Today, Mayor Ed Murray announced a series of age-friendly initiatives for the City of Seattle to address environmental, economic, and social factors influencing the health and well-being of older adults. Supporting these initiatives, the proposed first quarter supplemental budget includes $200,000 of additional funding for 2017 to fund organizations that are developing innovative new programs for seniors, nonprofits that provide transportation options for seniors and to fund a technology symposium to create user-friendly online resources for seniors.
“While the Trump administration is actively working to dismantle America’s safety net, including health care and food assistance which protect many of the most vulnerable people in our community, including seniors, Seattle will remain committed to addressing the economic, physical and social challenges facing older adults,” said Mayor Murray. “From urban planning, growth and development to housing, transportation and services, these aspects of our community will be shaped for and by our older residents.”
The goal of these new initiatives is to increase social participation, racial equity and awareness of issues older adults face daily, while decreasing displacement. As the population of older adults in Seattle increases, the City is developing goals and indicators around departmental initiatives that consider aging adults. In addition to the new funding outlined above, Mayor Murray outlined several specific early action items for 2017 including:
- Signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the King County Department of Assessments to increase enrollments in the City’s Utility Discount Program and the state’s Property Tax Exemption/Referral Program to help older adults to stay in their homes. The goal is to double the number of seniors enrolled in both programs;
- Leveraging Seattle’s civic technology community to help the City better meet the needs of the aging population. This includes coordination of a technology symposium and design workshops to create user-friendly online resources for seniors based on best practices and innovative solutions from other cities;
- In a partnership with King County Metro, increasing usage of the Regional Reduced Fare Permit, a reduced fare program by older adults by streamlining the application process;
- Improving the pedestrian environment by assessing sidewalks with the involvement of seniors, implementing walkability audits, promoting transportation options for older adults, and incorporating age-friendly criteria into the Pedestrian Master Plan for 2018-2022;
- Involving seniors in the development and engagement process for new capital investments and increasing participation in senior-focused recreation and healthy food programs offered through the City of Seattle Human Services Department, Department of Parks and Recreation, and Office of Sustainability and Environment;
- Improving housing affordability by developing a regional housing action plan to assess senior housing needs, identifying low-income seniors to participate in the Utility Discount Program and the senior property tax exemption program; increasing access to weatherization services, home repair, and foreclosure prevention programs; and evaluating feasibility of senior home-sharing options.
“As the real estate market continues to boom we see more and more seniors facing financial difficulty,” said King County Assessor John Wilson. “I am thrilled to partner with Mayor Murray and the City of Seattle to offer relief to those who need it the most. We will work together to ensure Seattle is a place we can all afford to call home.”
In addition to early actions, Mayor Murray is committing to two community equity forums—one focused on the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender elders; the other on the needs of older women. Also, the City is looking to provide older adults with better access to human services and City resources, based on best practices, new technologies and innovative solutions from other cities.
“I’m pleased to see our City so fully embrace this Age-Friendly concept, making this a city for all ages and abilities,” said Sally Bagshaw, Seattle City Councilmember. “Personally, I want to see giant steps forward in improving our sidewalks across the city. When we maintain our sidewalks, connecting them block-to-block and implementing safe crosswalks, we make a pedestrian-friendly network. The improved pedestrian environment encourages people of all ages to walk, and as we all know, a little fresh air does us good.
“A sidewalk free of bulges and holes appeals to everyone in the neighborhood, including the mom pushing her stroller, a child riding a scooter to school, and those who may find walking a challenge. Investing in safe walking routes for all of us should be a top priority for our Age-Friendly city.”
“It is important to me and to our City that we take care of our elders,” said Catherine Lester, Director of the City’s Human Services Department. “This requires us to create opportunities for social participation, to promote health and wellness, and to make sure our physical environment is accessible. These are the types of things that allow Seattle to continue to be a place where people of all ages and stages of life can thrive. Our elders, as well as all people in our community, must feel valued and be able to participate fully as part of this community.”
