New Report: Best Starts and Equitable School Partnerships

This blog was written by: Nathalie Jones of Puget Sound Educational Service District

The first Best Starts for Kids levy supported schools and community-based organizations (CBOs) to create school environments that are safe, supportive, respectful and engaging for students, staff and families. We are glad to share the final 2019-2021 evaluation report describing how schools, CBOs, and King County partnered to provide opportunities for students who face systemic barriers in pursuing their educational, career, and life goals, before and during the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

The evaluation included 11 sites with multiple BSK School Partnership strategy investments in Auburn, Bellevue, Kent, Seattle, Snoqualmie Valley, and Tukwila school districts.

Check out the full report here!

These schools, districts, CBOs and the County moved nimbly to respond to the challenges presented by the pandemic to meet the immediate needs of students and families. They built on partnerships developed with trust and in relationship. They reflected two factors critical to equitable partnership: Leaders who are committed to building relationships and trust and sharing power among schools, CBOs, students, and families; and structures to support coordination, including space, resources, and an explicit coordination role or function. Other key findings include: 

  • The relationship between equitable partnerships and the changes partnerships are contributing to in schools works in both directions. Partnerships contribute to changes in schools, and these changes, in turn, contribute to and strengthen the conditions for equitable partnerships between schools, CBOs, and other partners. 
  • BSK is seen as a partner, rather than strictly a funder, to support the transformative potential of equitable partnerships. 
  • As the first round of BSK came to an end, there was an increased focus on sustainability and accountability to affect change. 
  • COVID-19 changed everything. 

The School Partnerships investments helped build connections and lay the groundwork for continued growth toward the transformative potential of equitable partnerships. We are thankful to the students, families, and organizational staff who contributed their wisdom to understanding BSK-supported school partnerships. You can find more details of the evaluation in the executive summary and full report here.  

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