The 2022-2023 service year at College Possible Washington was full of change, innovation and our fair share of challenges. Our organization continues to adapt to the growing needs of the students we serve as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically the need for authentic mentorship with a focus on well-being. Our AmeriCorps coaches are the key to real-time support and guidance for students as they pursue their college dreams. Despite the national decline of college enrollment, we continue to center the importance of a college degree in unlocking career potential, leading to a choice-filled life with endless possibilities. At College Possible Washington, we believe in the strengths, motivations and talents of the students we serve, and will continue to walk alongside them throughout their six-year college journey.
Our small but mighty team of 13 AmeriCorps coaches worked diligently to support nine high schools in three school districts in Seattle, Renton and Federal Way. Our college success coaches supported college students attending over 133 universities and colleges across the country.
Some program highlights from this year include:
- Over 94% FAFSA completion (compared to 46% average completion rate in Washington state)
- Approximately $800,000 in scholarships and awards disbursed to College Possible Washington students
- The launch of a new school partnership at Renton High School.
- Scaling student support. Under the leadership of our program managers, this year’s AmeriCorps coaches served even more students than last year – helping more students in Seattle and King County get to and through College.
- Increased in-person student connection. Our program team worked to build more inclusive and in-person community spaces for our coaches, increasing a sense of belonging for the students being served at our site.
Our programming was supported by the tireless efforts of our development staff, as we explored new ways to engage our funder community and build more degree equity champions. We not only brought back in-person stewardship events but had three unique opportunities to build our community with College Possible supporters. We capped off our year by hosting a trivia night at Jellyfish Brewing which proved to be a hit amongst all and something we look to continue next year.
In a continued effort to support the holistic growth and professional development of our staff, we introduced a six-month race and equity learning series created by foundry10. The series explored topics that supported our commitment to becoming an anti-racist organization. The robust content and dialogue shared throughout the latter half of the school year provided an opportunity to analyze ourselves as individuals and the contributions of our organization at large. We are committed to continuing this work and expanding these opportunities to our AmeriCorps coaches next year.
The work we do year over year is driven by the dedication, talents and experiences of our diverse staff. This year, we placed focus on staff experience and capacity, building a staffing model that met the real-time needs of our community. We welcome four new team members this spring: operations manager, AmeriCorps recruitment and engagement manager, development associate, and success program manager. These new team members will be instrumental in our efforts to deepen our impact in the 2023–2024 school year. I have the biggest appreciation and admiration for staff who have been at our site the last few years, building consistency and care in our work as we navigated low staff ratios. I encourage you all to connect with and appreciate our staff members, as we continue to build in-person opportunities for community gathering next year!
As we build more College Possible Washington champions, we must recognize the impact of our board members. Our 11 board members were instrumental to the success of our fundraising efforts, as well as growing the awareness and understanding of our work in the larger King County community. We are proud that many of our board members have shared identities to the students we serve and therefore approach our work with a strengths-based and person-centered strategy. We look forward to all we continue to accomplish with our phenomenal board team.
Our 2023 theme of the year was “Level-Up,” and I believe we accomplished that in a variety of ways. Our increased impact with students was matched by the intentionality in our learning opportunities and our creative approach to fundraising. We look forward to leveling-up in 2024 and invite you all to continue to learn, support and invest in our mission and vision. Stay tuned for opportunities to connect with our organization next year. We look forward to building stronger relationships with all our College Possible Washington champions!