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


HB1079 Coalition Summit: A Decade of Dreaming

June 20, 2014 

UW Cultural Center

Seattle, WA 

Join educators, policymakers, and community members to discuss the experiences of undocumented students in higher education, review research, and promote best practices to serve these students. Register here.


School's Out Washington Bridge Conference
October 27-28, 2014
Seattle, WA 
Save the date for The Bridge from School to Afterschool and Beyond 2nd Annual Conference presented by School's Out Washington and offering professional development to support afterschool program providers.
In the News
In the Grandview School District, AVID, Navigation 101, and Advanced Placement programs, funded by College Spark, are making a difference in college readiness, enrollment, and persistence. Read about it here.

College Spark grantee Partnership for Learning (PFL) is helping to coordinate Ready Washington efforts to help families and community members understand how Common Core State Standards help all students be better prepared for college, work, and life. Learn more about how the Common Core was developed, its content, and how it will be assessed through Ready Washington.


Congratulations to Denny Hurtado, College Spark Trustee and former Director of Indian Education at the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction: Denny is the 2014 UW Odegaard Award winner. The award honors individuals for their leadership efforts to promote and value diversity in our communities.

College Spark Washington announces nearly $1.6 million in community grants

College Spark Washington recently announced new grants totaling nearly $1.6 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 outcomes indicators:
  • Increase the number of students who enroll in and pass Algebra by 8th grade
  • Reduce the number of middle school students who trigger two or more of 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
"The work of these 12 grantees will help us all learn more about how to best remove barriers for low-income students, " says Steve Pumphrey, Chair of the College Spark Board of Trustees, "and we are pleased to partner with them to improve student success."
You can learn more about the Community Grants Program here, or email to register for an Introduction to Community Grants Program webinar on July 9, 2014. Since 2005, College Spark Washington has granted more than $40 million throughout Washington state, with $14 million directed to the annual Community Grants Program.

College Bound Scholarship Program: making a difference for low-income students

A recent evaluation of the College Bound Scholarship Program indicates that the program is having a positive impact on closing achievement and college enrollment gaps for low-income students. Students who sign up for the scholarship and attend schools implementing Navigation 101 are outperforming students who don't have the benefit of this guidance and counseling program. Learn more by reading about the evaluation in the Seattle Times Education Lab, or by reading the evaluation summary or the full report.

AVID: a report card

AVID, a major component of our College Readiness Initiative, has shown a positive impact on many of the outcomes that indicate students are on the path to college success. Gains were made on outcomes such as 8th grade Algebra, high school course-taking, and high school graduation rates. Learn more by checking out an infographic highlighting some of the key findings of our most recent evaluation of AVID, or by reading the full report.

College Spark announces new community leaders appointed to our Board of Trustees

College Spark Washington recently announced the election of two new trustees: Barb Richardson, Director of Interprofessional Education and Research at Washington State University College of Nursing and a longtime community volunteer in the Spokane area who previously served on the Spokane Public Schools Board of Directors; and Bernie Thomas, Lummi Indian Education Division Director and a tireless advocate for raising student achievement by closing opportunity gaps.
Three long-serving trustees are also retiring from the College Spark Board: Brian Benzel, Christie Querna, and Denny Hurtado, each of whom has assisted the foundation for nine years. "Brian, Christie, and Denny were fundamental to helping College Spark develop its strategies from the very start of our grant programs. Through their efforts, we've awarded $40 million to help low-income students be successful throughout the state." said Christine McCabe, Executive Director for College Spark.
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