This summer, the Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) announced that the Kingmakers of Seattle (KoS) program, part of the Culturally Specific and Responsive investments area under the Families, Education, Preschool and Promise (FEPP) Levy, will expand to two additional schools beginning in the 2021-2022 school year. Franklin High School and Cleveland STEM High School will join the program’s four pilot schools—Interagency High School and Aki Kurose, Asa Mercer, and Denny International Middle Schools—bringing the total number of schools offering Kingmakers to six. Kingmakers of Seattle offers positive identity development, academic knowledge, and social-emotional skills for Black male students by expanding access to culturally responsive programming.
“We are excited to offer the Kingmakers program to more of our Seattle students starting this fall,” said DEEL Director Dwane Chappelle, “especially at a time when students need greater connection and the support of positive role models who understand the challenges they are facing. This expansion to Franklin and Cleveland High Schools also creates new connections from middle school to high school for students of color who’ve already engaged in the Kingmakers program, strengthening the pathway to graduation and students’ college and career readiness.”
Kingmakers of Seattle (KoS) is an elective program for Black male middle school and high school students, referred to as Kings, taught by Black male facilitators. Seattle Public Schools and the City of Seattle’s Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) launched Kingmakers in 2017 to engage, empower, and encourage young Kings in a brotherhood-centered program. Programming supports the cultural, historical, social, and emotional needs of young Black boys and teens as it relates to their identity and program implementation includes multiple components to support both students and the adults that work with them. Components include elective classes with engaging, academically rigorous, and culturally responsive curriculum, as well as care coordination services, mentorship, student leadership development, and professional development and technical assistance for educators.
The Seattle Public Schools’ Department of African American Male Achievement, founded in 2019, partners with DEEL to provide the KoS program, which focuses on improved outcomes for Black male students and is informed by an ongoing partnership with Kingmakers of Oakland (KoO), whose model serves as the basis for the KoS program. Program implementation relies on financial contributions from both the FEPP Levy through DEEL and Seattle Public Schools (SPS). Funded schools may receive up to five years of financial support (through SY2025-26) from DEEL and SPS, conditional upon annual performance.
The Culturally Specific and Responsive (CSR) investment area under the FEPP Levy expands access to high-quality service and supports designed to increase positive identity development, academic knowledge, and social emotional learning for Black/African American males and other historically underserved students. This investment strategy prioritizes the infusion of race/ethnicity, culture, language, and gender into programming to build academic mindsets and promote college and career readiness. Investments provide school-based programming that reflects racial and cultural diversity within the community and incorporates students’ culture, history, language, and socialization into curriculum, academic learning and instructional delivery, and enrichment activities.
Between 2017 and spring of 2021, 367 students participated in Kingmakers of Seattle. The two schools that will be funded under this Kingmakers of Seattle expansion—Franklin and Cleveland STEM High Schools—anticipate their programs will serve 100–110 Kings each year.
To learn more about Kingmakers of Seattle, we invite you to watch A King’s Journey, which shares the story of Demarcus Belle, a young King who graduated from Interagency High in 2020, and his Kingmakers facilitator, Emery Walters.