Breaking Down Education Barriers: Lessons from Immigrant Youth and Families in South King County

February 4, 2012
Research & Reports

As one of the largest immigrant rights organizations in Washington State, OneAmerica’s dedication to improving public education to promote equity for all students led to a partnership with the Road Map Project. The Road Map Project is a civic initiative aimed at driving major improvements in educational results—from cradle to college and career—in the low-income communities of South King County. The aim is to double the number of students in the region who are on track to graduate from college or earn a career credential by 2020. OneAmerica’s efforts within the Road Map Project are centered on closing the educational opportunity gap through increased integration of English Language Learner (ELL) students’ and family needs.

To meet this goal, OneAmerica gathered the educational experiences of 552 immigrant parents and students in seven South King County school districts (Auburn, Federal Way, Highline, Kent, Renton, South Seattle, and Tukwila). Through focus group discussions, one-on-one interviews, and survey questionnaires, data was collected in four education-related areas: school communication, family and student engagement, academic advancement, and early warning indicators. The findings informed recommendations for policy changes at the state, district, and community levels.