The Chehalis School District will receive $1,050,000 from the Washington Student Achievement Council over the next 18 months to benefit the district’s Student Achievement Initiative.
“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 Chehalis School District stated in a news release Friday morning.
The funding comes from a competitive Regional Challenge Grant, the applications for which were due in late October.
“With a desire to grow innovative programs to support students and families, a team of educators, researchers and advisors worked together to draft and submit the 10-page application narrative on behalf of the school district and partners,” stated the school district in the news release.
The Washington Student Achievement Council received 80 applications, requesting a total of $69.4 million, according to the news release. The Washington Student Achievement Council awarded $5.5 million split between six programs, including the City of Seattle’s Department of Education and Early Learning, the Foundation for Tacoma Students, LaunchNW in Spokane County, The STEM Foundation in Benton County and Yakima Valley Partners for Education.
“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 five to 10 years, we will see improved participation of all families — especially those currently less engaged or unaware of their opportunities, and a substantial increase in the number of students going on to earn a post-secondary credential.”
The Student Achievement Initiative (SAI) began as a partnership between the Chehalis School District and the Chehalis Foundation in 2014 with the goal of having 60% of Chehalis graduates receive a post-secondary degree or certification within eight years of graduating.
“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 to meet the needs of all our students and families.”
The district intends to do more work focused on early childhood awareness and family engagement with the grant money — focusing on reaching out to families with at-risk students, according to a news release.
“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 district stated in the release.