The Human Services Department will also design an innovation fund to identify and award funding for unique and creative projects that meet community needs. The first year will include a focus on ways to creatively move towards an age-friendly community with a specific focus on results and racial equity.
The City will consider suggestions for age-friendly improvements in the 2018 budget and will report on the progress of the initial three-year plan to the Human Services and Public Health Committee, or other appropriate City Council committees, through 2021.
Currently, 18 percent of King County’s residents are 60 years and older. By 2040, that number is expected to grow to be one in four adults (25 percent). Currently, 63 percent of King County renters age 65 and older spend more than 30 percent of their annual income on housing. Racial disparities persist in these findings. Nearly two-thirds of older Black/African Americans (60 percent) spend 30 percent or more of their income on housing, as do more than half (56 percent) of older Latino seniors. This compares to 47 percent of White older adults.
In July 2016, Seattle joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, an affiliate of the World Health Organization’s Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities. This initiative outlines “The 8 Domains of Livability” which include:
- Outdoor Spaces and Buildings
- Social Participation
- Respect and Social Inclusion
- Civic Participation and Employment
- Communication and Information
- Community and Health Services
The AARP/WHO framework looks for improvements in these specific areas that influence the health and quality of life for our city’s older residents. This initiative aims to help the region support the positive contributions of older adults and enable people of all ages and abilities to achieve their potential.
Today, Mayor Ed Murray along with Council President Bruce Harrell, Councilmember Mike O’Brien, City planners, and pedestrian advocates announced a series of pedestrian safety investments guided by the City’s updated Pedestrian Master Plan and Vision Zero safety program. These new investments will further the City’s goal of making Seattle the safest and most walkable city in the country by improving street and intersection safety, and new sidewalks. Funding for these safety improvements were made possible through the Move Seattle levy.
“All of us depend on a safe, accessible transportation infrastructure to get to work, school, and everywhere we need to be in our daily lives,” said Mayor Murray. “The Pedestrian Master Plan calls for critically needed upgrades to sidewalks in under-served communities, and through our Vision Zero program, we are making busy streets and intersections safer for everyone. These safety investments can help make Seattle neighborhoods safer and more walkable for all residents.”
“By prioritizing investments and improvements towards more walkable neighborhoods, we build stronger, healthier, safer, and more inclusive communities,” said Council President Harrell (District 2, South Seattle). “Our locally owned small businesses down the street thrive, residents walk more and become healthier, communities feel safer because of the social connections and eyes on the street, and the natural environment benefits.”
“Every investment we make in pedestrian infrastructure can literally mean the difference between life and death,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien (District 6, Northwest Seattle). “I’m hopeful that these dollars and future funding keep us on track toward Vision Zero.”
The updated Pedestrian Master Plan (PMP) directs $22 million for 50 blocks of new sidewalk improvements in 2017. The PMP focuses these investments by prioritizing sidewalks that provide safer access to schools and transit options. The PMP is guided by an equity consideration, ensuring under-served communities are prioritized for pedestrian improvements. These investments will be made in neighborhoods from Greenwood, Lake City in the north end, to Beacon Hill, Roxbury Heights and Rainier Valley in the south end. Click here for a map of the improvements. Mayor Murray is transmitting his recommended PMP update to Council for adoption later this week.
”Many people in the South Seattle community including myself have suffered due to the lack of safety improvements along the Rainier Avenue corridor,” said Phyllis Porter of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. “I am thankful for the initial phase of the Rainier Avenue Safety Project in the Rainier Valley and look forward to continued improvements along the corridor.”
Additionally, the acceleration of the second phase of the Rainier Avenue corridor safety improvements was announced today. As part of Seattle Department of Transportation’s (SDOT) Vision Zero program, Rainier Avenue between S. Kenny Street and S. Henderson Street will see $2.25 million in improvements to pedestrian safety at intersections. Vision Zero improvements may include marked crosswalks, dedicated left turn arrows, channelization upgrades, and new signal timing to prioritize pedestrians. The improvements will be completed by 2019. The first phase of the project made similar improvements in the Columbia and Hillman City neighborhoods. Rainier Avenue is one of many Vision Zero projects throughout the city to improve corridor and pedestrian crossings. These projects, along with SDOT’s expansion of new, lower speed limits will improve safety in neighborhoods across Seattle.
