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Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: Bellevue

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May 2, 2014 at 5:00 AM

‘All together now’: Eastside groups joining for Bellevue kids

The popular image of Bellevue is one of wealthy suburbanites whose children glide from plush public schools into elite universities. But the reality is a lot more complex.

Bellevue, the city, is slightly more diverse than Seattle, and in its schools nearly 30 percent of students speak a first language other than English. About 200 are homeless, and in some buildings, more than 67 percent of the children are low-income. Meanwhile, only 18 percent of Hispanic youth from Bellevue complete college.

These statistics stunned the late Bill Henningsgaard, a wealthy Microsoft executive whose shock became the driving force behind Eastside Pathways, a coalition of 46 groups determined to improve outcomes for all Bellevue kids.

In its broad-based, cradle-to-career approach, Eastside Pathways — which encompasses city officials, school district educators and nonprofit groups — resembles South King County’s Road Map Project. Both use data and cast a wide net, enlisting community groups to help boost results for low-income students.

But Road Map has a $40 million Race to the Top grant, and Eastside runs on a shoestring, with only three paid staffers pursuing a tight focus on Bellevue alone.

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Comments | Topics: Bellevue, Eastside Pathways