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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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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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

Increasing Postsecondary Enrollment: Chehalis SD Case Study

In the Chehalis School District, more than 9 of 10 students are graduating in four years from W. F. West High School, a higher rate than the state average. An increasing number are going on to pursue a post-high school credential. The “credential going” culture has developed out of the district’s commitment to increased dual-credit opportunities and rigorous coursework, an active partnership with Centralia College, strong supports for students who have been systemically underserved, particularly first-generation college students and those from low-income households, and active collaboration among staff. 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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Practical support clears a path for kids to think big about their future

Laura Lyman, a 10th grader at Cascade High School in Leavenworth, plans to be the first in her family to attend college. She knows how to organize. She is motivated. She recognizes college education will have positive impacts on her future. The data says she’s right. Many of the job openings coming to our state will be filled by workers who have a credential after high school.

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“High School is Just the Beginning.” Q&A With Fanuel Abraha

Fanuel Abraha is a senior at Edmonds-Woodway High School. He also has big dreams and a clear plan to achieve those dreams. Fanuel was featured in our latest #CredentialEssential campaign video about the success of the Edmonds School District in enrolling students into education and training programs after high school.

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Increasing Postsecondary Enrollment: Edmonds SD Case Study

High school students in Edmonds School District graduate at a higher rate than their peers statewide. They also enroll in post-high school education at much higher rates. Targeted supports, guidance, and partnerships are helping to drive this out-sized success. Learn more about where Edmonds SD excels in a new case study as part of our Credential is Essential series.

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