“We analyzed bicycle and pedestrian crashes that happened from 2007 to 2014 in Seattle so we could identify problems to address through better street design and traffic operations. We looked at different data sources to explore the relationship between where, how, and to the extent possible, why crashes happen,” said Scott Kubly, Director of the Seattle Department of Transportation. “As a result, we have a better understanding of some of the most common issues, and where and how we need to focus our efforts for making our streets safer for all users.”
Vision Zero is SDOT’s approach to traffic safety with a goal of ending traffic deaths and serious injury by 2030. The program is a blend of safety measures such as lowering speed limits, improving traffic signals, pedestrian and bike crossing enhancements, and increasing transit efficiency to make streets safer for all modes of transportation, especially pedestrians. Despite a rapidly increasing population, fatal and serious injury incidents in Seattle have been declining since 2014.
Today’s announcement was made at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in South Seattle, which will receive $130,000 in new speed humps and curb ramps on all streets around the school and marked crosswalks at 44th Ave S. and S. Willow St. These safety improvements are part of SDOT’s Safe Routes to School program, which encourages and funds easier, safer ways for students to get to school.
Today, Mayor Ed Murray appointed Jessica Finn Coven as Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), a new position created to lead citywide resilience building efforts to help Seattle prepare for, withstand, and bounce back from “shocks” – catastrophic events like heat waves and floods – and “stresses” – longer term pressures like climate change, income inequality, and impacts from Seattle’s unprecedented growth. Finn Coven currently serves as director of Seattle’s Office of Sustainability & Environment and will remain in that role while taking on these additional responsibilities. Seattle was selected to be a founding member of the 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation, which will provide a grant to support and fund the position.
“I am proud to announce Jessica Finn Coven as Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Seattle,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Jessica’s experience and expertise in the complex issues of climate change, affordable housing, and inequity will be leveraged in this new role as she helps drive the City’s strategy to increase resilience, grow equitably and reduce disproportionate impacts on communities of color.”
As CRO, Finn Coven will report directly to Mayor Murray and oversee the development and implementation of a comprehensive Resilience Strategy for Seattle.
Appointing a CRO is an essential element of Seattle’s resilience building partnership with 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation. The 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) organization is part of a $164 million commitment by The Rockefeller Foundation to build urban resilience in 100 cities around the world. Seattle’s engagement with 100RC kicked off in October 2016 with a “Resilience Agenda-Setting Workshop,” and under Finn Coven’s leadership, the City is poised to take the next step in its resilience planning. 100RC will support the salary of the CRO as well as fully fund a Deputy CRO position to work with Finn Coven on the Resilience Strategy.
The CRO is an innovative feature of 100RC’s resilience building program, specifically designed to break down existing barriers at the local level, account for pre-existing resilience plans, and create partnerships, alliances and financing mechanisms that will improve resilience of all residents, with a focus on low-income and vulnerable populations.
“Jessica Finn Coven joins a network of peers from cities across the globe that will share best practices and surface innovative thinking,” said Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities. “She will become a global leader in resilience, and will be an asset for Seattle and other cities around the world.”
Seattle’s resilience initiative will focus on a unique combination of seismic risks, climate change, and the social and economic inequities that are exacerbated by Seattle’s rapid growth. Seattle needs to ensure that as we grow, we are doing so in a way that creates healthy communities with access to green space for all, responds to climate change, and tackles the health and environmental disparities present in Seattle. Finn Coven will be charged with fostering a citywide dialogue on solutions, helping Seattle to unite and build the collective capacity for change.
