March 9, 12:48 PM click here to comment > 0
Learning more about what our kids need to succeed
Last year Seattle voters generously approved a $232 million Families and Education levy, during the deepest and longest recession since the Great Depression. Times are tough for a lot of people in our community, but Seattleites know that if we want a brighter future we need to invest in our kids today.
In addition to the Families and Education levy, the City provides many other services that support our kids – library reading programs, parks programs in our community centers, and through initiatives like the attendance campaign. But, in most cases, we don’t have a coordinated way to measure success across programs, and across departments. We know these programs are impacting students in our community, but it is difficult to be sure – is it enough to make a difference in kids lives? Right now, we focus on the programs themselves, and we are not focusing on knowing who the kids are in the programs, how often they are receiving services from our many different departments, and whether those programs are making an impact.
We need to be able to evaluate the effectiveness of our spending. Every dollar counts. One key area is 3rd grade literacy – we know that if a student is not literate by the third grade, they are more likely to drop out of school.
Last week Mayor McGinn visited the Northgate Elementary Family Literacy Night to read Green Eggs and Ham to students and talk to parents about a small pilot project that is working to change all of that.
A small group of City departments, including Parks and Library, are partnering with Northgate Elementary to see how City services in the North End can make a difference in reading for a specific group of kids, a cohort. The goal is to help this group of kids read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade. This means looking at how we can deliver services in a coordinated way across departments to meet the needs of this cohort group. To do this, these departments are first learning from teachers and parents about the needs that exist, and from there, we are determining how departments and programs can work in a new way together to deliver results.
With the help of parents and teachers at Northgate Elementary, City services are working to make a measurable difference in kids lives.
Posted by: Words: April Thomas, Pictures: Jen Nance