The University of Washington College of Education will deepen research-practice partnerships that are expanding access to high-quality educational opportunities for underserved students and communities in Washington state with a $1.7 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Over the next two years, the grant will build on the College’s extensive partnerships with more than 300 schools, districts, educational organizations and communities across the state and identify key areas of opportunity along the cradle-to-career education continuum.
Mia Tuan, dean of the UW College of Education, said that collaboration among education stakeholders is crucial to successfully addressing the opportunity gaps that disproportionately impact communities of color and low-income families and students.
“We all share the same goal—creating an educational system where every child can reach their full creative potential,” Tuan said. “We need educators, policymakers, community members and researchers working together to get there. This initiative provides much-needed space for us to dig into these sticky issues and explore solutions.”
The grant will support two prongs of this work over the next two years:
- Unite:Ed, a community-embedded design lab that convenes education practitioners and leaders, community organizations and research faculty to co-design and test solutions to problems of practice in early learning, K-12, and transitions to higher education and the workforce.
- Establish a pilot UW-community partnership hub in South Seattle that will provide teaching, co-working and meeting space designed to facilitate partnerships throughout the region.
During the first year of the grant, Unite:Ed will conduct a landscape study of Washington state’s assets and areas for opportunity, from birth through entry to the workforce. In addition, Unite:Ed will build upon the College's existing research-practice partnerships, especially in the Road Map Region (South Seattle and South King County).
Jenee Myers Twitchell, a research scientist and special advisor to the dean for postsecondary success and advancement, said Unite:Ed will help scale systems innovations and improvement strategies by tapping local practitioner and UW expertise in early learning, social emotional learning, teaching quality, parent engagement, leadership, STEM learning, race and equity, disability, postsecondary transition and success, workforce development, and more.
“This will be a community-driven effort,” Twitchell said. “This is a tremendous opportunity to empower the innovative spirit in our region to create more just educational systems.”
Jenee Myers Twitchell, Research Scientist and Special Advisor to the Dean
Dustin Wunderlich, Director of Marketing and Communications