Bellevue school district awarded $855,000 for homeless students

The Bellevue School District was recently awarded $855,000 as a part of the Best Starts for Kids program.
Christina Wilner, the communications manager for the Bellevue School District, explained the situation better, saying, “In partnership with Boys & Girls Club of Bellevue, City of Bellevue Parks & Community Services, KidsQuest Children’s Museum and the YMCA, the Bellevue School District was awarded a grant for $855,000 to be paid out over a three-year period. The purpose of the grant is to provide after school and all summer programming for many of our elementary and middle school students experiencing homelessness. Sixty-five students will be served in the first year, 80 in the second, and 100 students served in the third year. Students will be served at Boys & Girls Club and BSD Early Learning Program sites. The grant includes funding to provide training to all student-service staff on Literacy Strategies, Social Emotional Learning, Equity, TIPS (Trauma Informed Practices), as well as the McKinney-Vento Act and related support strategies. In addition, the grant covers STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) lessons and materials that will be delivered by KidsQuest Museum staff at sites monthly, one week of specialty camp provided for each student by Bellevue Parks and Community Services, lunch delivery to students in the summer, snacks, libraries at summer sites, year-long memberships to the YMCA and KidsQuest Children’s Museum for students and their families, and a limited number of Orca cards for transportation. While the grant award is for $855,000, over $2.5 million in programming will be provided thanks to in-kind contributions made by the community partners included in the grant.” Homelessness for students is more common than one would think, as well. In the Bellevue School District alone, there are 217 students who are homeless this year, and last year there were 257 homeless students recorded. Including choice schools and schools currently under construction, the Bellevue School District has 18 elementary schools, seven middle schools, and four high schools.
“This grant aligns with the philosophy of Bellevue as we work toward practicing equity and inclusion on behalf of all students. The types of support and programming students need vary as students themselves are wonderfully unique. The purpose of this grant is to provide reliable and enriching wrap-around programming for students experiencing homelessness,” said Wilner.