Supporting Thriving Learners in 2023

December 2023
2023 Year in Review

Throughout 2023, dozens of school districts, foundations, and other organizations partnered with us on hundreds of projects in the pursuit of excellent and equitable education for all. Here are some highlights of our work together!

North Thurston Public Schools, Washington

Evaluating Equity for Multilingual Learners

North Thurston Public Schools—on the southern edge of Washington state’s Puget Sound—is invested in providing equitable outcomes for multilingual learners. As in many school districts across the country, this means dismantling systemic barriers and providing professional learning opportunities for all educators.

The district partnered with us to observe classroom instruction for multilingual learners in grades K–12, review and analyze student data, survey educators, and conduct focus groups with students, families, and educators. With this evidence, we will co-create comprehensive recommendations for the district’s multilingual learner program to plan for and implement systemic changes to program structures, instruction, family engagement, and educator professional development.

New Jersey Historical Commission

Advancing Indigenous Education in the Garden State

The New Jersey Historical Commission partnered with Education Northwest to evaluate the inclusion of Indigenous history and culture in the state’s K–12 schools. We convened an Indigenous Education Committee of leaders to guide the effort and then conducted statewide surveys and key interviews to learn about available resources and future opportunities to expand Indigenous education in the state.

Using the survey and interview findings as well as important feedback from the Indigenous Education Committee, we developed a plan with a timeline, key milestones, estimated project budget, and recommendations for the development of future educational resources and professional development opportunities for educators. A coalition including the New Jersey Historical Commission, Tribes, the New Jersey Education Department, the New Jersey Commission on Indian Affairs, and other key partners will advance the components of the plan across the state in the next three to five years to bring more robust Indigenous education to New Jersey students.

District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education

Closing Equity Gaps in Career and Technical Education

Student data in Washington, D.C., show engagement disparities among student groups in career and technical education (CTE). We partnered with the District’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education to design an online course to train teachers and administrators to analyze student enrollment data and identify and address gaps in CTE participation and persistence. This course—a one-hour, self-paced version of a longer training we developed with the same partner in 2022—will help more educators learn how to use data to enhance equity in CTE engagement and support students as they pursue their career dreams.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Supporting Young Immigrants’ Education and Career Pathways

Young immigrants bring unique cultural assets with them to school, but educators often struggle to meet these students’ social, emotional, and linguistic needs while also supporting their educational and career goals. The Annie E. Casey Foundation partnered with Education Northwest to study effective, evidence-based practices for supporting young immigrants in their college and career pathways.

Through two focus groups and interviews with staff members at 23 youth-oriented, immigrant-serving organizations—primarily in Arizona and Texas—we developed a guidebook of promising practices. These practices include using trauma-informed and culturally and linguistically responsive approaches to helping young immigrants thrive in school and beyond; embedding youth voice and leadership in programming; providing comprehensive academic, career, postsecondary transition, and basic needs services; and using partnerships to increase outreach and service provision between organizations.

AmeriCorps VISTA

Returning to In-Person Training after COVID

AmeriCorps VISTA engages volunteers for one-year terms at nonprofits and public agencies. Members of its Training Unit were thrilled to restart in-person training for VISTA members, leaders, and sponsors after more than three years of the pandemic. Working with Learning Systems International, they partnered with us to revise curriculum and content to reflect changes in national service (and the world) since March 2020.

Education Northwest designed and developed nearly 20 hours of new curriculum with an emphasis on social justice, equity, and well-being. We also reassembled our cadre of seasoned training facilitators and created a new pool of inspiring keynote speakers to add a more celebratory, inspirational tone to training events. This new format and curriculum served more than 800 participants at seven events in 2023—with 99 percent of participants at our inaugural event saying they would recommend the training to others and 99 percent reporting they gained new knowledge applicable to their service. In 2024, we will update and refine the curriculum for up to 15 additional events.

See you in 2024

In the coming year, we look forward to continuing to work together to bring excellent and equitable education to all—so that every learner thrives.