Finn Coven will receive personnel and technical support provided by 100RC and utilize resilience building tools from private, public, academic, and NGO sector organizations that have partnered with 100RC. Seattle’s Resilience Strategy will be a holistic, action-oriented blueprint to build partnerships and alliances, financing mechanisms, and will pay particular attention to meeting the needs of low-income families, communities of color and other vulnerable populations.
About Seattle CRO Jessica Finn Coven
Jessica Finn Coven has been the Director of the City of Seattle’s Office of Sustainability & Environment since June 2015. The Office, in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders, develops innovative environmental solutions that foster equitable, vibrant communities and shared prosperity.
Finn Coven previously served as state director of Climate Solutions, where her work focused on developing legislative and policy strategies to reduce pollution contributing to climate change and grow an equitable clean-energy economy in Washington state. Jessica also worked as program director for the U.S. Climate Action Network. From 2002 to 2005, she was a global warming campaigner for Greenpeace in Washington DC. She also spent several months working in Beijing as a policy advisor for Greenpeace China.
About 100 Resilient Cities—Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation
100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) helps cities around the world become more resilient to social, economic, and physical challenges that are a growing part of the 21st Century. 100RC provides this assistance through funding for a CRO in each of our cities who will lead the resilience efforts; resources for drafting a resilience strategy; access to private sector, public sector, academic, and NGO resilience tools; and membership in a global network of peer cities to share best practices and challenges. For more information, visit: www.100ResilientCities.org.
Today, Mayor Ed Murray announced a new directive extending participation in the Mayor’s Youth Employment Initiative (MYEI) to all City departments. The announcement marked the launch of 2017 employer recruiting efforts for the program, which connects Seattle youth ages 14-24 with paid internships and employment opportunities. Last year, 17 City departments collectively hired more than 500 interns through MYEI which includes the Seattle Youth Employment Program. These efforts, combined with support from the private sector, served a total of 3,500 youth, a seven-fold increase over 2014.
Several of the city’s largest employers – including Novo Nordisk, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Swedish Medical Center, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, and the Port of Seattle – hired interns through the initiative last year and have committed to participate again in 2017.
“One of the most important experiences a young person can have is on-the-job training and connections to a professional network,” said Mayor Murray. “Our youth employment initiative connects thousands of young Seattleites to job opportunities and helps address significant racial disparities by improving access for youth of color. This program only works with the support of the city’s employers and I encourage more to get involved by opening internship positions in their own companies or funding positions at non-profit organizations.”
At 12 percent, the youth unemployment rate is almost four times the city’s overall rate, according to the 2014 American Community Survey. For low‐income youth, young people of color, and youth who aren’t in school, the unemployment rate is as high as 28 percent. To address these challenges, in 2014 Mayor Murray piloted MYEI to build career pathways for Seattle youth.
“Participating employers provide vital opportunities for the young people they hire through this initiative, and they are also laying the foundation for an inclusive, equitable economy,” said Brian Surratt, Director of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development. “Investing in local talent is the best way to fill Seattle’s employee pipeline.”
To learn more and register your organization to participate in the initiative, visit murray.seattle.gov/youthjobs.
Recognizing the importance of reliable and affordable high-speed internet in empowering communities and fostering entrepreneurship, Mayor Ed Murray today joined dozens of mayors from across the country in calling on the president and congressional leaders to ensure broadband investments are part of any new federal infrastructure plan.
In a letter to President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Speaker Paul Ryan, Mayor Murray joined the nonpartisan Next Century Cities coalition of mayors and municipal leaders to note the important role broadband plays in fostering business, education and civic engagement, and to seek assurances that local efforts to improve broadband access will be supported in national infrastructure improvements.
“Broadband internet access is key for increasing equity and opportunity in communities across the country,” said Mayor Murray. “It empowers entrepreneurship and economic growth, prepares our teachers and students for success in the classroom, and gives residents a voice in the civic dialog on our future. I urge the federal government to pursue policies that expand accessible and affordable broadband internet for millions of Americans.”
