Find Posts By Topic

Focused on Student Success, $7.2 Million in Youth Programs Awarded 

Sixteen organizations receiving $450,000 through 2026 

Seattle, June 29 – Building on nearly $5 million in expanded learning and college and career programming since 2020, the Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) will invest $7.2 million in programs for students and youth not yet meeting grade-level standards, in alignment with and funded by the 2018 voter-approved Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise (FEPP) Levy. Opportunity and Access grants will fund 16 community-based organizations and serve approximately 2,000 youth and young adults through 2026, the final year of the levy. Each organization will receive $450,000 over three years. 

“In One Seattle, every child, from every neighborhood, must be able to access opportunities to learn, grow, and reach their full potential,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell. “High-quality education and culturally responsive afterschool programming is critical to close the opportunity gap and put all students on a path to success. DEEL’s Opportunity and Access grants will expand capacity at community-based organizations who are serving the unique needs of youth in our communities, equipping every student with the critical skills they need to build the future they deserve.” 

Studies show that student proficiency in math and English language arts (ELA) is an indicator of future academic and life success. The Opportunity and Access (O&A) strategy supplements school learning with academic and non-academic programs to support Levy-defined outcomes promoting knowledge, skills, and abilities for student grade-level success and matriculation into post-secondary programs. According to the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, students at FEPP levy-supported schools who met 3rd to 8th grade math and ELA standards in spring 2022 were 43% and 52%, respectively, a 10- and three-point increase from fall 2021 assessment scores.  

“Opportunity and Access grants pave the way for students to transcend the boundaries of basic education by taking their learning beyond the classroom. By centering their cultures and aspirations, these programs will inspire skills development that empowers them to define their future and take the lead on their success,” said Dr. Dwane Chappelle, Director of DEEL. 

Two Funding Tracks to Provide Services 

Based on feedback from the 2020 O&A partner cohort, DEEL offered 2023 applicants the option to apply for one of two tracks: 

  1. Capacity Building: organizations demonstrated their ability to build capacity to deliver services and programming. Youth programming will begin as soon as the 2023-2024 school year but no later than the 2024-2025 school year.  
  1. Programs: organizations demonstrating their current ability to deliver quality existing or new expanded learning opportunities and college and career readiness youth programs beginning in the 2023-2024 school year.  

Programming can occur during the school day and out-of-school time, including the summer months, and will run through 2026. Multiple service delivery models can be employed in this investment, including CBOs, government agencies, and schools not receiving school-based investments (SBI) to improve year-over-year grade-level and non-academic outcomes for youth up to age 24. 

Evaluation and O&A History 

The O&A request for proposal received 89 applications totaling more than $40 million. DEEL contracted with Lanza Learning; Narratives Unbound, LLC; and Middle Waters Consulting to support the technical assistance needs of organization proposal development in English and Spanish. Fifty-three participants took part in evaluations, including Seattle Public School high school students, young adults ages 18-24, parents, educators, community advocates, and six DEEL staff. Eighty-five percent were Black, Indigenous, or people of color.  

In August 2020, DEEL announced the first round of O&A awards, including a $4.9 million investment for 10 community-based organizations. Shortly thereafter, four additional organizations who applied were included as O&A partners to provide out-of-school time programs using prior education levy savings. In total, 14 Opportunity and Access partners have served approximately 1,000 students annually through the 2021-2022 school year.  

Awarded Programs and Organizations 

The following includes a brief description of winning programs listed in order by their sponsoring organizations and funding track. Organizations will receive $150,000 annually, totaling $450,000 over three years. Five of the 16 organizations are first-time DEEL-funding recipients and five are second-time O&A awardees. Programs will serve FEPP Levy student focus populations. Annual contract reauthorization is contingent upon the achievement of contract outcomes. 

Track 1: Capacity Building 

Small organizations whose proposals demonstrated the ability to build capacity towards delivering quality programming beginning as early as fall 2023 but no later than the 2024-2025 school year. 

