Culturally Specific & Responsive Investments

Investment Summary 

DEEL's Culturally Specific and Responsive (CSR) investments focus on expanding access to high-quality service and supports that increase positive identity development, academic knowledge, and social-emotional learning for Black/African American males and other historically underserved students.

Key elements within the CSR strategy include:  

  • Culturally Specific Programming: Investments aimed at offering school-based programming that reflect racial and cultural diversity within the community and incorporate students' culture, history, language, and socialization into core pedagogy, curricular materials, and academic learning and enrichment activities 
  • Mentoring: Investments aimed at providing promising, evidence-based and leading high-quality mentoring and healing-centered approaches to promote positive identity development and college and career readiness 
  • Educator Diversity: Investments aimed at increasing the number of linguistically, racially, and culturally diverse educators. 

362 Kings

Black male youth served in Kingmakers of Seattle between 2017 and spring 2021

100+ Educators of Color

Educators engaged in FEPP Levy-supported Educator Diversity pathways

$11 Million

Proposed FEPP Levy investments in CSR programming through 2026

Investment Details

Culturally Specific and Responsive (CSR) investments are directed towards Seattle Public Schools and partnerships with community-based organizations and national leaders in the areas of culturally specific programming, mentoring, and educator diversity.  

CSR investments intentionally interrupt the status quo in educational and governmental systems, which historically have not been designed to encourage the advancement and nurturing of young people of color, to ensure that students of color, especially Black male youth, are provided with services and supports that foster positive identity development, cultural pride, and a sense of possibility and opportunity.

Race and ethnicity, culture, language, and gender are infused into programming to build academic mindsets and promote college and career readiness. The CSR investments align with the City of Seattle's Our Best initiative and recommendations from the Our Best Advisory Council from June 2018. Our Best is an explicit commitment to racial equity by the City of Seattle to improve life outcomes for young Black men and boys through systems-level changes, policy leadership, and strategic investments.

Specific examples of CSR investments include:

Kingmakers of Seattle 

Beginning in the 2021-2022 school year, six SPS schools are offering Kingmakers of Seattle, a program for Black male middle and high school students, referred to as Kings, taught by Black male facilitators. This program supports positive identity development as well as the cultural, social, and emotional needs of Black youth.

Kingmakers of Seattle was initially implemented in four pilot schools beginning in 2017. Schools now offering Kingmakers of Seattle programming areinclude Interagency Academy, Aki Kurose Middle School, Asa Mercer Middle School, Denny International Middle School, and the two newest additions for 21-22SY, Franklin and Cleveland STEM High Schools. 

Educator Diversity

With support from CSR investments, Seattle Public Schools is prioritizing the recruitment and retention of a culturally responsive workforce. Educators of color participate in educator diversity initiatives along the pathway to earning or expanding teaching credentials. DEEL partners with Seattle Public Schools, Seattle University, and the University of Washington to provide outreach and recruitment ​for multiple degree pathways, tuition assistance​, culturally responsive mentorship and student supports that promote retention and persistence​, and professional development opportunities for pathway program participants and SPS personnel. Pathways intersect to support educator access to AA attainment, Bachelor degrees and teaching certification, and Masters degrees, and include the Academy for Rising Educators (AA), Class to Cert (BA + certification), and Seattle Teacher Residency (MA).

Key Partnerships for Culturally Responsive and Specific Programming 

DEEL partners with Seattle Public Schools' Department of African American Male Achievement (AAMA), founded in 2019, to provide the Kingmakers of Seattle program, which focuses on improved outcomes for Black male students and is informed by an ongoing partnership with Kingmakers of Oakland (KoO), whose model serves as the basis for the KoS program. Program implementation relies on financial contributions from both the FEPP Levy through DEEL and Seattle Public Schools (SPS). 

AAMAKingmakers of Oakland  

Academy for Creating Excellence (ACE) FAME Program: In August 2020, Mayor Durkan announced a $1 million investment in youth mentorship and educator diversity programming in partnership with the Academy for Creating Excellence (ACE) and their F.A.M.E. (Family, Academics, Motivation, and Environment) program.  FAME takes a multigenerational youth-development approach to engage 9th and 11th grade Black male students, Black educators, community volunteers, and parents through a series of program components designed for different audiences.

Partner Spotlight

"Without a program like Kingmakers available to them, many Black male students feel excluded from the school system, and as a result, too many live short of their full potential. I've had Kings share with me that they don't know where they would be if I hadn't come into their lives and begun to teach them their worth. This fuels my purpose as an educator." -- LaVell Walton, Kingmakers of Seattle Facilitator, Denny Middle School

LaVell Walton, Kingmakers of Seattle Facilitator, Denny Middle School

Kingmakers Facilitator LaVell Walton at Denny MS