Report shows big education challenges in South King County schools

As South King County and Seattle schools celebrate a $40 million Race to the Top federal grant, a new regional report card reveals increasing need among students and shows data on 30 important indicators related to student success.

Seven school districts – Auburn, Federal Way, Highline, Kent, Renton, Seattle and Tukwila – are among the many partners working on the Road Map Project.

The 2012 Results Report was issued Dec. 13 by the Community Center for Education Results, the nonprofit organization supporting the Road Map Project, which is a region-wide effort to dramatically improve education results in South King County and South Seattle. The Road Map Project’s goal is to double the number of students in South King County and South Seattle who are on track to graduate from college or earn a career credential by 2020, and to close opportunity gaps.

The data shown in the Results Report are meant to motivate action and drive change. The report, which will be published annually, tracks the Road Map Project’s Indicators of Student Success, which are important measures related to student achievement, such as the percent of students proficient in third grade reading or the percent of students who enroll in postsecondary education. Thirty indicators are reported in the Results Report. The report also includes bright spots – examples of great success and opportunity gap closure – from around the region.

“We’ve known for years that education results in our region are not where they need to be," said Mary Jean Ryan, executive director of the Community Center for Education Results. "The Results Report clearly shows where we need to focus. These problems aren’t new – what is new is the resolve and commitment in the region to improve education so all our students can be successful.”

The recently awarded $40 million Race to the Top grant will accelerate the work under way in the region to improve education. Over the past year, hundreds of people worked together as part of the Road Map Project to build plans that will tackle the opportunity gaps that exist across the education continuum. These efforts are beginning to take hold and future Results Reports will capture the outcome of this work.

Here’s a look at what’s inside the Road Map Project 2012 Results Report:

• The Road Map school communities have seen a rise in poverty and schools are seeing an increase in the number of low-income students. During the 2011-12 school year, 70,000 students or 58 percent in the Road Map Project region were classified as low income by qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch. (Source: OSPI Report Card)

• Student performance in seventh-grade math is an important Road Map Project Indicator of Student Success. The percent of students meeting the state standard has increased over the last three years to 58 percent from 52 percent. The goal is to hit 80 percent by 2020.

• The Results Report captured a sobering picture of attendance in Road Map Project region schools. Nearly 1 in 4 high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors missed a month (20 absences or more) of school during the 2011-12 school year. The percent was even higher for seniors at 29 percent.

To see the full report, click here.

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