Chehalis School District counts successes at Student Achievement Initiative showcase

Event highlights success of academic initiative that has increased graduation rates, college acceptance 


The Student Achievement Initiative (SAI), a collaborative effort between the Chehalis School District, the Chehalis Foundation, Centralia College and other community partners to boost student success, is undoubtedly something for the Chehalis community as a whole to be proud of. 

The initiative’s success is often told in statistics and data points: W.F. West’s graduation rate was 95% in 2023, compared to a state average of 82%.

The number of students receiving post secondary-credentials nearly doubled in the years since the SAI launched in 2013. For the class of 2018, 48% have already earned a post-secondary degree or credential. About 62% of students in grades 10 through 12 are currently enrolled in a college level, dual credit or Advanced Placement course at W.F. West High School.

But on Thursday, the Chehalis School District invited SAI stakeholders to learn about the initiative’s success directly from Chehalis students and teachers themselves. 

Student representatives of W.F. West’s career and technical education (CTE) classes and clubs mingled with stakeholders from groups including United Way of Lewis County, the Washington Roundtable, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Washington Student Achievement Council in the school’s library on Thursday to answer questions and show off their programs. 

“This was all about, how can Chehalis kids be as successful as possible?” Kevin Smith, a longtime supporter of the Chehalis School District and the SAI initiative, said of the SAI during a presentation at the SAI Annual Showcase on Thursday. “I think our secondary goal really was to get in a position at some time where we could role model for other districts around the state and around the county, because I really do believe we’re onto something big.” 

The initiative, which focuses on boosting student success, modernizing teaching practices and preparing students for college and careers, was launched to respond to what officials described as changing social and economic needs in the Chehalis community.

The original goal of the SAI was to increase the percentage of W.F. West High School students who go on to earn post-secondary degrees and certifications from 20% to 60% beginning with the graduating class of 2022, but the work has created systemic changes from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade.

For more information on the SAI, visit  

The Chronicle’s recent series focused on the success of the SAI can be read online at