Student Pathway Success Stories at Avista

Energy Pathways is a four-week paid summer immersion opportunity developed by Spokane-area utility company Avista to introduce incoming high school juniors and seniors to the energy industry.

For Katelyn Bartel, now a student at Eastern Washington University, the internship was life changing.

“This really opened my eyes into what I could be doing with my life. It makes me more motivated when I go to school because I know that there’s something that I’m working towards. It gives me more of a goal.”




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New case study: The promise of flexible learning

Washington employers will create an estimated 373,000 net new jobs in our state by 2026. Seventy percent of these jobs are expected to require or be filled by workers with a postsecondary credential—such as a degree, apprenticeship, or certificate. Bur our state is facing a crisis in credential attainment. Further, the pandemic has driven alarming drops in postsecondary education enrollment.

Our new case study explores flexible learning models that are driving up postsecondary enrollment. One particularly bright success story comes from the all-virtual Western Governors University in Washington (WGU Washington).  From 2011 to 2019, WGU Washington grew from less than 1,000 to 12,000 students. As of March 2021, there were 13,905 students attending WGU Washington, and enrollment had grown 15.8% in just the last two years.  By comparison, nearly all of Washington’s public two- and four-year institutions experienced enrollment declines during the same time period.

Our case study explores the five reasons WGU Washington cites for enrollment growth: an all-virtual model, flat tuition rate, flexible and student-directed learning, consistent mentoring, and streamlined academic pathways.

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‘You belong in science:’ Fred Hutch builds education pathways




Yusuf remembers learning about robotics and computer science in middle school. “It clicked with me,” he says. “I was good at it, and I enjoyed it.”

During 10th grade at Sammamish High School, Yusuf’s AP chemistry teacher urged him to apply to the two-week Pathways Research Explorers Program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The program provides high school students from underrepresented communities an immersive, hands-on introduction to cancer biology, lab activities, and research careers.

“I was smiling the whole time. I was having fun,” Yusuf says. “I met a computational biologist while they were explaining what they did. I thought, that’s what I want to do.”

The Pathways Research Explorers Program is a launchpad for many students who go on to participate in Fred Hutch’s more intensive programs as they progress through their academic experiences. Students conduct scientific experiments related to cancer and talk to scientists in various positions, including people from groups systematically marginalized and excluded from research.

After learning about computational biology, Yusuf completed a yearlong internship with Fred Hutch in 11th grade. Through regular meetings with his mentor, a computational biologist, Yusuf learned about both coding and biology, and used machine learning to analyze COVID-19 data.

“It was a new experience that I don’t think I could have gotten anywhere else,” Yusuf says.

“You belong in science”

Through science education outreach, Fred Hutch – a member of the Washington Roundtable, of which Partnership for Learning is the education foundation – actively works to recruit, support, and retain high school and undergraduate students from communities underrepresented in scientific research. Students gain hands-on STEM experience while receiving career guidance and mentorship. Program participants become cancer researchers, computer engineers, and more. The programs also serve as a way for Fred Hutch to build a diverse pool of scientific researchers and engage communities across the state.

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New case study: The benefits of dual credit

Washington employers are expected to create 373,000 net new jobs in our state over the next five years. An estimated 70% of these jobs will require or be filled by workers with a postsecondary credential – such as a degree, apprenticeship, or certificate. But our state is facing a crisis in credential attainment, and the pandemic has driven alarming drops in postsecondary enrollment.

Our new report explores how earning college credit while in high school can help Washington students succeed in post-high school education, examines how to increase equity in dual credit participation, and spotlights a successful partnership between Wenatchee Valley College and Bridgeport High School.

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New Report: Washington’s Postsecondary Enrollment Crisis Intensifies

Employers will add an estimated 373,000 net new jobs in Washington state over the next five years. About 70% of these jobs will require or be filled by workers with a post-high school credential, such as a degree, apprenticeship, or certificate.

