Pathways to Excellence

Pathways to Excellence: My School, Our Future
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What’s happening at the school down the road from you? Whether you have students in your family or not, the successes and shortcomings in our schools impact our society and the economy. We espouse equal opportunity, yet the educational experience and outcome for diverse economic and ethnic groups don’t reflect this ideal. Across Washington and throughout the nation, schools are working to overcome gaps in opportunity and achievement.

Honored with the Pathways to Excellence Award from Neah Bay to Toppenish, schools are trailblazing better learning for all, changing the outcome for even those most vulnerable. Students are taking ownership of their own learning through greater collaboration among teachers, a bolstering of school-family connections, adopting culturally relevant practices, and improving assessment and instruction.

Pathways to Excellence: Neah Bay Elementary Case Study

"In a state and nation that struggle to serve American Indian students, let alone students from low-income families, Neah Bay Elementary defies the odds."

Explore Neah Bay Elementary's story through an interactive essay and videos.

Read the case study


  • Neah Bay Elementary, Neah Bay          Watch on YouTube

    Something special is happening at Neah Bay Elementary, in the heart of the Makah Nation. Several years ago, the school embarked on a journey to increase the academic achievement of all its students, in all grades and in all subject areas. The staff’s efforts to support every student in meeting high academic expectations have led to incredible strides; Neah Bay Elementary students exceeded Washington state standards in five of the eight areas in which the state tested in spring 2012. READ MORE

    Read the case study

  • Toppenish High School, Toppenish         Watch on YouTube

    When it comes to helping historically under served students realize their potential, Toppenish High School is bucking state and national trends. Eighty-eight percent of the school’s students are Latino and 8 percent are American Indian. One hundred percent qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. While many schools and districts have not been able to create opportunities for success for Latino or American Indian students or those from low-income families, Toppenish High is helping all of its students excel, with a graduation rate of nearly 90 percent. READ MORE

  • Hudtloff Middle School, Lakewood         Watch on YouTube

    Oftentimes, accomplished schools do not meet the needs of historically underserved populations. Lakewood’s Hudtloff Middle School, on the other hand, has steadily fostered notable success for all its students. Maureen David, former principal of Hudtloff, credits a staff that has come together around a fundamental belief in the children’s abilities. High expectations backed by close, collaborative teaching and continuous review of student data mean great opportunities to excel for all, including the children from low-income families who make up 66 percent of the student body. “We don’t accept anything that wouldn’t be good enough for our own children,” explains David. “If you don’t expect the best from a student, regardless of their background, you are doing them a disservice.” READ MORE




Lincoln Center at Lincoln High School, Tacoma

How do you improve a struggling school? Lincoln Center demonstrates gains that both meet and challenge conventional notions of school reform, through this unique program model. Learn More



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