In all, 65 leaders from 62 cities representing nearly 16 million people co-signed the Next Century Cities letter, which outlines several principles for supporting broadband in federal infrastructure plans:
- Promote broadband access by preferencing proposals from communities that have taken steps to facilitate right-of-way-access and that have eliminated unreasonable barriers to local internet choice.
- Promote broadband affordability by offering incentives to new market entrants and overbuilders.
- Promote local solutions for broadband by including funding for city-led public-private partnerships, nonprofit models, co-ops and other such local arrangements.
In December 2015, Next Century Cities leaders encouraged the FCC to ratify the proposal to modernize the Lifeline program, stressing the need to put broadband in reach for low-income families to enhance education, civic engagement, and economic opportunity. Read more.
To learn more about the City of Seattle’s broadband initiative, visit https://www.seattle.gov/tech/initiatives/broadband.
Today, Mayor Ed Murray along with Councilmembers Mike O’Brien and Rob Johnson, Ballard business owners, and bicycle and pedestrian advocates, announced that a framework agreement has been reached to move forward on completing the “missing link” of the Burke-Gilman Trail.
“After years of disagreement, we have a path forward to finally complete the ‘missing link’ of the Burke-Gilman Trail,” said Mayor Murray. “Bicyclists and pedestrians will no longer need to weave, dodge, or hold their breath while navigating through Ballard and maritime businesses along the water will maintain access to the roads they depend on. Today’s announcement highlights our collaborative effort to complete the trail, making the Burke-Gilman safer and more accessible for all.”
As the City finishes the environmental review process, the framework calls for stakeholders to work together on the design elements of a preferred alternative route that would complete the “missing link” with a marked, dedicated trail for pedestrians and cyclists. This proposed trail would run along Market Street between the Ballard Locks and 24th Avenue Northwest, then turn on to Shilshole Avenue Northwest and run along the south-side of the street. The existing trail east of the Ballard Bridge, along Northwest 45th Street, will be improved to allow for better access for businesses and safer travel for bicyclists and pedestrians. The City expects the final environmental impact study to be released in May.
“The community has been working on a safe completion of the missing link of the Burke Gilman Trail for years and it is great to be moving one step closer to construction,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien (District 6, Northwest Seattle). “It is also great that we have even more consensus around the best routing.”
“I am thrilled that we have an agreement to finally fix the missing link and to connect the Burke-Gilman Trail,” said Rob Johnson (District 4, Northeast Seattle). “We all benefit when residents, workers and goods can travel our streets safely and efficiently be they in a delivery truck, on a bus, walking or biking. This is a great success for bike safety, trail access, and Seattle’s economy.”
“This is a great announcement for people who use the Burke-Gilman Trail and for nearby businesses,” said Warren Aakervik, Ballard business owner. “The City of Seattle, businesses, and all the stakeholders are committed to a trail that is safe for recreation and commuting and allows for predictable access for trucks using the corridor. Our maritime businesses are dependent on easy access to the water and roads, and this agreement gets us that. This is a win for everyone.”
“To say we are elated is a vast understatement,” said Blake Trask, Senior Policy Director of the Cascade Bicycle Club. “This project will benefit generations. We are grateful to the many parties, including local Ballard businesses, for coming together, listening to one another, and committing to building a trail that is safe and predictable for everyone.”
“This plan balances the needs of maritime industrial businesses and the community,” said Eugene Wasserman, President of the North Seattle Industrial Association. “We look forward to working with the City, bicycling and pedestrian advocates, and Ballard residents in a manner that meets the needs of everyone that uses this corridor and maintains the vitality of the Ballard maritime industry.”
Mayor Ed Murray will be temporarily activating the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to accelerate and coordinate our response to the homelessness crisis in Seattle.
Led by Director of City Operations Fred Podesta, activating the EOC will utilize a successful model to manage coordination of both internal departments and external partners to more urgently provide services and lower barriers to housing for people living on our streets. While work at the EOC will be centered around accelerating the work of Pathways Home and getting individualized services to people living outside, the collaborative model will also foster innovative ideas to address this crisis. Work at the EOC will include:
- Accelerating the implementation of Pathways Home, the City’s plan to address homelessness and the guiding principles of getting individualized services to people living unsheltered and getting them inside quickly.
