Thursday, September 25, 2014

School Improvements and Student Achievement in Seattle's Choice Neighborhood

Choice Neighborhoods, a Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative program operated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is designed to not only revitalize distressed public or HUD assisted housing, but to also transform the entire community in which the housing is located. The program brings together stakeholders such as residents, local leaders, schools, private developers, nonprofits and cities to create and execute a vision for the entire neighborhood surrounding public housing or HUD-assisted housing.
Improving access to quality schools is an important part of holistic neighborhood revitalization. Boosting school quality often boosts the surrounding housing market and improve both the appeal of the neighborhood for new residents and the viability for current families to stay in the neighborhood for the long term.  

Recognizing the importance of improving educational outcomes for their neighborhood, the Seattle Choice Neighborhoods grantee team prioritized school improvement in the Yesler neighborhood.  As a result, positive educational outcomes are emerging for students in Yesler’s local elementary school. 
Seattle’s story is the focus a newly-released Choice Neighborhoods Promising Practice Guide.  The guide provides details on how:

·        Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) partnered with Seattle University as an anchor institution to draw on their educational expertise, existing commitment to the neighborhood, and robust volunteer network
·        SHA and Seattle University built out an Education Collaborative with multiple local partners, including the local elementary school, to begin to create a cradle-to-career pipeline to support students in the Yesler area
·        The partnership has successfully used tools such as routine collaborative meetings, data sharing agreements, and creating staff roles to ensure the pipeline of supports is working for Yesler’s youth and their families.
This guide is one of a series of Choice Neighborhoods promising practice guides that the Center for the Study of Social Policy is developing in partnership with HUD to lift up the exceptional work that grantees of the Choice Neighborhoods program are doing all over the country.  These guides intend to provide other neighborhoods insight and resource that can be useful for their own neighborhood revitalization work. To see more of the guides, visit HUD's Choice Neighborhoods Technical Assistance website.

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