Grant Supports Treehouse’s Statewide Expansion

Treehouse, a Seattle-based nonprofit organization that gives kids in foster care academic and other support, will promote the ongoing statewide expansion of their Graduation Success program with a $500,000 general operating grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Treehouse has been a leader in partnering with children and youth in foster care for a long time, and the results speak for themselves,” says David Bley, director of the Pacific Northwest initiative at the Gates Foundation. Nationwide, only about 50 percent of youth in foster care graduate from high school. For those engaged in Treehouse’s Graduation Success program, 69 percent graduate on time, and 77 percent graduate within five years.

Grant Aims to Improve Environmental Education

Field trips can be transformative experiences for students. A grant from the National Science Foundation will help Professor Marc J. Stern of the College of Natural Resources and Environment at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA, research a range of environmental education programs to determine how to best promote positive learning outcomes for students. “We’re looking into ubiquitous environmental education programs across the country, and we’re asking what factors are linked with better outcomes for students,” says Stern. The study will observe 500 single-day environmental education field trips and identify which program characteristics are associated with positive learning outcomes.

Newsela Launches New Content Solutions to Strengthen Core Instruction

The leading instructional content platform Newsela announced the launch of three new solutions to help educators better meet instructional standards across an increasingly diverse student population. Newsela’s English language arts, social studies, and science content take authentic, real-world information from the most trusted providers globally and make it ready for use in classrooms. More than 2 million teachers already rely on Newsela for content that engages students on topics they care about and adjusts reading levels based on individual students’ needs. Products are designed to deliver on instructional standards for those core subjects while making learning more equitable, accessible, and consistent for all students. “In a world that doesn’t stand still, neither should the content we put in front of our students,” says Matthew Gross, co-founder and CEO of Newsela.

Additionally, in light of the current pandemic crisis, Newsela’s entire product suite is being offered free of charge for the remainder of the 2019–20 school year.

In-Tandem Program: Helping Students Thrive

One goal of Seattle Public Schools’ new strategic plan—Seattle Excellence—is ensuring that students feel safe and welcome in school. Students must be provided the safety and comfort to learn within a classroom that is respectful of all backgrounds. For students to learn effectively, they must feel healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. The In-Tandem program embodies these values while providing services to students who need a specialized learning environment, specifically focusing on supporting students with social-emotional needs, who also have an IEP, and receive special education services. In-Tandem teachers, specialists, and paraeducators reflect the racial and ethnic demographics of the students they serve, which helps to build trusting relationships. “It is important for our students to know the adults here are not going to give up on them, and that while staff have high expectations, they are also prepared to support students in meeting and exceeding those expectations,” says La Tanya Parker, administrator for the In-Tandem program.

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