- Launching the Navigation Team, a specially trained group of outreach workers and Seattle Police officers. Navigation Team members will go into unauthorized encampments throughout the city to help identify and implement individual solutions that break down barriers preventing unsheltered people from moving indoors.
- Addressing trash and associated public health hazards to provide a safer environment for both people living unsheltered and the community at-large. People living in unauthorized encampments are more vulnerable to crime and abuse, making this work critical to their safety.
The Seattle EOC’s established mission is to minimize the impact of emergencies and disasters on the community through coordinated planning, information-sharing and resource management between all City departments, partnering agencies and the public. In this case, the City is using the coordination, communications and tracking tools of the EOC, and applying it to the work we are doing to address the critical needs of people living outside. This model provides a daily check-in on issues and solutions, engaging all of the participants in focused tactics and nimble response.
Why is the City doing this?
Homelessness is a humanitarian crisis with many causes. Those living on our streets face tremendous challenges, from the loss of a job or home to severe mental health or substance abuse disorders, that the City is working to help address.
The impact this crisis has on the individuals experiencing homelessness as well as the broader community is a growing challenge. Originally, the State of Emergency on Homelessness was intended to invoke greater help from our state and federal partners, but over a year later, we are still waiting for that needed support.
The City has already implemented many initiatives and new resources in the last three years, led by Pathways Home, the plan to create a more integrated homelessness services system based on individualized services and measurable goals. This plan has the core mission of breaking down barriers to moving people inside. As part of the effort to tailor services, the City launched the Navigation Team, will be opening a new Navigation Center, and is implementing the Bridging the Gap plan to address the immediate needs of 3,000 people living on our streets. More than $100 million has been budgeted for this work over two years.
How is this different from what the City is already doing around homelessness?
We are capitalizing on the EOC’s successful, proven unified structure that brings all players into the same room to coordinate efforts and ensure an efficient operation. This structure also has many resources in place that facilitate quick and clear coordination, communication and execution of duties. Using the EOC model, the City will tap into all of its resources to align our efforts around the current principles of Pathways Home, and to foster more innovative solutions to the homelessness crisis.
How is this different from a typical EOC activation (e.g., related to severe weather or other acts of nature, massive public events, etc.)?
While employing the EOC for the homelessness crisis is unconventional, aiding those living on our streets requires the kind of coordinated, citywide effort the EOC is designed to facilitate. This activation will be open-ended, as the City works to address this crisis from many angles, and will include daily check-ins with all representatives, followed by on the ground work to help people living on our streets.
Who is involved?
Like other events where the EOC is engaged, all City departments will have some role, whether leading specific programs or simply providing resources to the effort. City deparments already partner both internally and externally with stakeholder agencies and organizations, and social service, shelter and housing providers to help people living on our streets move inside. The EOC has been a successful model to coordinate with internal and external partners such as King County, Public Health, WSDOT, Washington State Patrol, the United Way of King County and other service providers.
What are the goals of this effort?
The City’s strategy, Pathways Home, is guiding all the work we do to move people into housing, which is our ultimate goal. With this in mind, the goals of the EOC activation include helping those living outdoors move into shelter as quickly as possible by developing an individual pathway to housing based on their needs. The activation will support the Navigation Team, which focuses on solutions for individuals, helping people living unsheltered move to safer alternatives and connect them with services to ensure their stability.
Additionally, the City will continue to focus on collecting trash on public property to reduce the associated public health hazards in unauthorized encampments and in the community. This work will be done based on the principles laid out in Bridging the Gap, which detailed that new protocols for encampment cleanups must ensure the civil rights of residents are respected.
Is the City still using the Pathways Home plan?
