Seattle Public Schools

Better Together: Community Partnerships

Summary: From tutoring to scholarships, playgrounds to housing, the district is reaping the benefits of partnering with community organizations.

Better Together: Partnerships with community organizations and businesses is opening doors for SPS students 

Seattle Public Schools is enriched by the hundreds of community partnerships that celebrate, engage, and support our students and families. From tutoring to scholarships, playgrounds to housing, the district is reaping the benefits of partnering with the City of Seattle, Special Olympics and more.     

Strong partnerships between schools and community-based organizations are key to ensuring that every student has the support they need to thrive. Below is a selection of just a few of the amazing partnerships that positively impact SPS students. 

Seattle Housing Authority 

Our partnership with Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) is a nationally recognized approach aimed at improving educational outcomes for over 6,000 students who attend Seattle Public Schools and live in SHA-subsidized housing. 

SHA and SPS have had a long-standing partnership to support the academic and social success of SHA students. Their long and productive partnership with SPS has proven effective in increasing student attendance and achievement, and whole family engagement. 

During the pandemic, SHA education and youth specialists, Community Builders and other staff have worked closely with SPS to ensure students in SHA-assisted families have food, devices, internet access and support they need to continue learning.  

The SPS Strategic Plan also places a special emphasis on students further from educational justice, specifically the Black student population. Forty-six percent of the district’s total Black student population live in SHA-supported housing.  

Seattle Parks and Recreation 

Seattle Parks and Recreation partners with SPS operating five school-based community learning centers to provide 24-30 weeks of high-quality programming in extended-day academic support in math and literacy, gender-fluid and culturally based mentoring, social emotional learning, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM), and College and Career Readiness.  

The community learning centers serve over 1,000 SPS students per semester. The schools where Parks and Rec provide services include Aki Kurose Middle School, Denny International Middle School, Mercer International Middle School, Washington Middle School, and James Baldwin Elementary. 

Parks and Rec runs camps throughout the year for students underperforming in current courses to get caught up on coursework. In addition, they provide college and career exploration by exposing students to different trades and technical education in our local junior colleges. 

In partnership with the Associated Recreation Council, Parks and Rec serves the city by offering a variety of recreational and lifelong learning programs, classes, and activities. Their mission is to inspire engagement and participation to build a healthy community. 

Seattle Public Libraries  

Seattle Public Libraries (SPL) equips all SPS students and teachers with free, instant access to online resources and digital media through their library card.  

With the Library Link, SPS students can access a variety of tools, research databases, e-books and audiobooks. 

The SPL works with SPS to hold the annual Global Reading Challenge, a cost-free citywide program that allows SPS 4th and 5th graders to engage in the sport of reading. During the event, students form teams of seven and read a selection of books then take part in a trivia competition answering questions about the books to determine the winner for the city of Seattle. 

Special Olympics Washington 

SPS is partnering with Special Olympics Washington to bring the Unified Champion Schools program to all schools in the district. This program aims at promoting a more socially inclusive school community. 

All students at Unified Champion Schools have access to inclusive sports, whole school engagement, and inclusive youth leadership. Together, SPS and Special Olympics Washington are creating school communities where everyone is welcome and included in all activities. More information about Unified Champion Schools is available on the Special Olympics Washington website

SPS Community Partnership Team

School and Community Partnerships Department builds collaborative, cross-sector partnership systems that facilitate a consistent and student-centered ecosystem of supports and experiences for students. Our vision is that Seattle Public Schools and Community Partners build transformational, equity-driven, anti-racist partnerships that spark students’ curiosity, affirm their identities, and support them to thrive in school and in life.

Learn more about SPS community partnerships.

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