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Local districts make gains in graduation rates, new report shows

SOUTH SEATTLE/SOUTH KING COUNTY – The Road Map Project 2015 Results Report shows significant progress being made on important education milestones in the South Seattle and South King County region, but more work must be done to help all students succeed. The Results Report is the Road Map Project’s annual “report card” and shows data on many Indicators of Student Success, which are important measures related to student achievement from cradle through college and career.

The Road Map Project is a region-wide collective impact effort aiming to dramatically improve education results in South Seattle and South King County, the county’s areas of greatest need. Seven school districts – Auburn, Federal Way, Highline, Kent, Renton, Seattle (south-end schools only) and Tukwila – are among the hundreds of partners working together as part of the Road Map Project.

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce spoke at the report release event on Wednesday.

“If you didn’t think equity was an issue, you will after you read the report. But no one is hiding from the challenges. A steadfast commitment is the only way to change the status quo that is abandoning so many of our young people. The road to justice and opportunity is long; it’s difficult. But with this project, we know our destination and we have a map,” President Cauce said.

Report Highlights

Great progress has been made since the Road Map Project began in 2010, including:

  • Gains in high school graduation rates:  The region’s on-time (four-year) high school graduation rate has been increasing for the past three years to 77 percent for the Class of 2015. That’s up from 73 percent in 2013 and 75 percent in 2014. For the first time, all Road Map region districts have rates of 70 percent or above. Highline Public Schools and Tukwila School District in particular have shown great improvement in these last two years.
  • Continued decline in out-of-school suspensions and expulsions: The region has met its 2020 goal for reducing the number of 9th graders with a suspension or expulsion. However, we cannot declare victory on this indicator until the significant racial/ethnic disparities, especially for our Black/African-American students, are eliminated.
  • Improved preparation for postsecondary: The percent of students taking advanced courses (Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Cambridge courses) has risen steadily to 65 percent for the Class of 2015. Also, the opportunity gap is closing for our students meeting the minimum requirements to apply to a four-year Washington college.
  • Insight into English language learner (ELL) student performance: New data show that once ELL students master English, they outperform all other non-ELL students in reading and math assessments, showing the great educational value of bilingualism.

While the report documents progress, it also highlights challenges, including:

  • Lack of early learning opportunities: Only 18 percent of eligible low-income children are being served by formal early learning programs in South King County.
  • No progress on college enrollment: The percent of Road Map region students enrolling in college within a year of high school graduation remains stagnant at 60 percent, and many racial/ethnic student groups have much lower results.

The report also contains new demographic information for the region, which is strongly “majority minority” with 70 percent students of color and 20 percent ELL students. Poverty rates remain high in our communities and the percent of students identified as homeless has increased to 3 percent – or 3,809 students.

Along with the 2015 Results Report, a new online data dashboard debuted Wednesday. This unique tool provides insight on the performance of districts, schools and racial/ethnic student groups in the Road Map region.

To view the 2015 Results Report, please click here.

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About the Road Map Project

The Road Map Project is a community-wide effort aimed at dramatically improving student achievement from cradle through college and career in South King County and South Seattle. The project builds off the belief that collective effort is necessary to make large-scale change and has created a common goal and shared vision to facilitate coordinated action, both inside and outside schools. The Road Map Project is supported by the Community Center for Education Results. For more information, please visit www.roadmapproject.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/roadmapproject and Twitter at @RoadMapProject.