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Washington Education Roundtable

Wa-Hi students and Superintendent Smith selected to participate in esteemed Education Roundtable sponsored by The Gates Foundation

Earlier this month Walla Walla High School senior Turner Van Slyke and sophomore Eva Maxwell traveled to Seattle, WA with Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith to attend a statewide Education Roundtable made possible thanks to a partnership between the Gates Foundation and The Scholar First. This was the first of several Education Roundtable sessions scheduled this school year to bring together a diverse group of over 40 individuals representing students, K-12 educational leaders, higher education and non-profit education partners. The workgroup’s focus is on highlighting national best practices that position more students for post-secondary success, particularly traditionally underserved students.

“I am so proud of Turner and Eva and look forward to our next session,” said Superintendent Smith. “They are but a handful of students from across the entire state who were invited to serve on this important workgroup, representing over 1.1 million K-12 students across Washington.”

For the 2023-24 school year, the Education Roundtable members will focus on the following goals:
• Creating a common definition of post-secondary success;
• Drafting indicators and strategies that align to the definition; and
• Routinizing strategies to share their work to influence both policy and practice.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation selected Dr. Tammy Campbell from The Scholar First to facilitate the work of the Education Roundtable. Campbell, who has worked with Superintendent Smith on various statewide committees and initiatives, appointed two Walla Walla students and Smith to serve on this important panel.

“Visiting the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was an incredibly impactful and transformative experience,” said Eva Maxwell. “Engaging in conversations with leaders and innovators from across Washington state opened my eyes to the diverse perspectives and innovative ideas driving academic and social progress in today’s society.”

Turner said it was clear that the educational leaders who attended the Gates Education Roundtable's first convening were committed to listening to him and his peers.

“We spent the day confronting educational challenges by digesting data, identifying socioeconomic inequities and barriers, and outlining our norms for future discussions,” said Turner Van Slyke. “Throughout, there was a clear emphasis on centering the student voice. In a world that often fails to address problems facing youth, it was exciting to be in courageous conversation with a receptive and forward-thinking group.”

Turner and Eva will be accompanying Superintendent Smith to Seattle in February for the next Roundtable discussion.

WALLA WALLA PUBLIC SCHOOLS • 364 South Park St. • Walla Walla, WA 99362 • Phone: 509-527-3000 • Fax: 509.529.7713

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