Skip to main content
King County logo

News

King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Helping teachers, staff and students transform schools so children and youth can thrive

Summary

Executive Constantine launched two new Best Starts for Kids initiatives that will provide a combined $1.46 million in funding to help schools and their partners better address the impacts of trauma and adversity and expand mental-health support in King County middle schools.

Story

Children holding signs saying resilient, successful and helpful

King County Executive Dow Constantine today launched two new Best Starts for Kids initiatives that will help schools and their partners better address the impacts of trauma, and promote resilience so that children and youth can bounce back after experiencing adversity.

The combined $1.46 million in funding will provide 98 partners in 14 school districts with tools and training to support children and young people through experiences of childhood trauma and adversity, and expand mental-health support in 56 King County middle schools.

“We are helping teachers, staff, and students transform local schools so that children and young people can thrive even if they have experienced trauma,” said Executive Constantine. “The partnerships we are creating with Best Starts for Kids help ensure students get the support they need wherever they are in the community.”

Best Starts for Kids logo

King County’s Best Starts for Kids levy will award $930,000 to nearly 100 organizations – including school districts, K-12 schools, early learning providers, and behavioral health providers – to create or strengthen environments that better support children and youth who have experienced trauma or adversity and build resilience in all children.

The goal is to create what are referred to as trauma-informed schools, where the faculty, staff, and students have the skills and tools needed to create environments where children facing unpredictable, ongoing stress or trauma in their lives feel safe. These environments build resilience so that all students are better able to bounce back when facing adversity. The approach extends beyond classrooms to include partner organizations, such as early-learning providers and parent groups, so students get the support they need wherever they are in the community.

It will also create and expand effective restorative justice programs that empower students and teachers to resolve conflict by collaborating rather than through traditional discipline, such as detention or suspension.

One example of a successful program that will be expanded is Seattle Public School’s Cleveland High School, which has reduced discipline referrals by teachers by 75 percent and decreased racial disproportionality in the disciplinary system. The high school will use the Best Starts for Kids funding to train 10 additional teachers and 10 students to lead restorative justice circles when conflicts arise, making the school’s effective approach to conflict resolution more sustainable.

Expanding access to effective mental-health support in schools

For students who need additional support to succeed, 56 King County middle schools in 13 school districts can now plan to expand a successful model for school-based mental health support with $530,000 in funding from Best Starts for Kids.

Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment, or SBIRT, is an innovative model that helps schools intervene early when substance abuse or mental health challenges interfere with a student’s ability to succeed.

Using motivational interviewing techniques, counselors work with students to identify their individual strengths to cope with stress and achieve their goals. If needed, counselors will refer students to additional services based on their unique needs, ranging from leadership development programs to chemical dependency treatment.

In 2014, King County was one of five sites selected to partner with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and Reclaiming Futures to pilot test the SBIRT model in five middle schools. Funding from Best Starts for Kids will bring the effective approach to scale, expanding it to 13 of King County’s 19 school districts. 

The initial funds will support training and technical assistance to create an SBIRT implementation plan. In early 2018, schools that complete a plan will be invited to apply for Best Starts for Kids funds to provide SBIRT services to students. Best Starts for Kids will use the model through a license agreement with Reclaiming Futures and Portland State University.

About Best Starts for Kids

A child and teacher playing with stuffed animals
Credit: Childhaven

Voters in 2015 approved a six-year levy proposed by Executive Constantine to fund Best Starts for Kids, an initiative to help put every baby born and every child raised in King County on a path toward lifelong success.

It invests in promotion, prevention, and early intervention strategies that promote healthier, more resilient children, youth, families and communities. It is considered the most comprehensive approach to early childhood development in the United States, starting with prenatal support, sustaining the gain through teenage years, and investing in safe, healthy communities that reinforce progress.

Trauma-Informed and Restorative Practice

Best Starts for Kids funding will support projects that will build knowledge and skills among staff, parents, and students themselves on the impact of childhood adversity or trauma; enhance supports for students provided by case managers, restorative justice coordinators, and other professionals; and support schools in using restorative justice practices.

