Eastside Pathways, a nonprofit focused on youth education, released a community report late last month to help shed light on how children and youth are doing in the community, according to a press release.
Founded in 2011, Eastside Pathways seeks to wear down opportunity gaps and inequities affecting youth. Partnered with 70 private, public and nonprofit organizations, the nonprofit aims to find new ways through collaboration to modify policies and common practices to create new and more efficient pathways for youth to successfully develop into adults.
According to the report, the partnerships have enabled the nonprofit to affect more than 100,000 youth on the Eastside. Collaborators include Hopelink, Allegro Pediatrics and the city of Bellevue, all of whom have worked to create a cross-sector operation impacting multiple school districts. Among them are Bellevue School District (BSD), which Eastside Pathways exclusively worked with until 2017, and the Lake Washington School District (LWSD).
“While the work has not been easy, our collective efforts throughout the journey have resulted in numerous rewards,” executive director Stephanie Cherrington said in a press release.
The community report, according to a press release, sought to answer questions related to kindergarten readiness and post-secondary degree completion. Also of concern was looking at the demographics constituting Eastside school districts.
The report — using data from the fall of 2018 — found that about 57 percent of children entering kindergarten are doing so with expected skills. Seventy-eight (78) percent are reading proficiently by third grade; 93 percent of youth graduated within the expected four-year time frame. About 61 percent of youth earned a postsecondary degree within the six years following high-school graduation.
As part of the report, Eastside Pathways looked at the demographics that make up the Bellevue and Lake Washington school districts. As of fall 2018, 43 percent of students were white. Thirty-five (35) percent were Asian, 11 percent Hispanic/Latinx, 8 percent identify as two or more races, 2.3 black or African-American, 0.2 percent Pacific Islander and 0.2 percent Native American. More than 100 languages were spoken by the students and families encompassing the Eastside districts.
In total, 565 students, or 1 percent of the total enrollment of the analyzed school districts, had experienced homelessness. About 13 percent came from low-income households.
The report observed student mental health on the Eastside. According to the report, 34 percent of 12th graders surveyed in Bellevue and 35 percent in Lake Washington reported “feeling so sad or hopeless for two weeks or more that they stopped doing their usual activities.” The report said this makes for a 40-percent increase from the results culled a decade ago.
“This is a warning sign for serious depression,” the report said.
One of the partners of Eastside Pathways, Youth Eastside Services (YES), has worked for more than five decades to provide mental-health, substance abuse and psychiatric services to youth in East King County. YES took on a leadership role in the Mental Health and Wellbeing Collaboration in conjunction with Eastside Pathways in 2016.
“The progress we’ve made has taken a significant amount of very active work, and that’s not going to change,” chief operating YES officer David Downing said in the report, adding, “In the end, though, in addition to helping us operate more efficiently it makes the services better and more accessible for these kids. There’s no question it’s the right thing to do.”
With the report finished, Eastside Pathways is now in the process of co-creating a strategic plan, which will see the nonprofit and its partner organizations establish new goals and strategies for the future.
“We’ve learned a lot from our norming and storming,” Bellevue School District’s Judy Buckmaster said in the report. “We have looked at governance, and we’ve looked at systems and structures. I think we’re poised now to do the work better than ever before.”
To view the full report, go online to https://bit.ly/2kFFFUW.