Washington Roundtable and Partnership for Learning are focused on one goal: By the high school class of 2030, 70% of Washington students – overall and within each racial and ethnic group – will complete a post-high school credential by age 26.

But even before the pandemic, too few of Washington’s young people, particularly young people of color and those from low-income backgrounds, were enrolling in postsecondary education and completing credentials. In our new report, learn how increasing the postsecondary enrollment rate is our greatest opportunity to ensure Washington students are ready for opportunities that await.

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Read the fact sheet

WA high school principals discuss challenges & potential solutions

This fall, the 2021-22 Chief Education Officer (CEO) Network welcomed 6 new members. A partnership between the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP), Partnership for Learning, Washington Roundtable, and Challenge Seattle, the CEO Network brings a cohort of principals together during monthly workshops and offers access to online curriculum developed by AWSP. Principals are key to attracting and keeping high-quality teachers, according to research cited by the Education Policy Center. The CEO Network meetings are a place for principals to connect with their peers across the state, discuss solutions to challenges, and make their voices heard. Members have expressed the value of having a dedicated space with their peers to discuss topics such as grading, COVID, hiring, and credits. Read More

Career Connect Washington Program Directory

To make it easier for young people to access local programs and pathways to economic success, Career Connect Washington has created an online, statewide directory of all levels of career connected learning opportunities. This directory is designed to be used by students, families, young adults, educators, and school counselors—in short, anyone who is in a position to help people between 15-30 prepare for their Next Big Thing.

The Career Connect Washington Program Directory allows users to search by interest, location, and intensity level. They can also filter their results by education level, program type, and wage range, and have the ability to connect to support resources.

High school principals connect with postsecondary ed representatives

High school principals have a lot on their minds this month as they work to support teachers and students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learning and sharing experiences with other principals is valuable while they navigate similar challenges, such as grading, attendance, and planning for graduation. The Chief Education Officer (CEO) Network – a partnership between the Association of Washington Principals (AWSP), Partnership for Learning, Washington Roundtable and Challenge Seattle – brings a cohort of Washington high school principals together this school year for monthly virtual workshops and offers access to online curriculum developed by AWSP.

The November CEO Network meeting offered an opportunity for principals connect with one another, as well as engage with representatives from postsecondary education groups and institutions around admissions, as well as resources for high school families and counselors.Read More

WA principals reconnect and share plans for fall

From supporting student engagement and staff mental health to deciding how to welcome freshmen and how many classes students should take, high school principals in Washington state face unique challenges this fall. As schools return remotely for many districts and racial equity discussions continue, principals have numerous responsibilities to their students and staff, making professional development opportunities especially valuable right now.

In mid-August, more than 20 Washington high school principals gathered to kick off the two-year Chief Education Officer (CEO) Network program, which provides professional and leadership development to a cohort of high school principals from across the state. The group reflected about the upcoming school year and the importance of racial equity. They also heard presentations about digital literacy and school reopening data.

A partnership between the Association of Washington Principals (AWSP), Partnership for Learning, Washington Roundtable and Challenge Seattle, the CEO Network will bring principals together this school year for monthly virtual workshops and offer access to online curriculum developed by AWSP.

“Our goal is to create a cohort of principals that can lean on each other and support each other,” said Scott Friedman, associate director for AWSP.Read More

How HS principals and business leaders are coming together for WA students

The leadership demands of running a company and running a high school are more similar than one might expect. From personnel management and budgeting to healthy culture and handling crises, CEOs and high school principals share much in common.

This is one theme principals and business leaders have explored through the Chief Education Officer Network, a two-year program that provides professional and leadership development for a cohort of high school principals from across Washington state. A partnership between the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP), Partnership for Learning, Washington Roundtable, and Challenge Seattle, the CEO Network brings principals together for a series of two-day workshops and offers access to online curriculum developed by AWSP. It also individually matches each of the principals with a senior executive from Washington’s private sector for one-on-one discussions and support.Read More