January 2022 newsletter: A new year, a new approach

Hello partners,

As I begin my first full year as director of the Washington State Initiative, I’m going to be real with you for a moment: I was hoping for a more optimistic start to 2022. But COVID-19 had other plans, and I want to first start by sending you love and hoping you and your loved ones remain safe.

My heart breaks for students like my 15-year-old son, along with teachers and fellow families who are navigating another round of disruptions right now. It’s been hard. While a lot of what is happening today in education is out of our control, like an unpredictable virus, we can control how we show up for students and teachers and support our state. I continue to hold onto optimism that when we emerge from this pandemic, we can unite behind a renewed investment in our students and their futures.

In the coming year, I’ll be working with my team and partners like you to map out the role the Gates Foundation can play in helping reach this goal. Our team is going through what we call a “strategy refresh” in 2022, which means we are asking questions about the best way to use our philanthropic dollars and partnerships to improve outcomes for every student in our home state – a topic all the more relevant in light of the ongoing pandemic and how it is impacting our communities.

While we will continue to focus on education using an equity lens, that’s about all we have set at this point. I look forward to conversations with you and others about our shared goals for Washington students – and what’s needed to reach them. Our internal team met last week to kick off the strategy development process. We expect to have a new, approved strategy later this fall, and it is my promise to hear your ideas and keep you informed as we embark on this journey.

Angela Jones
Washington State Initiative

What are your top education priorities?

top education priorities

You’ve probably spent some time reflecting on your hopes and dreams for the year, and we’d love to hear them. Please take a moment to tell us your top priorities for Washington state education this year. We look forward to reading your thoughts!

Partner Spotlight

school board recognition

This January, we are especially grateful for Washington’s 1,477 school board directors and the Washington State School Directors’ Association that exists to support them. These civic leaders wear many hats and are a critical part of Washington’s public education governance. Thank you for your service and your commitment to an education system that enables every child to achieve their full potential and feel empowered, safe, and supported!

What We’re Reading and Watching

Read next

January 2023 Newsletter: New year with a new strategy

You’re probably wondering: what’s next for our work? We’re figuring out the best way for the foundation to launch and support a learning network focused on postsecondary enrollment.

January 2021 Newsletter Our hopes for 2021

New years usually come with a sense of possibility, and a sense of hope. We made it to 2021, we flipped the calendar on the year, but not on the pandemic or the challenges put before us.