Northwest Educational Service District in Anacortes receives Early Math Grant from Washington STEM

For Immediate Release: January 26, 2017 - To support a smoother transition for students from preschool to kindergarten with an emphasis in mathematics, the Northwest Educational Service District 189 (NWESD) in Anacortes has received a $28,288 Early Math Grant from Washington STEM.

“Math has persistently been the area that children enter kindergarten the least prepared, across the state and here in our own region,” said Larry Francois, NWESD Superintendent. “We know that children who start school behind will often stay behind. Children are natural mathematicians but we aren’t all on the same page yet about what that looks like for school readiness. We are excited for this opportunity to engage with local preschool and kindergarten teachers around this important topic.”

NWESD serves 35 public school districts and several private schools in Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom counties. These school districts serve 170,000 students. NWESD was the recipient of one of six Washington STEM grants.

“These grants will be used to provide the earliest of learners with high-quality, high-impact math education,” said Patrick D’Amelio, CEO of Washington STEM. “These grants represent a holistic effort to improve systems, refine and amplify best practices, and develop new and innovative approaches to early math.”                                                                                                                                 

The grant to NWESD adds an important component in efforts to support the development of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills in the region, according to Michelle Judson, Skagit STEM Network Director.

“This grant builds on the NWESD’s successful initiative to promote early literacy and will equip PreK and K teachers with resources to build mathematical thinking and assess student progress,” Judson said. “Under the leadership of Karma Hugo at the NWESD, this project will bring together communities and organizations such as the Children’s Council of Skagit County, Northwest Early Learning, PreK-K Collaborative Network, Child Care Aware of Northwest Washington and the Association of Educational Service Districts.”

The Skagit STEM Network serves as a clearing house for STEM supportive activities to plug into and more effectively leverage efforts across Skagit County.   

About the NWESD Grant

NWESD will bring preschool and kindergarten teachers together for professional learning focused on developing common strategies to identify where learners are and how to support their growth in order to create a smoother transition for students from preschool to kindergarten with an emphasis in mathematics. They will also strengthen the math component of the PreK-K Transition Report, a report provided by preschool teachers to kindergarten teachers in the summer to help them better support their incoming kindergarteners.

Recipients of the Early Math Grants include: NWESD, Puget Sound ESD on behalf of the Association of ESDs, Zeno, ESD 112, Ready! for Kindergarten, and University of Washington Bothell School of Educational Studies.

All Washington STEM funded projects will also focus on equity by producing high-quality resources and service models designed with direct feedback from the communities they aim to serve - those who are furthest from opportunity. Some projects will build upon existing structures within the public education system to strengthen math experiences for children from preschool through third grade, while others will leverage community partnerships to engage families, caregivers, and community-based preschools to create meaningful connections with math in their everyday lives.

The resources and models developed through each of the funded projects will be available for broader use by summer of 2018. 

For further information about the grants, visit

About Northwest Educational Service District

Northwest Educational Service District's area includes 35 public school districts and several private schools in Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom counties. The school districts in our region serve 170,000 students with varying languages, special needs, and learning styles. Our staff of administrators, educators, and support personnel work to provide quality professional development opportunities and student programs, while providing administrative support and technical assistance to local school districts. For further informant, visit

About Washington STEM

Washington STEM is a statewide nonprofit advancing excellence, equity, and innovation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. For more information, go to

About Skagit STEM Network

The Skagit STEM Network serves as a clearing house for STEM supportive activities to plug into and more effectively leverage efforts across Skagit County.    The Network will focus long term on preparing future generation for economic success and create greater connections between Skagit Valley Students and local industry.  For more information, go to

For more information contact: Jana Hanson | |




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