School District Amount Age
Auburn School District Arthur Jacob Elementary School $9,780 Elementary
Auburn School District Auburn School District - Chinook Elementary project $10,000 Elementary
Auburn School District Auburn School District - District-wide project $10,000 Elementary
Auburn School District Chinook Elementary School $5,000 Elementary
Auburn School District Gildo Rey Elementary $9,836 Elementary
Auburn School District Lea Hill Elementary School $6,414 Elementary
Auburn School District Olympic Middle School $8,000 Middle
Auburn School District Rainier Middle School $10,000 Middle
Auburn School District Washington Elementary $10,000 Elementary
Auburn School District West Auburn High School $10,000 High
Bellevue School District Sea Mar Community Health Centers - Sherwood Forest Elementary, Sammamish High School, Lake Hills Elementary $8,000 Elementary & High
Bellevue School District Youth Eastside Services - Highland Middle School $7,500 Middle
Charter schools Seneca Family of Agencies - Excel Public Charter, Rainier Prep, Summit Atlas, Summit Sierra High School, Green Dot's Rainier Valley Leadership Academy $10,000 Middle & High
Charter schools Washington State Charter Schools Association $10,000 Middle & High
County wide, Multi-district, Regional Childhaven $9,972 Early learning
County wide, Multi-district, Regional Crisis Clinic $10,000 Middle & High
County wide, Multi-district, Regional Powerful Voices $10,000 Middle & High
County wide, Multi-district, Regional Treehouse $10,000 Middle & High
County wide, Multi-district, Regional Washington Autism Alliance & Advocacy $9,200 Elementary, middle, high
County wide, Multi-district, Regional Wellspring Family Services - Professional development project $10,000 Early learning
County wide, Multi-district, Regional Alternative Counseling One LLC - Kent Phoenix Academy, Meeker Middle School & South Lake High School $10,000 High
County wide, Multi-district, Regional Snoqualmie Valley Community Network - Carnation Elementary, Opstad Elementary $9,050 Elementary
County wide, Multi-district, Regional National Center for Restorative Justice - Seattle & Highline School District $8,290 High
County wide, Multi-district, Regional Southwest Youth & Family Services - Seattle & Highline School District $10,000 High
County wide, Multi-district, Regional Upower - Interagency Academy, Summit Sierra, Choice Academy, Big Picture High School $2,000 High
County wide, Multi-district, Regional Wellspring Family Services - Consultation & training project $10,000 Early learning
County wide, Multi-district, Regional South King County Discipline Coalition - South King County $10,000 District
County wide, Multi-district, Regional United Indians of All Tribes Foundation $10,000 Early learning
County wide, Multi-district, Regional Vine Maple Place - Southwest King County $10,000 Elementary, middle, high
Enumclaw School District Byron Kibler Elementary School $10,000 Elementary
Enumclaw School District Enumclaw School District Birth to Five Center $10,000 Early learning
Federal Way School District Illahee Middle School, Federal Way Public Schools, Communities in Schools Federal Way $10,000 Middle
Federal Way School District Kilo Middle School, Federal Way Public Schools, Communities in Schools Federal Way $10,000 Middle
Federal Way School District Lakota Middle School, Federal Way Public Schools, Communities in Schools Federal Way $10,000 Middle
Federal Way School District Sacajawea Middle School $10,000 Middle
Federal Way School District Sacajawea Middle School, Federal Way Public Schools, Communities in Schools Federal Way $10,000 Middle
Federal Way School District Saghalie Middle School, Federal Way Public Schools, Communities in Schools Federal Way $10,000 Middle
Federal Way School District Sequoyah Middle School, Federal Way Public Schools, Communities in Schools Federal Way $10,000 Middle
Federal Way School District Totem Middle School, Federal Way Public Schools, Communities in Schools Federal Way $10,000 Middle
Highline School District Balance in Breath, LLC - Highline School District $10,000 High
Highline School District Briana Herman-Brand (private consultant) - Highline High School $10,000 High
Highline School District Evergreen High School $10,000 High
Highline School District Highline High School $10,000 High
Highline School District Marvista Elementary School $5,000 Elementary
