• College
  • Community
  • Early Learning
  • Equity
  • Funding
  • Government Relations
  • High School
  • LTFS
  • Press Releases
  • Statement from PSESD
King County Promise Legislation Passed

RENTON, Wash. -- On August 28, 2019, the Martin Luther King County Council passed historic legislation investing $318 million to improve educational outcomes for children and youth over the next 16 years. The investment, funded through voter-approved Sound Transit 3 proceeds, supports King County children and youth across the entire age spectrum, from early learning through postsecondary completion.  

Of the $318 million investment in the King County Puget Sound Taxpayer Accountability Account (PSTAA):

  • $153.8 million will support the development of early learning facilities
  • $29.6 million will support community-based organizations working with students in the K–12 grades
  • $112.4 million will go to the King County Promise, which provides advising support for underserved high school and college students to get them to and through college
  • $22.6 million will be reserved for administration and evaluation

Studies show that “promise” programs, when they provide increased access to financial support, advising and removal of system barriers, lead to significant improvements in retention, especially for students who are first in their families to attend college, and students who are most impacted by poverty and racism.  The recently-released Let Us Succeed report, based on survey results of more than 7,000 youth of color and first-generation college students across South King County, showed that 96 percent want to earn a postsecondary credential, yet face significant barriers and need more robust advising.  

“We are going to change the game for students in this region, ensuring that our systems are easier to navigate and that students are more equitably supported in their pursuit of postsecondary education,” stated Kyla Lackie, Director of Postsecondary Readiness at Puget Sound College & Career Network (PSCCN). 

The King County Promise is a broad-based effort of hundreds of students, educators, community-based organizations and systems leaders collaborating since 2017, staffed by the PSCCN and championed by the Puget Sound Coalition for College & Career Readiness. PSCCN works with students, educators, community organizations, schools, districts, colleges and state-level organizations to remove barriers so that students of color, first-generation college students, and students impacted by poverty have the opportunity and support to access and obtain postsecondary credentials. 

“Through King County Promise, we now have an incredible opportunity to impact the young people who have been underserved in our region; the legacy left by this work will be more equitable policies and practices, leading to a transformation of the educational student support system and equipping young people with the degrees and credentials to empower them to be key parts of our local economy,” stated Mercy Daramola, Manager of PSCCN.

“Our region’s college access and completion system will be among the strongest in the nation and will serve as a model for equitable and highly-supportive systems for student success,” said Kevin McCarthy, President of Renton Technical College and Co-Chair of the Puget Sound Coalition for College & Career Readiness.  

The Coalition thanks the King County Council for this substantial investment in young people who have been historically underserved. Approximately 45 percent of the $112.4 million invested in the King County Promise will go to K–12 supports ($50.6 million), 45 percent to postsecondary supports ($50.6 million), and 10 percent to community-based organizations working with students of color, first-generation college students, and students impacted by poverty ($11.2 million).  

“We are thrilled that the Council has made such a substantial investment in postsecondary advising through the King County Promise,” said Danika Martinez, Program Director for Seattle Education Access. “This is an opportunity for us as a community-based organization to work alongside school districts and higher education to provide more supports for young people across King County.”

In passing this legislation, the Council specified that PSTAA-funded programs must support students in “vulnerable and underserved populations,” including children and youth of color; those who are impacted by poverty or homelessness; are in the foster care, child welfare, or juvenile justice system; have disabilities; identify as LGBTQ; or are otherwise vulnerable children and youth. Further, community-based organizations funded by PSTAA will be led by employees with lived experiences similar to those of students in the opportunity gap.

Over the next eight months, PSCCN and the Coalition will collaborate with community-based organizations, school districts and colleges across the region to develop an implementation plan for the King County Promise. The Coalition looks forward to continuing to work with partners across the county, including community-based organizations, to eliminate racial opportunity gaps.


Implementation Plan Approved in Support of King County Promise

On September 1, 2020, the Martin Luther King County Council approved the implementation plan for historic legislation investing $318 million to improve educational outcomes for children and youth over the next 15 years. The investment, funded through voter-approved Sound Transit 3 proceeds, supports King County children and youth across the entire age spectrum, from early learning through college, career and technical education completion.

Read More about Implementation Plan Approved in Support of King County Promise
Young students playing with puzzle pieces

Back in March, all Educare Learning Network schools closed their physical locations in response to COVID-19. Just a month later, Educare Seattle was the first Network school to reopen their building, providing on-site childcare for enrolled children and families of essential workers. We touched base with Educare Site Manager Aeryn King to hear about her journey to her current position and the lessons learned along the way.

Read More about Stories Across the Agency - July 2020 - Adapting to Change with Aeryn King
Two babies and mother play with rattles

Four mothers share their experiences being parents in the Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW). With help from PSESD's Early Head Start at WCCW, the mothers are able to build healthy relationships with their children, receive parenting and childcare support, participate in child development education, and prepare for their futures upon release.

Read More about PSESD Early Head Start at WCCW Supports Mothers and Children From the Beginning
Educare Seattle logo

At the onset of the pandemic, Educare Seattle took a bold step in assessing the risks and rewards of reopening, to provide services to parents who are first responders. After adopting and implementing strict policies, procedures and practices for health and safety of staff and students, the White Center-based service, carefully welcomed students back in early April. Read about the process here. Learn more about how Educare was founded and their guiding principles.

Read More about Educare Seattle Leads the Way in Early Childhood Education
Screenshot of ISB animated video

PSESD’S Science Department, in partnership with Institute for Systems Biology (ISB), offered a number of four-hour workshops for STEM teachers. The powerful event connected workshop participants with practicing scientists and engineers from ISB to maximize professional development and learning.

Read More about Systems are Everywhere
Students and teacher outside at ReLife

Principal Lynne Truitt and the ReLife staff have found a creative way to engage students with the invention of Amusement Park Month! Each student will have a 30-minute, in-person, outdoor physically distanced educational activity and interaction with staff to get new assignments, drop off completed work, get important school messages and information, and enjoy tasty treats.

Read More about July is ReLife Amusement Park Month
Best Starts for Kids King County Logo

The PSESD Strategy, Evaluation, and Learning team joined with partners at Mill Creek Middle School in Kent School District to host a webinar on June 11, 2020. We shared what we are learning about equitable partnerships in schools through the Best Starts for Kids (BSK) School Partnership Evaluation.

Read More about Learning about Equitable Partnerships in Schools with Best Starts for Kids Investments
Regional Art Show Screenshot

Superintendent Chris Reykdal, and our Washington State school community of 16 student honorees, a host of teachers, parents and friends, celebrated the arts on May 29 in Olympia, Washington via Zoom conferencing. For the first time in Art Show history, people gathered online to celebrate the work and accomplishments of the artists. See a replay of the show on Facebook and view the online gallery.

Read More about Celebrating Student Artists at the 2020 Superintendent's High School Art Show
Black Lives Matter

Puget Sound Educational Service District acknowledges the pain, anger and trauma resulting from George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer, Monday, May 25, 2020. All PSESD offices will be closed starting at noon, Friday, June 12, as we stand with our Black and African-American colleagues, friends and loved ones, as well as people that advocate and fight for humanity, against racism of all forms, in the statewide silent march and general strike to end police violence against the Black community.

Read More about Racial Trauma Press Release