Yes. The City is focused on making the support system more efficient and effective to move people into housing as quickly as possible and offer individualized services. This plan is called Pathways Home and it includes six strategies that revamp the entire service delivery system. We are working with shelters to increase emergency shelter capacity and expanding access to those services. See www.seattle.gov/pathwayshome for more.
How long will the City be using the EOC?
The City is committed to helping people move indoors as quickly as possible. We will use the EOC as long as it is needed.
What is the cost?
City departments will utilize existing resources for this effort. It is not anticipated that new funds will be required for this coordination. However, Mayor Murray announced an effort to double the funding to address homelessness during his State of the City speech, to significantly accelerate and expand the City’s work under Pathways Home.
For more information on the City’s homelessness response, visit: http://seattle.gov/homelessness.
Mayor Ed Murray announced a series of new investments in education, based on recommendations that came from over a year of community engagement, aimed at addressing disparities between white students and African American/Black students and other historically underserved students of color. The City will raise revenue to provide on-going investments in enhancements to birth-to-five programs, before-and after-school opportunities, family engagement, addressing disproportionality in discipline, summer learning, school-based mentoring, and added college and career readiness programs. It also includes a significant one-time expansion of the 13th Year Promise Scholarship.
The on-going investments (two-year totals) include:
- Promoting Family Engagement and Collaboration – $2.7M
Expand opportunities that increase parents’ ability to support their child’s learning and increase educators’ ability to authentically engage parents. Add funds to schools for parent engagement activities and parent advocates.
- Enhancing Before and After School Opportunities – $35K (2018-19 School Year)
Increase wraparound programs that occur outside of regular school hours including STEM learning opportunities, partnerships with Seattle Parks and increasing funding to community based organizations.
- Expanding School-Based Mentoring – $581K
Match a caring adult with every child who is struggling to keep up with school requirements. Increasing funding for successful programs like My Brother’s Keeper to additional middle schools and ensure all students have the support they need to succeed.
- Reducing Disproportionality in Discipline – $1.5M
Build a positive school culture and support student social-emotional development. This will include coordinated parent, student and teacher outreach so that students having issues at schools can receive personalized case management. Funding will also be made available to train teachers and staff on how to reduce discipline disparities.
- Increasing Innovation School Investments – $3.8M
Develop a tiered approach to intervention with students who are performing below grade-level to equalize the playing field. This funding will expand the number of middle and high schools getting flexible funds—a model that asks the school to creatively meet the needs of their students. Programs can include: social/emotional support, college and career planning, experiential learning, more rigorous curricula and culturally relevant curricula.
- Growing Summer Learning Programs – $2M
Provide struggling students with additional academic time to catch up with their peers, free and nutritious meals, and high quality enrichment experiences. Programs funded could include cultural or gender specific programming for summer enrichment activities.
- Adding Workplace-Based Learning Programs – $2M
Foster post-secondary success and workplace preparedness by providing stipends for students to experience career opportunities.
- Supporting Educator Workforce Diversity – $841K
Create opportunities for instructional assistants to earn their teaching certificates. Funding will provide more support for diverse assistants to gain credentials needed to join the teaching corps, facilitating an easier pipeline process.
- Expanding Birth to 5 year Investments – $4M
Expanding programs to care for and prepare children with social and academic skills, setting them up for academic success in school.
- 13th Year Investment – $5M (one time investment)
The 13th Year Promise Scholarship provides scholarship and payment assistance – along with college readiness classes – to graduates from select Seattle Public High Schools for the first year attending any of the Seattle Colleges. The new funding will help create an endowment to help expand the program, managed by the Seattle Colleges.
Mayor Murray has also challenged the City to create strong relationships across all sectors – business philanthropy, higher education community based organization, parents, students and educators – so the vision of an equitable Seattle can be achieved. The City and Seattle Public Schools will be convening an education roundtable with community and business partners to knit together a shared public and private vision for ending the opportunity gap together.
