With racial equity at the center, educational stakeholders from across the region gathered together on August 3rd -4th. Together we worked to establish a shared understanding and personal connection to racial equity and authenticity in partnerships to better serve and support our communities, learned about innovative, best, and promising practices of authentic community-school partnerships, and identified next steps to challenge current practices in order to better serve students and families in the opportunity gap. Attendees overwhelmingly said that this institute helped to uncover new learning that can be applied to their own personal work as well as working within their programs, partnerships, and organizations.
Please see the School, Family and Community Partnerships page for more information.
We are very pleased that Dr. LaWonda Smith has accepted the position of Executive Director, Race to the Top Road Map Consortium Project. Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) and the Road Map districts could not be more fortunate to have such a well-rounded, experienced leader step forward to guide completion of the Race to the Top grant. In this role, LaWonda will report to the Race to the Top Executive Committee to lead project management and fiscal oversight of the $40 million U.S. Department of Education grant.
Dr. Smith’s career spans that of elementary teacher, building administrator of an ethnically and economically diverse high-need school in the Road Map region, Title I and LAP Program Manager at the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Seattle University adjunct professor. Dr. Smith has also led the English Language Arts Program at Puget Sound ESD, developing and facilitating professional learning opportunities for the Washington State Teachers and District Literacy Leaders.
She has closely partnered with OSPI and local school districts to support planning and implementation of the Common Core State Standards. LaWonda holds a Leadership for Learning doctorate from the University of Washington, a Master of Leadership degree from UW Tacoma, and Master of Teaching and Liberal Arts degrees from Oregon State University. Additionally, Dr. Smith’s doctoral work, “Improving Disproportionality of Students of Color in Highly Capable Programs” is published in the November 2015, Washington Educational Research Association Journal and in the April 2016, University of Washington Educational Law and Policy Society Journal.
Rainier Beach High School in Seattle is one of twenty schools nationwide that have been honored as 2016 “Schools of Opportunity”!
Based at the University of Colorado Boulder, the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) sponsors the annual Schools of Opportunity project, which identifies and recognizes excellent public high schools that actively strive to close opportunity gaps. Following last year’s pilot of the project in Colorado and New York, this year’s recognitions considered high schools nationwide.
Rather than basing the acknowledgement on test scores, a focus was given to identifying schools with research-based practices that support all students and their teachers and create successful learning environments. Evaluators looked at school practices that fell into categories such as create and maintain healthy school culture; broaden and enrich school curriculum; use a variety of assessments designed to respond to student needs; and support teachers as professionals.
Please see the announcement for more information.