Highline School District Mt. Rainier High School $10,000 High
Highline School District Puentes: Advocacy, Counseling, & Education - Highline High School $10,000 High
Highline School District Seahurst Elementary School $7,800 Elementary
Highline School District Sound Discipline - Beverly Park Elementary $6,500 Elementary
Highline School District Sound Mental Health, Waskowitz Environmental Leadership & Service/Puget Sound High & CHILL Foundation $10,000 High
Kent School District Cedar Heights Middle School $10,000 Middle
Kent School District Coalition for Refugees from Burma - Kent Meridian High School $9,986 High
Kent School District Emerald Park Elementary School $8,380 Elementary
Kent School District Kent Youth & Family Services, Kent Pheonix Academy and Puget Sound Educational Service District $10,000 High
Kent School District Mattson Middle School $10,000 Middle
Kent School District Meeker Middle School $10,000 Middle
Kent School District Meridian Middle School $10,000 Middle
Kent School District Northwood Middle School $10,000 Middle
Kent School District Restore, Assemble, Produce (RAP) - Mill Creek Middle School $10,000 Middle
Kent School District Scenic Hill School $10,000 Elementary
Kent School District Kent Valley Early Learning Center $10,000 Early learning
Kent School District Kent Youth & Family Services $10,000 Early learning
Pending partner school selection Domestic Abuse Women’s Network (DAWN) $10,000 High
Pending partner school selection Parent Trust for Washington Children $10,000 High
Pending partner school selection Street Yoga $10,000 Elementary & High
Renton School District Cascade Elementary School $10,000 Elementary
Renton School District Communities In School of Renton - Dimmit Middle School $9,985 Middle
Renton School District King County Sexual Assault Resource Center $10,000 Elementary & Middle
Renton School District Nelsen Middle School $10,000 Middle
Renton School District Sound Discipline - Dimmit Middle School $10,000 Middle
Renton School District Urban Family Center - Skyway/Creston Point $10,000 Elementary, middle, high
Seattle Public Schools Art with Heart $10,000 Elementary
Seattle Public Schools Arts Corps - Hawthorne Elementary $10,000 Elementary
Seattle Public Schools City Year Seattle/King County $10,000 Elementary
Seattle Public Schools Cleveland High School $10,000 High
Seattle Public Schools Families of Color Seattle - Beacon Hill International $10,000 Elementary
Seattle Public Schools Leschi Elementary School $10,000 Elementary
Seattle Public Schools Lowell Elementary $10,000 Elementary
Seattle Public Schools Middle College High School of Social Justice $10,000 High
Seattle Public Schools Na’ah Illahee Fund $10,000 Middle & High
Seattle Public Schools Northgate Boys & Girls Club $7,000 Elementary
Seattle Public Schools Olympic Hills Boys & Girls Club $8,000 Elementary
Seattle Public Schools Rainier Beach High School $8,170 High
Seattle Public Schools Refugee Women's Alliance (ReWA) - Seattle World School $10,000 High
Seattle Public Schools Seneca Family of Agencies - Emerson Elementary $10,000 Elementary
Seattle Public Schools Seneca Family of Agencies - Southshore K-8 $10,000 Elementary & Middle
Seattle Public Schools Somali Health Board - Wing Luke & Van Asselt Elementary $10,000 Elementary
Seattle Public Schools Therapeutic Health Services -South Shore K-8 $10,000 Elementary & Middle
Seattle Public Schools Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle - Cleveland High School $10,000 High
Seattle Public Schools Life Enrichment Group $10,000 High
Seattle Public Schools South Lake High School $10,000 High
Shoreline School District Kellogg Middle School - Shorecrest High School $10,000 Middle
Snoqualmie School District Encompass Northwest $10,000 Early learning & elementary
Snoqualmie School District Snoqualmie Valley School District and Sound Mental Health - Two Rivers School $10,000 High
Snoqualmie School District Snoqualmie Valley School District and Sound Mental Health - Mount Si High School $10,000 High
Tahoma School District Tahoma School District #409 $9,956 DIstrict
Tukwila School District Dispute Resolution Center of King County - Showalter Middle School $10,000 Middle
Vashon School District Journeymen Institute $10,000 District
Vashon School District Vashon Island School District $10,000 District

Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment or Services

Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment and Services (SBIRT) is an innovative model to help schools intervene early when substance use or mental health concerns may interfere with a student’s ability to succeed. These initial funds will support training and technical assistance for King County middle schools to create an SBIRT implementation plan. In early 2018, schools that complete a plan will be invited to apply for Best Starts for Kids funds to provide SBIRT services to students.

School District
Seattle Public Schools Jane Addams Middle School
Seattle Public Schools Madison Middle School
Seattle Public Schools Whitman Middle School
Snoqualmie Valley School District Chief Kanim Middle School
Snoqualmie Valley School District Twin Falls Middle School
Tahoma School District Maple View Middle School
Tahoma School District Summit Trail Middle School
Federal Way School District Illahee Middle School
Federal Way School District Kilo Middle School
Federal Way School District Lakota Middle School
Federal Way School District Sacajawea Middle School
Federal Way School District Saghalie Middle School
Federal Way School District Sequoyah Middle School
Federal Way School District Totem Middle School
Kent School District Cedar Heights Middle School
Kent School District Mattson Middle School
Kent School District Meeker Middle School
Kent School District Meridian Middle School
Kent School District Mill Creek Middle School
Kent School District Northwood Middle School
Tukwila School District Showalter Middle School
Bellevue School District Big Picture Middle School
Bellevue School District Chinook Middle School
Bellevue School District Highland Middle School
Bellevue School District International Middle School
Bellevue School District Odle Middle School
Bellevue School District Tillicum Middle School
Bellevue School District Tyee Middle School
Skykomish School District Skykomish Middle School
Auburn School District Cascade Middle School
Auburn School District Mount Baker Middle School
Auburn School District Olympic Middle School
Auburn School District Rainer Middle School
Vashon School District McMurray Middle School
Highline School District Cascade Middle School
Highline School District Pacific Middle School
Highline School District Sylvester Middle School
Northshore School District Canyon Park Middle School
Northshore School District Kenmore Middle School
Northshore School District Leota Middle School
Northshore School District Northshore Middle School
Northshore School District Skyview Middle School
Northshore School District Timbercrest Middle School
Lake Washington School District Emerson K-12
Lake Washington School District Environmental & Adventure Middle School
Lake Washington School District Evergreen Middle School
Lake Washington School District Finn Hill Middle School
Lake Washington School District Inglewood Middle School
Lake Washington School District International Community Middle School
Lake Washington School District Kamiakin Middle School
Lake Washington School District Kirkland Middle School
Lake Washington School District Northstar Middle School
Lake Washington School District Renaissance Middle School
Lake Washington School District Redmond Middle School
Lake Washington School District Rose Hill Middle School
Lake Washington School District Stella Schola Middle School

Relevant links


Quotes

We are helping teachers, staff, and students transform local schools so that children and young people can thrive even if they have experienced trauma. The partnerships we are creating with Best Starts for Kids help ensure students get the support they need wherever they are in the community.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

Building resilience in our children, families, and communities is critical to ensuring that all people in King County can achieve their full potential. Trauma-informed and restorative practices can provide the framework for schools, families, and community partners to collaborate to ensure that children and young people have the support they need to thrive.

Dr. Hye-Kyung Kang, Best Starts for Kids Children and Youth Advisory Board

As a district, we are so excited Washington Elementary was awarded this Best Starts for Kids Grant!  The opportunities created for students and families will complement the focus of caring, compassionate, and connected teachers who will do all in their power to ensure their students thrive this year and in their future!

Rhonda Larson, Assistant Superintendent, Family Engagement and Student Success at Auburn School District

The most important work we have in schools is to ensure scholars supported so they can learn at the highest levels. It is essential that school staff, teachers, and families are equipped to support young people who have experienced trauma, resolve conflict collaboratively, and heal.  These awards will build on our work to bring staff, students, and communities together to build a positive school environment that supports all students in achieving their full potential.

Dr. Tammy Campbell, Superintendent of Federal Way Public Schools

For more information, contact:

Chad Lewis, Executive Office, 206-263-1250


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography