Friday, October 5, 2012

The Alliance is hiring!

The Alliance for Education is seeking to fill the position of Accountant and Fiscal Services Coordinator. The Accountant will work with the CFO and Finance Assistant to provide support for the strategic initiatives, communications, fund raising, and other administrative functions and to perform the accounting functions of the Alliance. The Accountant will partner with the CFO, Finance Assistant, Donor Database Manager and Office Manager to provide comprehensive fiscal services to approximately 200 individual schools and education-related organizations.

Find the full job description here.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Alliance for Education welcomes four additions to its Board of Directors

Seattle, WA – September 20, 2012 – The Alliance for Education  welcomed four outstanding community leaders to its Board of Directors yesterday.

“We are thrilled to welcome these four leaders,” said Alliance board chair Pam MacEwan, Special Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer, Washington State Health Benefit Exchange. "Our organization will benefit from the experience and perspective each of them brings to the table. These talented individuals will strengthen the Alliance’s community presence and our ability to affect positive change on behalf of the 48,500 students in Seattle Public Schools.”

This brings to eight the total of new directors elected to the Alliance board this year. In March the Alliance welcomed Lisa Chick (City Year), Nate Miles (Eli Lilly & Co.), Estela Ortega (El Centro de la Raza) and Bob Peters (Bank of America). The full board of directors is listed at the Alliance website.

José L. Banda began his position as Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools on July 1, 2012 and will hold the customary Ex Officio board seat reserved for each Superintendent. Mr. Banda brings over 30 years of experience in the field of education including the past four years as Superintendent of the 18,000-student Anaheim City School District. During that time, student achievement increased across the district including that of English Language Learners. Mr. Banda also developed strong relationships with the business community, city government and service organizations, as seen in the innovative math partnership with the MIND Institute and the successful passage of a $170 million construction bond in 2010. Mr. Banda is fluent in Spanish and holds a Bachelor of Arts from California State University in Bakersfield and a master’s in Educational Leadership from Chapman University.

Roger Erskine began his career as a political science and economics teacher in Minnesota. He spent decades as a NEA organizer and analyst for urban school districts before assuming the Executive Director role at the Seattle Education Association in 1993. Following his tenure at SEA, he helped to found the League of Education Voters, working on a number of projects including implementing a successful ballot initiative to lower class sizes in Washington State. He served as a Co-Chair for both the Teacher Union Reform Network (TURN) and the Cross Cities Campaign for the Urban School Reform and on the Board of Directors for New Horizons for Education. He is a frequent guest lecturer at universities on the “Importance of Trust-based Relationships in Public Education.” He was selected by Seattle Magazine as a “Man to Watch in Education” and received the A+ Award for Outstanding Support for Seattle Public Schools. Mr. Erskine returns to the Alliance for Education Board of Directors from the Emeritus Board after previously serving on the Board from 1996 – 2000.

Charles E. Wright, Jr. is an expert in the linkages between school district data systems and student performance. He has over 18 years experience leading and advising teams that collect and report school data. Most recently he served as Chief Strategy Officer for Denver Public Schools. He is also an entrepreneur, having founded both a consulting organization that works with schools, districts, and education nonprofits on performance management projects and a website to help parents and communities support their children’s learning and development in and out of school. Mr. Wright earned a B.A. degree with a concentration in Finance from Morehouse College, a M.A. degree in Elementary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a J.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.

Sally Yates is Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Group Health Cooperative, one of the nation’s largest consumer-governed health care systems. Ms. Yates is responsible for legal, risk management, privacy, enterprise security, and governance functions, and plays a key role in cross-functional initiatives. She also serves as a mentor in the University of Washington Masters in Health Administration program and volunteers with the YWCA and the Trevor Project. Ms. Yates is proud to be a Seattle Public Schools parent, with a daughter in 10th grade at Garfield High School and a son who graduated from Garfield in 2010. She holds a B.A. in history from Carleton College and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Independent analysis of the Seattle teachers' contract

What does policy matter? We at the Alliance know that it matters a lot. The teachers' contract for a district dictates both the tone and priorities of what happens in the classroom. This is why in 2010 the Alliance founded the Our Schools Coalition to push forward contract reform in the Seattle Public School District. As part of the Coalition, the Alliance, in partnership with the League of Education Voters, the Technology Alliance, and 32 other citywide organizations and civic leaders, successfully advocated for significant changes to the Seattle teachers’ collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in support of student achievement. Please see the one-page overview and case study for more detail.

Following the passing of the new CBA, the Alliance commissioned the University of Washington’s Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) to do an independent analysis of Seattle’s new CBA. The report is now hot off the presses. In a nutshell, here are the findings:
  • On paper, Seattle’s CBA is best of breed relative to other leading-edge districts across the U.S.
  • Implementation is almost guaranteed to expose weaknesses (if it hasn’t already) in other parts of the system (particularly HR and professional development) that need to be re-thought to align and support the spirit and letter of the contract. In sum, the CBA provides an opportunity to develop a set of next-generation solutions system-wide.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Boeing volunteers help with improvements at Memorial Stadium and Nathan Hale High School

A young volunteer helps out
We love the opportunities that arise here at the Alliance to serve schools in our community! As a community partner to the Boeing Company, we were called upon to submit project ideas for Boeing’s Global Day of Service. As a supporter of Seattle Public Schools, we worked closely with the district to develop and submit projects for the Global Day of Service. We focused on two immediate needs: painting the bleacher seats at Memorial Stadium and attending to grounds maintenance at Nathan Hale High School. 

Memorial Stadium
Located in Seattle Center and owned by the Seattle School District, the stadium was built to honor former Seattle high school youths who gave their lives in World War II. Currently, Memorial Stadium is a venue for a number of school sporting events and high school graduations. It is also frequently used by the community for sports, concerts, and other gatherings. Boeing’s Global Day of Service served to spruce up this widely visited venue and ensure its continued enjoyment. Gretchen DeDecker, the liaison for service projects with Seattle Public Schools, said afterwards, "The wonderful Boeing volunteers made great progress in getting all of the north stand bleachers painted. It looks a thousand times better than before. It was fun seeing Boeing family members of all ages pitching in. Everyone, young and older, were very careful about not dripping (much appreciated!!) and applied the Boeing quality ethic throughout."

The project nearing completion!

Nathan Hale High School
During the recent remodeling of Nathan Hale High School, a large number of rain and filtration gardens were installed to manage storm water on-site rather than diverting the storm water to storm sewers, which will eventually empty into the Puget Sound, compromising water quality and marine life. These gardens must meet stringent water quality codes and can be a great burden to the school’s small grounds staff. Since pesticides may not be used, the school relies on the help of volunteers to keep the gardens weeded until the new plant material fills in adequately within the first two to three years. Approximately 20 volunteers from Boeing helped with the grounds maintenance under the supervision of a member of the school’s grounds staff. 

Thank you!
The Alliance was thrilled to contribute funds to purchase painting supplies for the Memorial Stadium project, and also provide refreshments to the volunteers at both sites. We applaud the volunteers from the Boeing Company for their energy and commitment to our community!

More pictures from the Memorial Stadium painting project can be seen here!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Welcome, Superintendent José Banda!

Superintendent José Banda with
guests (Credit: Ilona Berzups)
We enter summer with a new Seattle Public Schools superintendent, José Banda, and a sustained commitment to fostering the finest public education system possible in our city. Two weeks ago, the Alliance for Education, in partnership with El Centro de la Raza, nearly thirty other community organizations, and approximately 300 guests, welcomed Mr. Banda to our city.

A wide array of educators, school staff, parents, civic leaders, elected officials, and corporate partners attended the Welcome Reception. The following community members offered brief remarks:

Estela Ortega, Executive Director of El Centro de la Raza exhorted guests to come together in unity, quoting the poet and activist José Martí: "the peoples of the world must rush to get to know each other." Sara Morris, President and CEO of the Alliance for Education, noted that the Alliance was founded on the bedrock belief of the district being a "learning system," and looked forward to pushing forward that vision under the leadership of Superintendent Banda. Tom Stritikus, Dean and Professor at the College of Education at the University of Washington welcomed the "beloved community" (another nod to José Martí) in Spanish. Michael DeBell, Seattle Public School Board President stated, "I am asking all of you to help Jose Banda get deeply grounded in the community." Jose Banda, incoming Seattle Public Schools Superintendent, affirmed his commitment to the city: "I believe already that this is going to be a good fit."

The Seattle Times covered the event, capturing key quotes from attendees on their thoughts on what Mr. Banda needs to know about Seattle.

The vibrancy and diversity of our community was beautifully apparent that night. As Mr. Banda noted, there are so many people who genuinely want to give to Seattle Public Schools. As part of that community, we are eager to support Mr. Banda's success as he begins the work of leading our schools. The Alliance has always held its standards high, pressing for leadership with integrity, excellent academic results, and earned trust. This month we start a new chapter with Superintendent Banda.

