Federal Way Mirror


Federal Way school district recognized for removing college barriers, engaging parents

March 5, 2014 · Updated 4:09 PM

The Road Map Project recognized Federal Way Public Schools officials for engaging families and removing college barriers during a ceremony on Tuesday. / Courtesy of Road Map Project

The Road Map Project recognized Federal Way Public Schools for engaging families and creating opportunity for students by removing college barriers during a ceremony on Tuesday.

About 300 people attended the first-ever Road Map Project Awards Program ceremony to celebrate the great work happening in South King County and South Seattle to advance equity and eliminate opportunity gaps for students.

The event, held at the Museum of Flight,  spotlighted  21 finalists, which were selected from a pool of more than 60 nominations. This diverse group of finalists includes partnerships, programs and initiatives that are getting excellent results, using data well for improvement purposes and collaborating to get more powerful results for students.

The Federal Way school district received an award for “Building a system of authentic family engagment.”

A regional parent engagement leader for more than a decade, this district has been nationally recognized for its continually innovative work. Over the past two years, school leaders have partnered with more than 400 parents in the planning, development and parent involvement activities of the Parent Leadership Institute.

Anchored by a full-time family partnership director and decision-making parent advisory team, the institute is one part of a multi-faceted approach the district has taken to engage more parents as partners in their children’s education.

The Parent Leadership Institute begins with “Partnership 101,” a combination of materials and workshops designed to help parents and their students establish goals together.

This initial phase encourages collaboration and allows parents to ask questions of school staff and to develop partnership ideas. Once the plan is laid out, parents get dedicated support from a broad network of parents and staff members dedicated to helping them realize their goals.

The Federal Way school district was also recognized for “creating opportunity by accelerating academics and removing barriers to college.”

The district responded to dramatic demographic changes by developing two programs aimed at removing potential barriers to college for their students. First, the district targeted economic barriers by offering all students the College Readiness Pathway, which includes the ability to take the ReadiStep, PSAT and SAT assessments for free during the school day. Second, students who pass the state’s standardized tests are automatically enrolled in advanced academic programs.

As a result of these programs and an open-door policy giving students the ability to hand-pick their advanced courses, the number of students enrolled in advanced classes nearly doubled. The composition of advanced classes now better reflects the diversity of the district.

Federal Way Public Schools has been a star example for surrounding districts. In particular, implementation of the College Readiness Pathway became the model for the Road Map Project region’s Race to the Top grant. District staff now support and train other districts on how to best enact assessments during the school day.

A panel of 15 judges, comprised of local and national experts, assisted in determining recipients for two Collective Impact Awards for overall excellence and seven Special Recognition Awards.

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 inaugural Awards Program aims to advance equity and eliminate opportunity gaps by recognizing amazing efforts and encouraging the spread of that success across the region.

To read more about the awardees and finalists, visit www.roadmapproject.com/awards.


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