Washington high school seniors honored for their commitment to pursue STEM education and careers

STEM Signing at the VMAC

High school seniors from across Washington state received honors from Boeing, Partnership for Learning, and Tallo during a Washington State STEM Signing Day event in Seattle, on June 4. The event recognized students committed to pursuing science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) after high school.

Just like college signing days for athletes, the event showcased the next generation of STEM leaders. Each honoree signed a letter indicating their intent to pursue STEM at a college or university. The Washington high school seniors were selected based on their accomplishments and involvement in STEM education.

Elected officials joined education, community, and business leaders in the ceremony to recognize these students’ dedication to innovation and their drive to make Washington’s future brighter.

“As we gather to celebrate the hard work and potential of these ambitious future STEM leaders, we are filled with inspiration, hope, and optimism,” said Gina Breukelman, Senior Manager, Northwest Region, Boeing Global Engagement. “Each of these students has put in the work both academically and individually to identify a STEM field that excites them, and that’s no easy feat. I am confident that their journeys and careers will play a pivotal role in positively shaping our communities and our future.”

Washington honorees joined the ranks of many high school seniors celebrated at similar events nationwide this spring. These Washington students plan to study many STEM subjects, including aerospace engineering, astrophysics, cybersecurity, chemistry, and more. They plan to attend colleges and universities in Washington and beyond, including the University of Washington, Central Washington University, Everett Community College, Princeton, Caltech, and others.

Boeing has been a proud supporter of STEM Signing Day since 2017. Through community engagement efforts like this, the company seeks to support increased awareness of high-demand credentials and career-connected curriculum. Boeing contributed more than $19 million to support education, workforce programs, and public universities in Washington state in 2022.

WASHINGTON STUDENTS HONORED

First Name Last Name High School
Adonis Kasperski Orcas Island High School
Alex Estoy Glacier Peak High School
Alexander Schwieger Snohomish Senior High School
Angelina Besana Spanaway Lake High School
Archit Kumar Glacier Peak High School
Bahadir Keremoglu Kentridge Highschool
Beckham Segura Glacier peak Highschool
Betul Demir Bothell High School
Brady Pietz Sammamish High School
Bryant Le Grover Cleveland STEM High School
Calum Weston Okanogan High School
Cliffton Hedwood II Graham-Kapowsin High School
Cody Hunt Yelm High school
Cristobal Rebolledo Delta High School
Daniel Bekele Everett High School
Diego Fonzseau Everett High School
Gabriella Rebutiaco Auburn High School
Harini Thiagarajan North Creek High School
Helin Taskesen Cleveland STEM High School
Howard Cheng James A. Garfield High School
Jasmine Phillips Hanford High School
Jonathan Chu King’s High School
Julia Guske Lacrosse High school
Kevin Nguyen Hanford High School
Lauren Selin Shorecrest High School
Lilia Freire North Creek High School
Lillian Fairchild Skyview High School
Nikhita Penugonda Interlake High School
Paytin Kupferer Foster High School
Pierce Bader The Bear Creek School
Pranavi Rohit Eastlake High School
Roman Todd Delta High School
Rosie Yates Homeschool
Samuel Atuyota Bellevue Big Picture School
Sarah Webb Enumclaw Sr High School
Soranarith Sophan Everett High School
Xavier Nishikawa Bellevue Big Picture School
WA State STEM Signing Day honorees in a group photo at a celebration event on June 4, at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center (VMAC).

Case Study: Chehalis Student Achievement Initiative

In 2013, the Chehalis School District and the Chehalis Foundation partnered to launch the Chehalis Student Achievement Initiative (SAI), an effort focused on improving student achievement, modernizing instructional practices, and preparing students for college and careers. The depth of community engagement and partnership has driven impressive gains over the initiative’s 10-year history. 

  • High school graduation: Graduation rate at W.F. West High School, the region’s one comprehensive public high school, rose from 77% in 2013 to 95% in 2023, far outdistancing the state graduation rate. 
  • College-ready diploma: The percentage of W.F. West High School graduates completing the high school credit requirements required for admission to the state’s public four-year colleges and universities increased from 38% in 2013 to 51% in 2023. 
  • Direct postsecondary enrollment: The percentage of W.F. West High School students enrolling in a postsecondary program the fall after high school graduation rose from 48% in 2013 to 62% in fall 2023. 

Learn more about what makes the district stand out in our new case study, which is part of our Credential is Essential series. 

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New report: Postsecondary enrollment declined for 3rd straight year

The crisis of stagnant or declining postsecondary enrollment – a concern even before the pandemic – is deepening at Washington’s public two- and four-year colleges and universities. According to data shared with the Washington Roundtable by the state’s public postsecondary institutions:

  • Fall 2022 enrollment of resident undergraduate students at Washington’s public four-year colleges and universities is down by nearly 10,000 students (11.3%) compared to pre-pandemic figures (fall 2019).
  • Preliminary data also indicate that enrollment across the state’s 34 community and technical colleges is down by could be down upwards of 60,000 students (an estimated decline of 26% or more).

The decline in postsecondary enrollment contrasts with the increasing economic need for credentialed workers in Washington state. From Nov. 2021 to Nov. 2022, employers added more than 130,000 jobs in Washington. That follows a decade of economic growth when a credential—such as a degree, apprenticeship, or certificate—had become essential for jobs that offer a good salary and advancement opportunities.

Read more about the picture of postsecondary enrollment in Washington in fall 2022 in our latest report. Meeting students where they are and improving the postsecondary credential attainment rate is critical to our state’s future. Join us.

Read the report

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.

Learn more here

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.

Read the report

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.

Read the report

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