View more photos from the event here.

Thank you to the Host Committee!

ACLU of Washington, Alliance for Education, Arab American Community Coalition, Asian Counseling and Referral Service, Casa Latina , Center for Linguistic and Cultural Democracy, Child Care Resources, City of Seattle, Consejo Counseling and Referral Service, Denise Louie Education Center, El Centro de la Raza, Goddard College, Horn of Africa, Luis Alfonso Velásquez Flores After School Program, The Martinez Foundation, Nate Miles, Paola Maranan, Racial and Social Justice Community Roundtable, Refugee Women's Alliance, Sea Mar Community Health Centers, Seattle Housing Authority, Seattle Office for Civil Rights, Senior Services, Somali Community Services Coalition, South East Seattle Education Coalition, The Seattle Foundation, United Way of King County, University of Washington, Youth Ambassadors

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Interagency Success: "From meth to scholarships"

KING 5 News ran a story on Monday about recent Seatttle Public Schools graduate Andres Arano. Andres was, in his own words,  "a high school dropout, a drug dealer, a drug addict, a criminal." Now, however, he is not only graduating from high school, but is also the recipient of $4,500 in scholarships!

We're excited to celebrate the successes of Interagency Academy, the alternative high school from which Andres is graduating. We talked with Interagency Principal Kaaren Andrews a few months ago. Kaaren's vision of success is student-focused: 
We’re successful if we help the kids achieve their goals, whether it’s recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, finding a job, completing high school, applying to college, or finding a way to care for their baby so that they can return to school.
Read the full story to learn more about how Interagency works with students to achieve their own goals.

Also, Kevin Geloff, the Interagency teacher who was instrumental in supporting Andres towards graduation, happens to be a recipient of the Alliance's Phillip B. Swain Excellence in Education Award. Looks like he's still doing great work with students! Kevin, we applaud your continued commitment to Interagency's students!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Impact Day at Sacajawea Elementary

Just received from one of our board members representing Deloitte!

This year, over 160 volunteers reported to the Seattle Public Schools – the largest Deloitte group of volunteers by far. The mission was to beautify the Sacajawea school. Ambitious goals of the day were to refresh mural designs, revamp the drab Boys and Girls Club building, revitalize the landscape, re-paint worn out fences, update game lines and clean up the wetland areas. Teachers were impressed and one even commented, “…I am still amazed at how much was accomplished in one day” Here’s the link to the YouTube video of the work-in-progress development of the large mural refresh. Teachers and students gave Deloitte volunteers a ‘thank you note’ as an expression of appreciation (see below).

Many thanks to Deloitte professionals for your commitment to Seattle's schools!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Four terrific additions to the Alliance for Education's Board of Directors

We are thrilled to share the news that four outstanding community leaders have joined the Alliance for Education's Board of Directors today! The addition of Lisa Chick, Nate Miles, Estela Ortega and Bob Peters bring leadership and expertise in community service, finance, and public policy. “We are delighted to add such experience and diversity to our board,” says Alliance board chair Pam MacEwan, Executive Vice President for Public Affairs & Governance at Group Health Cooperative. “This group of individuals will strengthen our organization in innumerable ways and help further our mission to ensure every child in Seattle Public Schools is prepared for success in college, career and life.”

Lisa Chick is Vice President and Senior Regional Director for City Year, Inc., leading the success of City Year sites in Columbus, Denver, Los, Angeles, Sacramento, San Jose and Seattle. City Year focuses on addressing the high school drop-out crisis in America by engaging AmeriCorps members in service to our highest need schools. Chick is a Seattle native who began her community volunteer service in high school. She spent three years teaching in public schools in California before joining CityYear as a Service Director. Chick was a member of the Leadership Tomorrow class of 2002, was honored as one of Seattle’s “40 Under 40” by the Puget Sound Business Journal in 2009 and was awarded the Marshall Memorial Fellowship in 2011.

Nate Miles is Vice President for Strategic Initiatives for Eli Lilly and Co. In this position, Miles leads the company’s public policy and community outreach initiatives nationwide, working with legislators, grassroots organizations, labor partners and many others. Over 30 years, Miles has held positions in both the public and private sectors and is passionate about effective public-private partnerships. Miles has been recognized by local and national leaders as a driving force in Washington state’s business and nonprofit communities and as a powerful advocate for children and public education. Miles is a native of Washington State, a University of Washington graduate, a Leadership Tomorrow honoree and one of Ebony Magazine’s “30 Leaders of the Future.”

