Back to the Basics of Education

It’s back to school time, and a good time to reflect on the question: How does Washington State rank in education? In a nutshell, we have room for improvement. For the estimated 80,000 children in Washington who enter kindergarten each year, nearly 30 percent lack basic language and behavioral skills essential for school achievement.  Low-income students score 31 points lower on the average National Assessment for Educational Progress reading scores than their peers. Community Action Agencies across Washington State are more focused than ever on providing programs to improve education for children, youth, and adults to break the poverty cycle.  Education programs such as Head Start, parent-child home programs, school-based mentoring, and adult education classes are making a difference in helping people succeed on our path to thriving communities.

Youth Program Reduces High School Dropout Rate

In 2013, Clark County funded a youth program through Partners in Careers (PIC) designed to reduce high school dropout rates and increase employment among local youth. YouthFirst is a 10-month program that works closely with school district leadership to identify high school juniors and seniors in danger of not graduating. YouthFirst staff meets with students to determine if they are prepared to commit to the 10-month program of completing their studies, working part-time in a local business, participating in community service projects and developing an inner core of service above self. YouthFirst staff also meets with parents to seek their involvement. The goal of seniors is to graduate on time, gain work experience and a work ethic, as well as a sense of community and self-confidence leading towards self-sufficiency. All students receive post-graduation mentoring with assistance in college or vocational training placement or going directly into the work force. PIC works closely with the alternative high schools where many of the students face multiple barriers to their academic and life goals.


2012-2013 Key Results:  PIC staff provided over 1,200 hours of academic support to the students. Of the 40 students in the program, 39 completed the program and all 40 remained in high school through the program. Of the 29 seniors in the program, 24 graduated on time. Also, 21 of the students gained employment with 18 of them maintaining employment for at least 90 days!

Education Solutions

The Community Action network provides a number of education solutions through your local agency and across Washington State such as:

·       Head Start

·       Early Childhood Assistance Program (ECAP)

·       Parent-Child Home Programs

·       School-Based Mentoring

·       Back-to-School Supplies

·       GED Preparation Courses

·       Youth Education-to-Employment

·       Adult Education Classes

·       ESL Education

·       Financial Education

·       Life Skills Courses

·       Small Business Courses

·       Home-Buying Courses