The Alliance for Education raises funds for and fosters community discussion and support of initiatives aimed at improving academic outcomes for the 48,000 students enrolled in Seattle Public Schools. During the next three years, the Alliance plans to intensify its advocacy and fundraising related to leadership development (at school, district, and school-board levels), effective teaching, and academic rigor—with particular emphasis on schools serving large numbers of low-income students. The Alliance’s grant request to The Seattle Foundation has two components: general operating support for the Alliance (50% of request) plus funding for the Alliance-administered Philanthropic Partnership for Public Education (PPPE)—a local education funders collaborative co-founded by The Seattle Foundation that, since 2008, has made a series of targeted investments to improve district operational effectiveness. As in the past, The Seattle Foundation’s contribution to PPPE would be pooled with funding from other local foundations. Decisions about which initiatives to fund are made collectively as opportunities for private investment arise. In view of leadership transition at the school district, the need for deliberate and strategic investments in SPS Central Office transformation remains critical.
Since 2008, the Alliance has secured more than $9 million in ougside funding to enable SPS to align curricula to rigorous college-ready standards and improve academic outcomes across the District. While there is still more than a year left in the District’s 5-year strategic plan, the district and Alliance’s focus on increasing academic rigor and student achievement is showing results: in 2011, the percentage of SPS students achieving proficiency on the state’s MSP (Measures of Student Progress) exams increased in almost all subjects and grades.
Use of Best Practices
The Alliance leverages private funding to support district and school improvement initiatives that require additional financial (and often political) support to succeed. In addition to securing funds to fuel redesign of the district’s teacher recruitment and hiring system, the Alliance supports leadership development training and coaching for school principals as well as projects that support low-performing schools, e.g., math coaches, middle-to-high-school transition support and increased numbers of Advanced Placement (AP) classes.
Alliance staff and board leadership prioritize effective partnerships as a necessary component of efforts to improve teaching and learning across the district. In 2010, the Alliance’s leadership of the diverse Our Schools Coalition led to historic changes in the 2010-13 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiated between the district and Seattle teachers. Collaboration is also at the core of the Alliance-led Seattle College Access Network (SCAN), a collaboration of 40+ service providers that achieved a 25% in the number of SPS students completing the application for federal student aid last year.
Hosted by the Alliance since 2009, the Philanthropic Partnership for Public Education (PPPE) allows a diverse group of local foundations, including TSF, to have greater access to SPS leadership and collective impact on district operations. By speaking with a unified voice, the Alliance and its foundation partners have positioned PPPE as an important, consistent “critical friend” of the District.
Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:
Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:
$35,000.00||support general operating expenses.|
$50,000.00||support general operating expenses for the Alliance and a restricted fund in which dollars pooled by members of the Philanthropic Partnership for Public Education (PPPE) are maintained.|
$100,000.00||support $50,000 in general operating support, and $50,000 for the Alliance - administered Philanthropic Partnership for Public Education (PPPE).|
$25,000.00||support general operating expenses.|