Estela Ortega is the Executive Director of El Centro de la Raza, a leading Seattle-based civil rights, human services, educational, cultural and economic development organization. In this role, Ortega oversees the strategic and operational management of the organization, which has 80 employees and an operating budget of $5 million. Ortega began a career of service and community organizing as a young adult through participation in a number of advocacy, voter registration and anti-war initiatives in her hometown of Houston, Texas. She went on to join the peaceful occupation, in 1972, of the old abandoned Beacon Hill Elementary School that would later become El Centro de la Raza. For thirty-eight years, Ortega has actively engaged in coalition building and political advocacy. In 2011 Ortega was presented the Women of Valor Award by Senator Maria Cantwell.

Bob Peters is the Senior Vice President and Market Executive for Bank of America’s Commercial Banking business in Western Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, and Western Canada. He also serves as the Seattle and Washington State President for Bank of America. In his capacity as Market Executive, Peters is responsible for more than 600 corporate relationships with companies in the region. He began his banking career with Seafirst Bank in 1985. As the Washington State President, he leads the company’s corporate social responsibility activities including philanthropic grants, community development lending and investing activities, diversity efforts, arts and culture projects, associate volunteerism and environmental initiatives. Peters currently serves as an Executive Committee member of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and as co-chair of The Chamber’s Education Task Force. He is a director of the Washington Roundtable where he serves on the Roundtable’s Education Committee and he also is a sitting member of the Community Development Roundtable.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Alliance for Education awards Nathan Hale High School principal Jill Hudson with the Foster Award

(left to right) Sara Morris, President & CEO, Alliance for Education;
Jill Hudson, Principal, Nathan Hale High School;
Judy Runstad, Foster Pepper, PPLLC &
Alliance for Education Emeritus Board Member
This morning, the Alliance for Education was delighted to award the Thomas B. Foster Award to Principal Jill Hudson of Nathan Hale High School. For ten years, we have granted this award to an exceptional secondary school principal. Included is a $50,000 cash grant to the school to be used at the principal's discretion. 
At an energetic all-school assembly in the gym, District & Alliance leadership, school staff and a lot of Jill's family and friends surprised her with the award. Please see below for details on her accomplishments on behalf of students.

From everyone here at the Alliance, we extend huge congratulations to Jill on such well-earned recognition. Thank you for everything you do! What a great morning! People like you put a spring in all of our steps. 

Principal Hudson will be formally honored at the Alliance for Education's 10th Annual Community Breakfast on March 29.

More information:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Alliance for Education Joins “Everyone Gives” Global Giving Event

On Wednesday, February 22, 2012, the Alliance for Education will participate in a revolutionary eight-day global giving campaign spanning more than 60 countries around the world. “Everyone Gives” promises to be the most extensive and inclusive global giving event ever attempted, benefiting more than 200 non-profits around the globe.

This is an easy way for our supporters to donate to the Alliance and to tell their friends and family about why our work is important to them. Donating is simple and secure, and one hundred percent of all donations made through Everyone Gives go directly to the non-profit selected by the donor.

Participants make a small donation, as little as $5, to the Alliance through the Everyone Gives website and then tap into their social networks via email, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to invite friends, co-workers, clients and family to support the Alliance. “I think of it as a giving tree,” explains Doug Frye, President of Colliers International and a founding sponsor of Everyone Gives. “One donation becomes five, five becomes 25 and 25 can become hundreds. And you can track your giving tree and your friends’ giving trees on the Everyone Gives website.”

1. Start your giving tree at (click on "Start Your Tree" in the top right corner).
2. Donate $5 to a charity of your choice. (We'd love it if you chose the Alliance - just search for "Alliance for Education" when adding a charity!)
3. Ask two people to give to your charity or to select a charity of their choice.
4. Ask these two people to reach out to two more people, creating a giving tree with exponential growth potential.



Friday, January 13, 2012

2012 Legislative Bill Summaries

Two bills focused on education were introduced in the Washington State legislature yesterday. One centers on promoting instructional excellence, the other on transformation zones and charters. The Excellent Schools Now Coalition (of which the Alliance is a member) has endorsed the former and has not taken a position on the latter.

Summaries posted here for your convenient review...

Bill #1: A Bill to Promote and Support Instructional Excellence in Public Schools

The single biggest in-school factor affecting student success is the quality of instruction. Establishing policies that support and advance educators, based on professional evaluations of performance, will help ensure every student has the opportunity to achieve academic success and earn a family-wage job.

