College Spark Washington Boosts Native Education at Antioch Seattle

College Spark Washington will provide two grants to Antioch University Seattle aimed at supporting Native American education throughout the state.

Antioch’s Center for Native Education received one of College Spark’s larger grants, $190,860 over two years to support the formation of a coalition that includes Antioch and six community colleges. Funding will be distributed among the following community college partners:

  • Everett Community College (Everett)
  • Olympic College (Shelton campus)
  • Olympic College (Bainbridge Island campus)
  • Skagit Valley College (Mount Vernon)
  • Spokane Falls Community College (Spokane)
  • Whatcom Community College (Bellingham)

Antioch’s First Peoples’ program at the Muckleshoot Tribal College in Auburn will receive a $36,000 grant to assist Native American students with their writing skills so they can pass the Washington Educator Skills Test-Basic (West-B) and Praxis exams required to become teachers. Sixty percent of Native American students enrolled in the First Peoples’ program failed the writing subtest of West-B. By comparison, only 5% of the predominantly Caucasian Seattle cohort failed the writing subtest. With the College Spark grant, Antioch hopes to further improve writing skills and test scores as well as graduation rates for Native Americans who seek undergraduate teacher certification.

College Spark announced a total of $1.4 million in grants in support of programs aimed at increasing educational opportunities and success for low-income students. Nearly 700,000 residents of Northwest Washington are living on incomes of roughly $40,000 annually for a family of four, according to U.S. Census data.

Christine McCabe, College Spark’s executive director, said, “It is our hope that our grant funds will help foster innovative strategies that substantially increase the percentage of low-income students graduating from college in Washington.”

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