at 27 schools.  Watch the difference at Wapato High School in the video below. 

Wapato High School Steps Up Its Game
Wapato High School Steps Up Its Game
College Spark will provide funding for two additional cohorts 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 total schools will receive four-year grants to implement SY-AYD and/or Intensified Algebra.  Fifteen schools will be selected to receive SY-AYD and IA funding in the second round.
  • Schools with strong advisory programs will be given priority for SY-AYD grants.
Information about grant funding to implement SY-AYD or Intensified Algebra is now available on OSPI's iGrants #774. 

Agile Mind will also be hosting School Showcases to provide information on SY-AYD and Intensified Algebra at several schools including Wapato, Delta, Granite Falls, and Bellingham High Schools. 
College Spark welcomes two new Trustees
College Spark Washington recently announced the election of two new trustees: Connie Kanter, Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance and Business Affairs at Seattle University and a longtime community volunteer in the Seattle area; and Denise Stiffarm, Partner at Pacifica Law Group and a diligent advocate for closing opportunity gaps. 
Two trustees are also retiring from the College Spark Board: Faith Pettis and Steve Pumphrey. "Faith and Steve were essential to helping College Spark develop its strategies from the very start of our grant programs. Through their efforts, we've awarded $45 million to help low-income students be successful throughout the state." said Board Chair Chio Flores, Vice President of Student Services and Enrollment Management at Wenatchee Valley College. 

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