OLYMPIA – Chair of the House Higher Education Committee Rep. Drew Hansen (D-Bainbridge Island) secured funding for new college counselors and advisors for Bremerton High School and its feeder middle schools in the final 2015 supplemental budget announced today.
“We want to help students in Kitsap County go to college, and I’m very excited that our budget includes funding to bring the College Success Foundation’s college advising services to Bremerton High School and area middle schools,” Hansen said. “College advising has dramatically increased graduation and college enrollment rates in Tacoma, and we look forward to bringing the same results to Bremerton.”
The College Success Foundation provides students with the “inspiration, mentoring and financial support they need to navigate their individual path to college completion.” Their model utilizes an “integrated system of supports and scholarships to help students graduate from high school, complete college and succeed in life.”
“Over the past 10 years, Bremerton High School has made great gains such as increasing our on time graduation rate from 57% to approximately 80%. However, we have lagged behind state averages in regards to college going statistics,” noted Bremerton High School Principal John Polm. “With a solid academic core and many positive programs now in place, we are now making intentional steps to improve successful post-high school transition for all students.”
Less than ten years ago, Tacoma’s public schools were labeled as “dropout factories” by a national report with a dropout rate at 55 percent. With the help of the community, Tacoma embraced the College Success Foundation as a partner in the student support system. The graduation rates among students being served by College Success Foundation are now at 98 percent.
“The College Success Foundation is excited for the opportunity to bring our effective college readiness model to high schools in the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsula regions. Providing our support services, in collaboration with school districts, business and civic leaders, yields significant increases in high school graduation rates and college enrollment,” said Yolanda Watson Spiva, CEO and president of the College Success Foundation. “All Washington youth should graduate from high school college-ready and have an equal opportunity for a college education. We look forward to partnering with the Bremerton and surrounding area to empower student success.”
“Given a free and reduced lunch rate of 58% and a high percentage of students who aspire to be the first in their families to attend 2-year, technical and 4-year colleges, we have a great need for effective and systemic career and college readiness programs and supports,” said Chris Swanson, a career & college counselor at Bremerton High School. “We hold the College Success Foundation in high regard and are very excited about the possibility of partnering with CSF on a grant project to improve career and college services to our students and families. “
“This was my top priority in the budget this year,” said Hansen. “We want every kid in Bremerton to go to college, whether that’s a short-term welding certificate program at a community college or the computer science department at the University of Washington. This funding will help more of our Bremerton kids start thinking about college at an early age and making concrete plans for how to get there.”