Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Community Engagement 2009 in Review

As thousands of students, teachers, and staff enjoy winter break and many families finalize their plans for the holiday season, I wanted to share a few highlights with you on the Alliance’s community engagement effort.

Through our initial 10-month effort and outreach the community engagement task force has:

· Increased our understanding of the current educational issues and community organizing efforts in Seattle
· Created a community engagement strategic plan for the 2009 – 2010 school year
· Began community dialogues on improving the graduation rate with over 300 participants
· Supported community conversations on teacher quality

This work is truly a collaborative effort between the Alliance and the broader community. I want to extend a huge thanks to some of our community based partners including Seattle University, Youth Ambassadors, City of Seattle Mayor’s Youth Council, YMCA of Greater Seattle, West Seattle High School, Garfield High School, Urban League Scholars, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, the Mockingbird Society, Rainier Beach Community Empowerment Coalition, Refugee School Impact Grant Partnership, and WAPI Community Services for their involvement in our engagement. Each of these partners has provided us the opportunity to interact and create a meaningful conversation on student academic success. We have gained tremendous insight on the concerns of the public, but there is still plenty of work to be done.

Our community partners are committed to hosting dialogues, informing and enhancing our outreach, and even planning the upcoming Youth Education Summit over the next few months.

It is our hope that efforts like the Education Summit will ignite Seattle youth and adults in community engagement and empowerment around key issues of student academic achievement, education reform, and social justice.

In the next six months we have made the commitment to:

· Continue community dialogues on graduation rate (at least 15 events district wide)
· Use school performance data to drive our community dialogue
· Coordinate the work of a Youth Advisory Council to host the Seattle Youth Education Summit
· Complement the work of the Seattle Public Schools Family and Community Engagement effort through participation with the School Family Partnership Advisory Committee
· Continue to share information with and between our community partners

As the Alliance moves forward with this work, it will be important to consider opportunities for program sustainability and effectiveness. We are confident that this campaign will be a tremendous benefit to the Seattle community.

I encourage you to lend your support, comments and ideas on our community engagement efforts. Our dialogue is even more powerful with your voice and action at the table. Happy Holidays to you and your families. See you in 2010!

-Solynn McCurdy, Community Engagement Manager

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