With a commitment to increasing educational opportunities for students after they graduate from high school, the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) has awarded Chehalis School District $1,050,000 over the next 18 months to implement parent and family engagement and dual generation strategies in the Chehalis community.

District leaders learned about this incredible financial award on Friday morning and were eager to share the news with their partners: The Chehalis Foundation, Centralia College, and The BERC Group.

The district has been focusing on systemic support for career and college readiness for 11 years by developing relationships and partnerships with education and business leaders throughout the country. In 2014, the district partnered with the Chehalis Foundation to implement a comprehensive K-16 career and college readiness initiative – the Student Achievement Initiative (SAI). The partnership set a goal for 60 percent of Chehalis graduates to receive a meaningful post-secondary degree or certification within eight years of graduation.

“With our partners, we have celebrated successes and milestones along the way,” said Dr. Christine Moloney, Chehalis School District Superintendent. “However, there continue to be opportunities to improve outcomes related to our goals. Specifically, the SAI has lacked the necessary support and resources around early childhood awareness and preparation. As we embark upon the next strategic phase of the SAI we intend to grow our efforts to communicate with segments of our population not succeeding at the same level of success. We will create a communication campaign to ensure we reach all Chehalis families. We also intend to develop an early warning intervention tool so that no family ‘falls through the gap.’ We are grateful for this opportunity meet the needs of all our students and families.”

The district will do more work focused on early childhood awareness and family engagement with this money– focusing on reaching out to families with at risk students. This work is not funded through local levy tax dollars or state basic education funding. The district will use these targeted funds to work to increase career and college preparation for children and families who can use extra support to achieve the American dream.

The Washington Student Achievement Council received 80 applications, requesting a total of $69.4 million. To determine awardees, WSAC used evaluation criteria which included:
• Authenticity of the regional partnership
• Focus on equity
• Strength of strategy
• Resourcefulness of the partners

With $5.5 million available, the council approved grant agreements in six counties across the state:
Foundation for Tacoma Students (FFTS), Pierce County $1,200,000
City of Seattle’s Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL), King County $1,250,000
LaunchNW, Spokane County $850,000
Chehalis School District’s Student Achievement Initiative (SAI), Lewis County $1,050,000
The STEM Foundation, Benton County $125,000
Yakima Valley Partners for Education, Yakima County $125,000

Career and college readiness and post-secondary success will remain a priority in the Chehalis School District. “We continue to rely on research and best-practices to develop an effective and fiscally responsible plan with clear objectives and outcomes,” said Director of Student Achievement Rick Goble. “With this grant we will be able to respond to the needs of our community. We believe, with full implementation of a PreK-16 system of support within 5 to 10 years, we will see improved participation of all families – especially those currently less engaged, and a substantial increase in the number of students going on to earn a post-secondary credential.