To implement this action plan, Mayor Murray announced the partnership and financial contributions of key members of the philanthropic community, in addition to a measure to raise revenue. Contributors include:
- Seattle Foundation
- Casey Family Programs
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Raikes Foundation
- Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
In November, the City received recommendations from the Education Summit Advisory Group and began working to implement programs which will effectively address the achievement gap. The City is already working to address systemic inequity in 2017 by increasing summer learning programs to serve an additional 200 students including investing in culturally relevant programs, expanding My Brother’s Keeper to five additional middle schools and implementing the innovation school model in a high school. The Department of Education and Early Learning will work to dovetail the additional program investments announced today with ongoing work to end disparities in education.
These recommendations resulted from a community engagement process that heard from more than 2,000 community voices and culminated in the first citywide Education Summit in more than 25 years.
The City remains committed to working with our partners in Olympia to pass a statewide funding plan for basic education that ensures that all students, no matter their zip code or background, have equal opportunities for success.
Our Best is the City of Seattle’s first ever initiative focusing specifically on improving life outcomes for young Black men. The initiative represents a focused investment by Mayor Murray that aims to address the disproportionate impact of institutional racism on Black people, and particularly young Black men. Ensuring that all Seattle residents have access to opportunity requires focused approaches to dismantling racial disparities, removing barriers and transforming systems that have hurt our most marginalized communities. By investing in a staff position and structure around Our Best, Mayor Murray seeks to ensure the mission becomes embedded in our City’s DNA and becomes a lasting model.
Mayor Murray launched the Youth Opportunity Initiative to ensure that every young person in Seattle has access to opportunities and resources that allow them to transition successfully to adulthood.
Rooted in the key pillars of the Youth Opportunity Initiative, Our Best is an explicit commitment to programmatic and systems changes the ensure young Black men have access to opportunity. Specific goals include:
- Close opportunity gaps in Seattle Public Schools by increasing the percentage of black male high school graduates and postsecondary attainment.
- Advance economic mobility by increasing the number of Black males gaining access to and engaging in meaningful employment opportunities.
- Increase the percentage of young Black men experiencing good health.
- Reduce the percentage young Black men entering the criminal justice system.
- Close mentoring gaps for young Black men and boys by recruiting more Black men to service as mentors for young Black men.
Through the Youth Opportunity Initiative, the City has already invested in several strategies aimed at supporting young black men to be their best for themselves, their families and their community, including Career Bridge, the Zero Detention Program, My Brother’s Keeper and more.
With the launch of Our Best, the City is also committing to:
- A robust new mentoring recruiting and training campaign for black men. In Seattle, there are not enough black men mentors, leaving many mentor programs ill-equipped to support young black men in culturally responsive ways. Our goal with this new commitment of the Our Best program is to double the number of black men mentors.
- Convening the Our Best Advisory Council to advise the Mayor and City leaders on a long-term strategy to support young black male achievement.
- Creating a new Special Advisor to the Mayor focused on black male achievement to work full time across departments, with the Advisory Council and with the many community leaders who have already been working in this area.
Our Best is all of ours. And the fight for young black men is a fight for Seattle, and our region.
Aligned with the Race & Social Justice Initiative (RSJI), Our Best builds on the administration’s existing investments in and record of addressing life outcomes for young Black men and represents the culmination of a series of actions by Mayor Murray, including:
- Establishing a Youth Opportunity Cabinet which includes Dwayne Chapelle (Department of Education and Early Learning), Catherine Lester (Human Services Department) and Brian Surratt (Office of Economic Development) in 2016 to ensure coordination and alignment across the numerous City departments to maximize impact of City investments.
- Mayor Murray signing onto Cities United (2013), a collective of mayors across America who united to end violence in their cities.
- Mayor Murray signing onto President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative (2014), a national call to action for cities to address opportunity gaps faced by boys and men of color.
- The Mayor’s Youth Opportunity Summit (2015), an all-day convening with youth and young adults that specifically focused improving outcomes for young men of color.
- A series of community listening sessions with young Black men led by the Mayor’s Bloomberg-funded Innovation Team (I-Team).
To learn more about Our Best, visit: http://murray.seattle.gov/ourbest.