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A letter from Director Chappelle regarding new investments to eliminate educational disparities

Hello partners, educators and neighbors,

Over the past year we have undertaken a deep and complex journey to connect with our community members about the role of the City in our education system. We have heard from parents, teachers, students, philanthropists and advocates. What we learned has shaped the City of Seattle’s vision around how we invest in education moving forward. We understand that as a community we must act now and act urgently to address systemic disparities in education.

That is why today Mayor Ed Murray announced investments aimed at eliminating the opportunity gap for African American students and other underserved youth of color. These investments will be ongoing and will ramp up over time as the City steadfastly continues its mission to end the opportunity gap for youth of color once and for all.

The funding announced today will be included in the upcoming Education Action Plan in which the City will lay out its strategies to eliminate the opportunity gap for youth of color in our city. As a part of today’s announcement, we are excited to invest $5M in the 13th Year Promise Scholarship. The 13th Year Promise provides scholarship and payment assistance – along with college readiness classes – to graduates from select Seattle Public High Schools for the first year attending any of the Seattle Colleges.  The new funding will help create an endowment to help expand the program, managed by the Seattle Colleges.

In addition, the Mayor announced what a number of his other investment priorities will be:

  • Promoting Family Engagement and Collaboration
  • Enhancing Before and After School Opportunities
  • Expanding School Based Mentoring
  • Reducing Disproportionality in Discipline
  • Increasing Innovation School Investments
  • Growing Summer Learning Programs
  • Adding Workplace-based Learning Programs
  • Supporting Educator Workforce Diversity
  • Expanding Birth – 5yr Programs

We will be announcing the Mayor’s full Action Plan in the coming months, but as you have been a valued and involved partner in this process, I wanted you to hear this vision directly from me.

I look forward to continuing to be a part of these conversations with you and standing in partnership as we work to provide each child with the opportunity to reach their full potential in school and in life.

In gratitude,

Dwane Chappelle
Director, Department of Education and Early Learning