College Spark E-Newsletter
College Spark Washington funds programs across Washington state that help low-income students become college-ready and earn their degrees.
Upcoming Events 
National College Access Network hosts their annual conference in Orlando, Florida, September 28-30.  Register for Leading the Way, From College Access to Attainment and learn strategies for helping more students succeed in postsecondary education.  Network with and learn from colleagues from the higher education, nonprofit, K-12, policy and philanthropic communities.

GEAR UP West is a collaborative regional conference for college access practitioners October 18-20 in Boise, Idaho Attendees include GEAR UP and other college access program staff, evaluators, higher education professionals, and middle and high school teachers, counselors, and administrators. All those working to help low-income and underrepresented students prepare for and succeed in college are welcome to attend.

School's Out Washington  The Bridge conference is the premier conference for afterschool and youth development professionals in the Northwest, October 19-20 in Seattle, Washington.  What is at the heart of learning? will provide participants with the vision and tools they need to facilitate inquiry for children and youth. Sessions will explore current research on learning, the role of educators to instigate learning, global perspectives on the importance of building curiosity, and how inquiry-based learning supports a more equitable education.


In the News 

College Spark celebrates 10 years of grant making, sharing lessons learned from the last decade and reflecting on the continued effort to support low-income students become college-ready and earn their degrees.  Read more in College Spark has helped many, but not enough in the Spokesman Review. 
Community Grants Program announces 2016 Request for Proposals 


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 successful transition to college. 


The Community Grants Program Request for Proposals (RFP) is now available.  All projects that receive Community Grants funding must measure their impact by using at least one of the outcomes below:

  • Reduce the rate of middle school students who trigger two or more of three early warning indicators (absences, suspension/expulsion, and course failure)
  • Increase the rate of middle school students that have SBA math scores of 3 or higher 
  • Reduce the rate of students who require development education (remedial coursework) in college
  • Increase the rate of students who earn their first college level credits in math and English
Eligible applicants include nonprofit organizations and schools that work with middle school, high school, and college students. 

To learn more about how to apply, email Rachel Clements to register for the Introduction to Community Grants Program webinar on July 8th at 10:00 A.M.  Giving guidelines, required elements of a project, and how to apply will be discussed.

Between 2005-2015, College Spark awarded more than 120 Community Grants totaling more than $15 million.    
Bridge to College courses in 125 high schools for 2015-16

Bridge to College courses in math and English language arts will be available in 125 high schools throughout Washington state in the next academic year.  These courses are 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 many colleges in Washington and permitted to enroll in college-level English and non-STEM math courses without additional placement testing. 

Intensified Algebra

Intensified Algebra was developed in response to a need, identified by the Urban Math Leadership Network.  The double period curriculum is designed to bring 9th grade students who were previously unsuccessful in math up to grade level.  Two key components of the program include professional development for teachers and students working in teams.  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. Watch a mini-documentary on Intensified Algebra in Chicago Public Schools.    


Using Scholarships Effectively                             
Cost is a major barrier to increasing degree attainment.  Well-designed scholarship programs can help increase postsecondary enrollment, persistence, and completion by encouraging students to attend higher education, allowing students to enroll full-time or work fewer hours while pursuing a degree, and incorporating nonfinancial supports.  The Oregon Community Foundation released a research brief highlighting best practices that support student success through scholarships
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