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School’s Out Washington Named a Finalist in Road Map Project Awards Program

by School's Out Washington | | Posted under School's Out News

road-mapSchool’s Out Washington has been named a finalist in the inaugural Road Map Project Awards Program for its work to increase equity and eliminate opportunity gaps for students in South King County and South Seattle, it was announced Thursday. School’s Out Washington and 20 other finalists stood out from more than 60 nominations for getting excellent results, using data well for improvement purposes and collaborating to get more powerful results for students.


The Youth Program Quality Initiative engages cohorts of youth-serving organizations in a data-driven continuous improvement system that includes assessment, planning with data, on-site coaching and training. This collaborative effort, led by School’s Out Washington, has created a culture of data, improvement, intentionality and professionalization across the field. A group of independent organizations, once relatively fragmented, now operates as a system bound by shared language, a common quality framework and assessment tool, and a shared understanding of effective practice.

Extensive research shows that high-quality afterschool and youth development programs positively impact social emotional skill development, academic achievement, and risk reduction. The Youth Program Quality Initiative brings quality best practices to afterschool and youth development (AYD) programs by building the skills and expertise of the professionals who deliver AYD programs.

The process has improved instructional quality across many domains of practice and shifted organizational culture and changed how organizations on-board, orient, train and support staff – whose direct work with young people is the key to achieving positive results. Based on a rigorously evaluated national model, the Youth Program Quality Initiative has grown extensively since it began in 2009 with support from the Raikes Foundation, and includes hubs in King, Pierce and Spokane counties. With multiple funders on board, more than 114 King County programs serving more than 9,500 youth have participated. Several organizations have embedded the cycle of assessment, planning and training into their internal processes, using their own resources to deepen and institutionalize the work.

“Schools face growing expectations and cannot alone ensure the future success of our state’s students, especially struggling students who need additional supports to thrive academically and in all areas of life,” stated
Mari Offenbecher, CEO of School’s Out Washington. “We are thrilled to be nominated for this award, and to demonstrate our commitment to the elimination of the opportunity gap within the Road Map region, and throughout Washington State.”

The Road Map Project is a community-wide effort aimed at dramatically improving student achievement from cradle to college and career in South King County and South Seattle. The Road Map Project Awards Program aims to advance equity and eliminate opportunity gaps by recognizing amazing efforts and encouraging the spread of that success across the region. School’s Out Washington and the other finalists will be recognized at a March 4 awards ceremony at the Museum of Flight. A panel of 15 judges, comprised of local and national experts, is helping to determine several special recognition awards for overall excellence.

The event will feature the following guest presenters: Jackie Bezos, president and co-founder of the Bezos Family Foundation; State Supreme Court Justice Steve Gonzalez; Kati Haycock, president of The Education Trust; Norman B. Rice, president and CEO of The Seattle Foundation; and Ralph Smith, managing director of the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and senior vice president of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

“The Education Trust is excited to be part of this work and support the Road Map Project Awards Program. We need to spread the success seen in the Road Map Project region across the country to ensure all students enjoy equal opportunities. It’s an honor to participate in an award ceremony focused on closing opportunity gaps and increasing equity across the educational continuum. I believe this work will help improve the lives of children and strengthen communities in the Road Map Project region and beyond,” said Kati Haycock, president of The Education Trust and guest presenter for the Road Map Project awards ceremony.

A full list of finalists can be found at the Road Map Project’s Award Program web page.

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