Seattle Public Schools

Seattle Public Schools

The district prioritizes equitable access to rigorous curriculum and invests heavily in culturally responsive professional development.

State: Washington Number of Students: 53,423
School Type: Public School District  Free and Reduced Lunch: 36.0%
Grade Level: PK-12 English Language Learners: 12.7%

School Context

Funding: Seattle Public Schools received $694.9 million in a capital levy passed in 2013 called “Building Excellence IV.” About 92% of the funds will go towards capital

improvements, while 8% will go towards technology infrastructure such as expanding Wifi and replacing older devices. The Schools also recieved $40 million of Race to the Top Funds in 2012 to seven of the King County School Districts, including Seattle Public Schools.These funds will support preschool and early learning programs, STEM programs and Next Generation Science Standardsimplementation. Seattle Public Schools will use $1 million on 14 schools to support blended learning in math instruction. Thefunding will support hardware and software, such as ST Math.

The Two E’s: The district is particularly focused on both excellence and equity. This means it prioritizes equitable access torigorous curriculum, including providing access to early learning opportunities to all. It has also invested heavily in professionaldevelopment, alternative career ladders and teacher residency. Additionally, it prioritizes culturally responsive professionaldevelopment.

All Systems Go: Strengthening internal systems is a particular focus for the district. To do this, it is focusing on performancemanagement systems, which allow each department to develop Key Performance Indicators and align those to the district’sstrategic plan.

Engaged: The district aims to create a culture in all of its schools that is welcoming, supportive, safe and healthy. This meansmaintaining proactive and transparent communication with all stakeholders and building partnerships in the community.

State of Technology

Choose Your Own Device: Schools are given the power to determine whichtype of device they use to support their curriculum. The district is currentlygoing through a replacement cycle between 2011-2015. Between 2012-14, ithas deployed 9,000 new devices, making a 3.5:1 student to computer ratio ineach school.

Beyond Productivity: The district believes that while technology can be agreat productivity tool, its impact on learning this way is limited. To makebetter use of technology, the district aims for teachers to teach students howto make choices about the tools they use, and to use those tools to thinkcritically and solve problems. There are seven education technology coachesthat work across the district to support teachers.

Content and Collaboration: While technology can be a great learning tool,the district also hopes to leverage tools for collaboration and communicationsbetween teachers to aid in more robust professional learning communities.

Dream A Little DreamBox: The Seattle Public School district was an earlyuser of DreamBox. In 2011, 33 elementary schools across the district usedthe tool. West Seattle Elementary School reported notable results with theprogram, reporting 2.5 times more growth in four months of using theproduct than other math programs in their school.

Resistance Is Not Futile: In January 2013, Garfield High School lit a matchthat started a fire throughout the district. The 1,600 student high schoolrefused to administer the standardized Measure of Academic Progress exam.The exam was meant to be administered three times per year. Teachersfound the exams a waste of instructional time. With the support of theAmerican Federation of Teachers, Garfield High School’s testing boycott wassuccessful and expanded to other Seattle Schools. By May, SuperintendentJose Banda announced the district would no longer require MAP tests at thecity’s high schools.

One-to-One: Cleveland High School uses a one-to-one laptop model acrosstheir two academies. Both its design academy and health academy use toolsrelevant to their themes. Since implementing laptops five years ago, theschool went from one of the worst schools in the nation to one of the best.

P.E. Pad: Physical education teachers across the district use iPads to assessstudent health. This program has received a President’s award for the work.Neighborly Assistance: The district benefits in its proximity to Microsoftthrough the Teals Program. The Teals Program offers schools access toMicrosoft programmers who will come to the schools regularly to teachcomputer science classes. Through these classes, students learn the ins andouts of computer programming by working on projects.

Tech Needs & Requirements

Must be able to operate on Firefox Enterprise 31 or InternetExplorer. The district discourages software that operates on Chromebrowsers. Current needs are content management system that enables messaging and has a mobile application


Tech Plan: The district is currently working on creating a technology strategic plan that incorporates a vision for teaching andlearning.

*Content From 2014

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