Some Positive Education Stories: Graduation rates for Tukwila’s homeless students, UW mentors, AP experiment pays off, charter school commission back at work

There’s good education news in our state. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook things that are going right, so we’re happy to share some recent stories that have come to our attention.

The Seattle Times reports that Tukwila is doing a great job helping homeless students

The Class of 2015’s four-year graduation rate for students experiencing homelessness was 73 percent, three percentage points higher than the overall district average, and much higher than the state average for homeless students of 52 percent.

About 11 percent of Tukwila’s 3,000 students experience homelessness. While four other school districts had a higher graduation rate for homeless students, Tukwila is the only one of the five with a homeless population of more than 10 percent.

…Under the federal McKinney-Vento act, the state receives $950,000 in funding each year to provide districts with liaisons who work with homeless students. The act defines homeless children as “individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.”

The key to the district’s success?

“I truly believe that our outstanding graduation rate is due to the work of caring staff and community members, and their efforts have not only helped our McKinney-Vento students, but brought about a culture of care and support that helps all students,” [McKinney-Vento Coordinator Jonathan] Houston said. 

Ready Washington has more good news for students.

The University of Washington’s Dream Project teaches UW students to mentor first-generation and low-income students in King County high schools as they navigate the complex college-admissions process. In this video, four UW mentors from the Dream Project share what they’ve learned in college that they wish they would have known in high school. 

And another Seattle Times story reports on the success teachers at Bellevue’s Sammamish High School have had boosting participation and positive outcomes in challenging Advanced Placement classes.

More good news: The Washington State Charter School Commission got back to work on Wednesday.