  • Adult & Youth Learning Center* will provide afterschool programming at Rising Star Elementary and Louisa Boren K-8, serving students primarily from East African immigrant and refugee families. Students will develop math, reading, and critical thinking skills through literacy and math tutoring, homework help, cultural and language education, physical fitness activities, leadership development, and teamwork.   
  • Celebrating Roots will provide a Leadership and Business Development Program for East African high school girls in the Rainier Vista neighborhood. Program activities will cultivate students’ social-emotional skills through stress-management activities, cultural cooking experiences, field trips, and coaching circles. Students will also build business development skills through public speaking games and Shark Tank-style competitions.  
  • Financial Leadership Academy* equips high school and college-age youth of color with professional and technical skills to succeed in accounting and finance careers. Students will receive college credits and can take a nationally accredited bookkeeping exam, providing them with technical skills and certification to join the workforce immediately. Students will learn about financial statement preparation and analysis, investing, budgeting, credit, and saving for retirement.     
  • The Good Foot Arts Collective’s CLAY (Creating Leaders Affirming Youth) curriculum teaches middle and high school students about healthy relationships, strategies for youth violence prevention, and goal setting. Students will gain tangible ways to address dating violence and sexual harassment, social-emotional literacy, how to recognize unhealthy patterns embedded in cultural and societal norms, and skills for personal and community character development. 
  • Movimento Afrolatino Seattle (MÁS)’ Conectándonos program will provide a safe space for Afro-Latino and Afro-Indigenous youth ages 14 through 24 to explore their cultures and identities through cultural education, creative self-expression, art, reading, and writing. Programs are delivered in Spanish and English.  
  • School Connect WA* will support afterschool math and English-Language Arts interventions at Dearborn Park Elementary School. In addition to progressing in science, math, and literacy, students will develop strong study habits, including academic stamina and focus.  

Track 2: Programs

Organizations that demonstrated their current ability to deliver quality expanded learning opportunities and college and career readiness through new or existing youth programs. Service delivery will begin in the 2023-2024 school year.  

  • ACE Academy** will provide Black and African American middle school boys with expanded academic activities on early dismissal days and during summer, winter, and spring breaks. Program activities include math, reading, STEAM, and health and fitness, and family engagement. Students will also attend field trips to colleges, universities, and employers of students’ interests.    
  • East African Community Services (EACS) will provide afterschool programming to Black and immigrant youth at New Holly Community Center during the school year. Programs will support youth to exceed grade-level standard and explore academic interests through math, reading, homework help, and culturally affirming activities that centers East African culture and Black identity.  
  • Empowering Youth & Families Outreach (EYFO)** Cop Every Opp (CEO) will provide youth of color ages 16-21 with help to set goals, monitor grade point averages, and navigate college and financial aid application processes. Students will also receive personalized resources relating to their college and career interests, help building resumes, securing internships, and support to build other job and life skills. 
  • Eritrean Association in Greater Seattle’s* Strong Eritrean Youth program combines cultural, academic and recreational activities for Eritrean youth ages 5-16. Students will build their sense of identity through Eritrean culture and language education, and increase academic skills through homework help and tutoring from adults who share their cultural and linguistic background.  
  • FEEST Seattle will serve Rainier Beach, Franklin, and Chief Sealth International high school students with youth leadership opportunities, access to healthy food, mentorship, and a curriculum focusing on youth organizing and social, racial, and environmental justice. Programs will be hosted during the school year and in the summer.  
  • Friends of the Children—Seattle** partners with youth to help them develop a healthy lifestyle, create positive future goals and prepare them for postsecondary transitions. Middle and high school-age students will receive mentorship, tutoring, SAT and ACT preparation, college tours, and career planning.  
  • Geeking Out Kids of Color* will provide high school students with coding classes, peer networking, hackathons, college exploration, and panels with local tech industry leaders of color. College-age software engineer interns will receive career mentorship from senior software engineers.  
  • Kandelia’s** Building Connections program will provide educational and youth development programming for newly arrived refugee and immigrant youth ages 14 to 24. Activities will support academic skill-building through family engagement, field trips, leadership opportunities, soccer, an English conversation club, and job readiness training. 
  • South End Stories will support elementary and high school students of color to build self-confidence and academic engagement through arts education. Activities will include storytelling and creative self-expression through filmmaking, theater, dance, music, poetry, and visual art.  
  • STEM Path Innovation Network’s** HEART (Husky Enrichments, Academics, Recreation, and Tutoring) program will provide STEM curriculum to primarily first-generation, immigrant students at West Seattle Elementary School. Program activities include STEM enrichment, robotics, 3D printing, coding, engineering, career exploration, and culturally relevant instruction led by STEM industry professionals of color.  

*First-time recipient of DEEL funding.  
**Recipient of 2020 O&A grants.