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News Release
Puget Sound Educational Service District Selected for Grant Program to Help Local Students Pursue Education and Career Training After High School - 04/01/24

Puget Sound Educational Service District Selected for Grant Program to Help Local Students Pursue Education and Career Training After High School

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is supporting a regional partnership coordinated by PSESD that features local school districts, colleges, and community and workforce organizations.

Renton, WA - Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) is proud to announce that our region has been selected to be part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Horizons Regional Grant Program, a three-year initiative to help more local students continue their education after high school and achieve their goals. 

PSESD serves a diverse population of more than 400,000 students attending public, tribal, and charter schools, and will coordinate the local partnership that includes the Highline, Federal Way, and Tukwila School Districts, Highline College, and Community Business Organizations including Becoming a Man, College Possible, and Communities In Schools. The partnership will work together to expand programs that are proven to help students transition from high school into postsecondary education – whether that’s an apprenticeship, career certificate, or two- or four-year degree program.

“We are excited and proud to have this opportunity to take part in the Horizons program for the benefit of the schools, students, and families in our region,” comments PSESD Superintendent John Welch. “Working with its partners, PSESD will dedicate itself to expanding programs, grounded in culturally responsive advising and implementation practices, which are proven to reduce historical educational inequities and help students transition from high school into postsecondary education.”

In addition to grant funding, PSESD will receive technical assistance to learn more about high-quality advising strategies and other programs proven to help students take the next step after graduation. Washington STEM, a nonprofit dedicated to removing barriers to STEM education and postsecondary credentials, will manage the Horizons grant program and help partners increase their capacity to access, analyze, and apply data so they can refine programs to meet student needs. 

“The partnership will be intentional in understanding the complexities of the Black and brown male scholar experience leading up to post-secondary direct enrollment,” adds Welch. “Through the understanding of the lived experience of these scholars, our aim is to develop a cohesive system of culturally informed advising and support that results in increased attendance, graduation, and post-secondary enrollment pathways for these scholars.”

PSESD received an initial seed grant from the Gates Foundation to work with the technical assistance providers over the next several months to finalize the local partnership’s goals and implementation plan. PSESD will receive additional Gates Foundation grant funding when their implementation plan is finalized this fall. 

Horizons is part of the Gates Foundation’s work in Washington state that focuses on ensuring that young people have access to the opportunities they need to design the future they want. PSESD and its partners also participate in the Limitless Learning Network, which is funded by the Gates Foundation and brings twenty-six local partnerships across Washington state together to help identify strategies that help students see a clear path to success after high school. 

PSESD is one of nine regional service districts serving thirty-five local school districts, ten charter schools, 291 private schools, and two tribal compact schools in King and Pierce counties and Bainbridge Island. PSESD develops and delivers an array of services providing instructional and administrative support to PreK-12 schools, as well as direct service to students and families in the Puget Sound region. Its End Goal is “Success for Each Child & Eliminate the Opportunity Gap by Leading with Racial Equity” is a goal that envisions a future filled with peace, hope, and opportunities for young people to thrive.

For more information about PSESD’s Horizons Regional Grant, please contact Jonathan Joseph at jjoseph@psesd.org or Elizabeth Cook at ecook@psesd.org


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