Washington is currently piloting an evaluation system for educators that will be completed in June 2012 and implemented statewide in the 2013-14 school year.

This legislation would put in place a system that uses the new evaluations to help determine school, classroom, and educator needs. Evaluation results would be used to identify professional development opportunities to support educators who need additional help and bolster the skills of high-performers.

By supporting educators who need additional help, and bolstering skills of high-performers, we hope to ensure improved educational achievement for every student.

Key elements of the bill include:
  • Supporting teachers and principals by aligning professional development activities with individualized needs identified in their performance evaluation. 
  • Using multiple measures of student learning in the evaluations of teachers and principals. 
  • Allowing principals to hire and place teachers based on performance and skills match, as well as seniority. 
  • Using locally bargained polices to layoff teachers and principals based on performance. 
  • Granting continuing contracts (“tenure”) based on performance. 
  • Establishing a rigorous but fair dismissal process for teachers and principals rated ineffective if they have not improved after receiving targeted, individualized, intensive professional development, coaching and support. 
To support the implementation of the evaluation system and these polices, the state should provide resources for:
  • Training principals to use the evaluation system and how to objectively evaluate teacher performance. 
  • Training teachers on the evaluation system and how to participate most effectively. 
  • Expanding principal mentorship to ensure good leadership at the school level and effective use of the evaluation system. 

Bill #2: A Bill to Close the Opportunity Gap

In Washington, students from low-income families and students of color have fewer academic and economic opportunities than the population as a whole – and the problem is getting worse. The opportunity gap is created by inequitable access to quality schools, educators and educational programs, as well as the inequitable allocation of resources across communities. Too often, a student’s zip code dictates the student’s academic and career opportunities.

No student should be forced to stay in a chronically under-performing school. Additional opportunities should be given to these students, through two proven, outcomes-based alternatives.

Establish a Transformation Zone. Build on Washington’s existing intervention authority in the lowest-performing schools by creating a Transformation Zone. This zone should oversee the supervision, development and encouragement of school improvement efforts, which includes:
  • Contracting out the management of low-performing schools– to proven learning management organizations. 
  • Requiring the use of performance contracts and revoking contracts if building managers fail to meet them. 
  • Allowing flexible use of funds to implement innovative reforms, such as strategic staffing, longer school year, longer school days and technology-based learning. 
  • Recognizing employees’ rights to collectively bargain. 
  • Attracting the best teachers by providing increased support and autonomy. 
  • Attracting high-performing principals to work in Transformation Zone schools through increased autonomy and flexibility to manage budgets, time and curriculum; and to hire, assign, reassign and dismiss staff. 
Authorize Public Charter Schools. Forty-one states allow public charter schools; Washington does not. In many of these states, non-profit charter management operators (CMOs) have succeeded where traditional public schools have not—especially at closing opportunity gaps.

In recent years, the research on charter school effectiveness has grown, enabling us to identify effective providers and practices through data. The data show that, if properly managed, charters are an effective alternative for students in chronically under-performing schools.

Washington should establish a public charter school law that learns from other states’ experiences and replicates best practices:
  • Require the majority of public charter schools to focus on serving educationally disadvantaged students. 
  • Require public oversight by, and accountability to, the State Board of Education. 
  • Recognize employees’ rights to collectively bargain. 
  • Require open student enrollment to prevent discrimination or cherry-picking 
  • Require admission by a fair, a transparent and an equitable lottery system, when demand is greater than capacity. 
  • Allow only qualified, public benefit non-profit organizations governed by boards of directors, to operate public charter schools. 
  • Limit the number of public charter school authorizers. 
  • Establish a public charter school cap. 
  • Establish a rigorous process for closing poor-performing public charter schools. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Save the Date: The Alliance for Education Community Breakfast

At our last breakfast, 900 community members raised over $220,000 to support the Alliance's work to prepare every child in Seattle Public Schools for college, career, and life. We invite you to join this outstanding group of education advocates at our upcoming 2012 community breakfast:

DATE: March 29th, 2012
TIME: Doors open at 7AM, Program 7:30-8:45AM
WHERE: Sheraton Seattle Hotel (1400 Sixth Avenue 98101)

There is no cost to attend the breakfast, though we hope to inspire guests to make a gift in support of our work.

To reserve your place at the Alliance for Education's Community Breakfast, CLICK HERE.