This case study, written by FSG, focuses on the Road Map Project, a collective impact initiative focused on doubling the number of students on track to graduate with a postsecondary degree or credential in the urban South Seattle region by 2020, as well as to close achievement gaps. This case study provides collective impact backbone organizations, funders, and partners with an overview of the initiative and key lessons learned.
Initiative / backbone name: The Road Map Project / Community Center for Education Results
Year initiative formed: 2010
Mission: Double the number of students on track to graduate with a postsecondary degree or career credential by 2020, and close the achievement gaps
Geography: Seattle and South King County, WA
Impact area(s): Education
The Road Map Project seeks to double the number of students on track to graduate with a postsecondary degree or career credential in the South Seattle and South King County, Wash., region by 2020, as well as to close achievement gaps. It will do this by driving a dramatic improvement in student achievement from “cradle to career” in South Seattle and South King County. The project builds on the belief that collective effort is necessary to make large-scale change and has created a common goal and shared vision in order to facilitate coordinated action, both inside and outside schools.
At first glance, educational attainment in the Seattle metro region appears high – in 2010, 47% of adults over 25 in King County had a bachelor’s degree,2 compared to roughly 30% of the population nationally.3 However, those statistics – caused by the relocation of college graduates from other parts of the country and world to the region – masked serious problems for local students in disadvantaged areas. In fact, according to the Road Map Project’s baseline report “only one out of every four King County residents with a bachelor’s degree or higher was born” in the region.4 The entire Seattle region, but particularly South Seattle and South King County, faced unacceptable educational achievement gaps for low-income students and children of color, as well as low overall educational achievement rates. While data shows that 67% of jobs will require a college degree or credential by 2018, only 24% of children from the region and 10% of children of color, receive such a credential. Graduation rates needed to rise dramatically to ensure that students in the region will have the opportunity to obtain meaningful careers in the future.