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SVP International

$65K Invested in Collective Action for Equitable Education

Posted by Zamzam Abdulgani

Photo / Somali Parent Education Board

SVP’s Education Collective Action Team (EduCAT) invests in local, collective action initiatives addressing the disparities in our education system. These initiatives approach the cradle-to-career continuum with an equity lens that is inclusive of the voices of historically marginalized communities.

South East Seattle Education Coalition (SESEC) and OneAmerica

Building on previous success, and the understanding that relationship building takes time and resources, OneAmerica and SESEC will continue to deepen their partnership to support children in our region. SESEC is a coalition made up of nonprofits in Southeast Seattle focused on education, while OneAmerica is focused on immigrant and refugee communities across the state.

A $25,000 grant from SVP will enable the two organizations to support the Southeast Seattle community in addressing equity in education, as well as strengthen their shared approach to education advocacy.

Specifically, the partnership will focus on ensuring community voice is incorporated into the city family engagement levy and developing relationships with the new Seattle school district superintendent. Furthermore, SESEC and OneAmerica will draw on the expertise of parents, students and educators, and community leaders to ensure input from the community is brought to the table.

Somali Parents Education Board

The Somali Parents Education Board (SPEB) focuses on closing education gaps experienced by Somali families in South King County. SPEB recently released their strategic vision — a culmination of community forums and relationship-building with Somali parents in the Road Map Project region. This vision is focused on identifying and defining the barriers for Somali families to access and influence the education system. SPEB brings together Somali parents from South King County school districts. SPEB’s family institutes organize parent leaders around connecting families to services and developing culturally-responsive methods of infusing parent voice in the education system. Their focus emerges from three key priorities to change outcomes for Somali youth:

  1. Understanding and use of data to promote change
  2. Engagement of Somali families in the education system and in leadership
  3. Professional development activities designed to better prepare institutions to serve the Somali community

SVP’s $20,000 investment will allow SPEB to support parent leaders as they attend the first Education Institute for Somali Families. The institute, which will kick off this fall, will be dedicated to creating a space for educators, parents and students to learn from each other. The Education Collective Action Team is excited by the possibility of supporting the innovation of this community to influence the education system.

Skyway Youth Network Collaborative (SYNC)

Skyway Youth Network Collaborative is a coalition of youth-serving organizations in Skyway. SYNC exists to create a web of support and aims to build community for all youth in Skyway/West Hill. As a coalition of youth advocates — from Renton Public Schools, to nonprofits, emerging charter schools and government agencies — everything SYNC does addresses the whole child, giving them the support and skills they need to be successful in school and beyond.

The EduCAT awarded SYNC $15,000 to help staff a dedicated coordinator to strengthen and formalize the Collaborative. SVP’s investment will also help provide stipends for youth who participate in the Collaborative’s new Youth Advisory Committee. The committee will help inform and infuse youth voice into the Collaborative, which currently has 40 different stakeholders. The long-term goal for the Skyway Youth Network Collaborative is to grow leadership in Skyway through youth-informed priorities — not only giving them a voice, but the power to advise and prioritize initiatives that directly impact them.

Seattle University Youth Initiative

In their third year of investment, the Seattle University Youth Initiative (SUYI) hopes to continue to convene partners of the Choice Neighborhood Collaborative and the Yesler Community Collaborative as both sunset in 2019. SUYI works to strengthen education support and services in the Yesler neighborhood.

In the coming year, they will prioritize planning for the sunset of these neighborhood collaboratives, recognizing the gap that will be left.

SVP’s investment of $5,000 will provide general operating dollars to the Center for Community Engagement, which manages the Youth Initiative, as they build out a plan for convening neighborhood partners following the sunset. Their hope is that all partners currently involved in the collaboratives will commit to being part of the work moving forward and that SUYI will take on the role of convener in the Yesler neighborhood.

Get Involved

If you are interested in learning more about SVP’s collective action work or about joining one of our Collective Action Teams to help select next year’s investees, contact Mike Quinn.

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