The Southeast Seattle Education Coalition (SESEC) is a coalition of community based organizations, community activists, and other stakeholders who are working to improve schools in Southeast Seattle. The Steering Committee of the coalition comprises representatives of primarily ethnic-based organizations that work on a regular basis with children, parents and families who live in Southeast Seattle. Many member organizations provide afterschool and other enrichment activities, and interact on a daily basis with our local schools. We believe that in order for schools to succeed, all stakeholders—CBO’s, principals, teachers, the District, parents, students, and neighbors—must all work together.

We envision a world where all students have access to and succeed in high performing public schools and become productive and engaged citizens.

To rally communities of color and allies to improve Southeast Seattle Schools so that all students succeed and all families are empowered. We pursue this through our All Fives in Five Campaign: bringing all schools in Southeast Seattle up to level 5 status in 5 years.


  • Authentic engagement of communities of color, who must be leaders in this effort.
  • Collaboration between all stakeholders
  • A Strength-Based approach that recognizes the strengths of communities of color while addressing needs.


  • Advocate for policies and practices that advance our strategies;
  • Convene partners to break down barriers and pursue a common vision;
  • Build collaboration within the education community;
  • Share Information about education in SE Seattle;
  • Encourage communities of color to be actively engaged; and
  • Educate funders and the education community about engaging communities of color.

Census 2010 indicated that 98118, located in Southeast Seattle, is currently the most diverse zip-code in the US. This zip code is rich with cultures, languages, and ethnic community-based organizations. Despite Southeast Seattle’s many strengths, schools in Southeast Seattle historically and currently perform significantly worse than schools in other parts of the city. Seattle Public Schools District ranks schools from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest level of quality. This rank is based on a combination of academic performance, speed of improvement, and closing of the achievement gap. 2011 marked the first year that any Southeast Seattle school had a rank higher than 3 (Mercer Middle School and Maple Elementary became Level 5 schools). The Department of Education released a list in December 2011 of Washington State’s lowest-performing schools. There were five Seattle schools listed, and all five were located in Southeast Seattle. In addition, a recent survey of SPS District parents that 29% of parents in Southeast Seattle had an “unfavorable” or “very unfavorable” view of nearby schools.

Factors that may correlate with Southeast schools’ performance:

  • Highest number of low-income students in the school district with 71% of students in the SE district being eligible for free and reduced lunch (SPS District average: 42%)
  • Higher volume of immigrant and refugee families in SE Seattle who are adjusting to a new home, culture, and school culture.
  • Concentration of English Language Learners (ELL) and students of color who are typically outperformed by counterparts within the district in every level in every subject.
  • Few education advocacy efforts in SE Seattle that meaningfully engage communities of color.

MEETINGS: SESEC meets on the third Thursday of the month from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. at the Filipino Community Center located at 5740 MLK Jr. Way S., Seattle, WA 98118. To be part of this important movement, join the coalition now!