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Road Map Project Awards Program


Thank You!

Picture-Link-for-AwardsThank you to everyone who participated in the 2014 Road Map Project Awards Program! This inaugural program culminated on March 4, 2014, with a ceremony to celebrate the great work happening in South King County and South Seattle to advance equity and eliminate opportunity gaps for students. The event, held at the Museum of Flight, put a spotlight on the Awards Program’s 21 finalists, which were selected from a pool of more than 60 nominations. This diverse group of finalists included partnerships, programs and initiatives that are getting excellent results, using data well for improvement purposes and collaborating to get more powerful results for students.

A panel of 15 judges, comprised of local and national experts, assisted in determining recipients for two Collective Impact Awards for overall excellence and seven Special Recognition Awards.

The goal of the Road Map Project Awards Program is to advance equity and eliminate opportunity gaps by recognizing amazing efforts and encouraging the spread of that success across the region. Please join us in congratulating the finalists and awardees!


Collective Impact and Special Recognition Awardees

Details on the awardees’ work can be found below in the “The Finalists” section. If you are a member of the media and interested in connecting with an awardee or finalist, please contact Kristin Johnson-Waggoner at kjohnson@ccedresults.org.

Collective Impact Awards

  •  “Building a system to close gaps and support young learners” – Auburn School District and Partners
  •  World Language Credit Program: “Building a system for crediting bilingual high school students” – School District Partners and Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

Special Recognition Awards

  • Parent-Child Home Program: “Visiting hard-to-reach families at home to help 2-4 year olds get off to a good start” – United Way of King County and Partners
  • Seattle Early Education Collaborative: “Working to ensure success in kindergarten” – Early Learning Partners and City of Seattle
  • Parent Academy for Student Achievement: “Empowering parents to navigate school systems and influence student success” – Kent School District
  • Diplomas Now: “Creating a school-community partnership to benefit middle school students”  – City Year Seattle, Johns Hopkins University, Communities in Schools of Seattle, Aki Kurose Middle School
  • “Building a system of authentic family engagement” – Federal Way Public Schools
  • “Creating opportunity by accelerating academics and removing barriers to college” – Federal Way Public Schools
  • “Making college admission and graduation possible” – College Access Now and School Partners

The Finalists

Parent-Child Home Program: “Visiting hard-to-reach families at home to help 2-4 year olds get off to a good start” United Way of King County and Partners

With the help of many partner organizations, the United Way of King County is helping children prepare for school by providing support where it matters most: in family homes. The Parent-Child Home Program tries to reach isolated, low-income families in our region, and is designed to boost early literacy and school readiness. The program is an evidence-based intervention.

Since the United Way took on the program in 2010, the number of families served has expanded annually from 160 to more than 1,000 in 2013. During the twice weekly, half-hour visits, the home visitor brings a carefully selected book or educational toy as a gift to the family and shows the adults how play can help children learn. The home visit success depends on the partnering community-based organizations, whose staff members conduct the home visits, bringing their community-specific cultural and language expertise.

United Way of King County works with an external evaluator to monitor the program’s impact. According to a 2013 evaluation that included pre- and post-test data, parents who participated in the Parent-Child Home Program showed increases in a variety of positive behaviors with their children. The children also demonstrated positive behaviors, including increased pre-literacy skills.

Primary contact: Karen Howell-Clark, KHowellClark@uwkc.org – United Way of King County

Seattle Early Education Collaborative: “Working to ensure success in kindergarten” Early Learning Partners and City of Seattle

Early learning providers in Seattle are making a difference for children by leveraging funding and sharing resources to help all young students enter kindergarten with the skills they need to be successful. In addition to providing professional development opportunities and kindergarten transition services, Seattle Early Education Collaborative (SEEC) members organize data-training institutes for early learning providers to help them use data to improve instruction and support for children.

SEEC, which began in 2006, is made up of Head Start/Early Head Start, the state-funded Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program, the Families and Education Levy-funded Step Ahead preschools and the city-funded Comprehensive Child Care Program.

SEEC members serve about 3,500 young children more than half of the city’s low-income children. SEEC’s efforts contribute to recent good news about our youngest students. Over the last seven years, the number of students entering kindergarten prepared to be successful has trended up. Also, more families are making a smooth transition to kindergarten well connected to the school, and ready to support their children’s education.

Primary contact: Sonja Griffin, sonja.griffin@seattle.gov – City of Seattle – Office for Education

“Building a system to close gaps and support young learners” Auburn School District and Partners

In response to major demographic shifts, the Auburn School District and partner organizations have developed a strong system to help eliminate the opportunity gap in the earliest grades, especially for low-income and English language learner (ELL) students. This approach, which kicked off in the 2008-09 school year, focuses on using data, better supporting teachers and strengthening alignment from pre-kindergarten to 5th grade.

To support the youngest students, the district works with their community early learning providers to provide them professional development in reading and math instruction. In addition, they share research-based teaching materials. In the primary grades, a mentoring system is encouraging data-driven decision-making and strengthening educators’ skills in reading, math and science instruction.

These efforts are enhanced by a strong culture of teachers (pre-kindergarten and K-12) and district staff members working as a team to ensure all students are successful. The results of this work are apparent: The district’s student-level trend data are showing a narrowing opportunity gap in 3rd grade reading for low-income students and ELL students.

Primary contact: Heidi Harris, hharris@auburn.wednet.edu – Auburn School District

Parent Academy for Student Achievement: “Empowering parents to navigate school systems and influence student success” Kent School District

The Kent School District is incorporating authentic relationship building and cutting-edge data analysis in its parent engagement efforts through the Parent Academy for Student Achievement (PASA). Launched in the 2012-13 school year, the nine-week course trains parents on parent-school collaboration and parent-student communication, how to stay involved in students’ learning and how to encourage students to reach their full potential. PASA recruits parents from the community and trains them to facilitate language-based workshops. In its pilot year, PASA graduated 165 parents and hopes to graduate more than 500 in 2014, with a goal of 100% district participation by 2017-18.

PASA’s use of data makes it different from many other parent engagement efforts. Each student in the district is given a unique code, which allows administrators to keep connected to the student throughout his or her education using a variety of metrics, including grades, attendance, college acceptance and more. Staffers can easily analyze the data and track students whose parents are PASA graduates. While PASA is still too young to identify firm conclusions and impacts, the program is committed to utilizing data to improve its approach to authentic parent engagement and measuring impact and effectiveness over time.

Primary contact: Melanie Strey, melanie.strey@kent.k12.wa.us – Kent School District

“Delivering ambitious STEM professional development” University of Washington College of Education, Washington STEM and School District Partners

Our region’s economy is increasingly driven by science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) employers, and preparing students for these fields is the focus of work by the University of Washington’s College of Education, Washington STEM and school districts.

This partnership is delivering a professional development curriculum that is real-time, driven by data and highly impactful. The curriculum has improved results at schools throughout the region, including Campbell Hill Elementary and Lakeridge Elementary in the Renton School District, and Cascade Middle School, Chinook Middle School and Evergreen High School in the Highline Public Schools district. At schools with more than 80% low-income students, the results have been impressive. At Lakeridge Elementary, 3rd grade math scores increased 28% in one year when the learning model was put to work. Evergreen High School saw end-of-course biology scores increase an average of 27% from 2012 to 2013.

Primary contact: Dr. Elham Kazemi, ekazemi@uw.edu – University of Washington – College of Education

Dr. Jessica Thompson, jjthomps@u.washington.edu – University of Washington – College of Education

“Strengthening instruction for English language learners” Heritage University and School District Partners

An English language learner (ELL) endorsement program developed in eastern Washington trains local teachers to better help non-English speaking students learn. Heritage University, based in Toppenish, created a researched-based curriculum for teachers to earn an ELL endorsement, which provides an entirely new theory and methodology on ELL instruction. Almost every district in our region has teachers who have earned the endorsement, but one school in the Tukwila School District has a higher ratio of endorsed teachers than most. At Cascade View Elementary School, 25% of teachers have earned the endorsement. ELL students there who have a teacher with the endorsement scored 31 points higher on their 3rd grade reading proficiency test and 33 points higher on the 3rd grade math proficiency test than students whose teacher had no ELL endorsement. For a school with nearly 90% low-income students and a highly diverse population, the data show the ELL endorsement can be a game-changer for the Road Map Project region.

Primary contact: Dr. Tricia Valdez-Zontek, Valdez-Zontek_P@heritage.edu – Heritage University

“Supporting promising students of color from 6th grade through college graduation” Rainier Scholars

The Rainier Scholars program can make a big claim: Students who stick with the program have a 100% chance of graduating high school, a 95% chance of going to college and a 90% chance of graduating from college in five years. Rainier Scholars believes long-term and consistent support is critical to closing the opportunity gap, and focuses on academic enrichment, counseling and support services, leadership development and college support.

Started in 2002, the four-phase, 11-year program begins in 6th grade, and each cohort of students is comprised entirely of high-need students of color in the Seattle, Renton or Highline school districts. More than 500 students are currently in the program and their progress is tremendous. More than 90% of participating students have taken algebra by the 8th grade and more than 95% take one or more Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate course.

Primary contact: Sarah Smith, sarahsmith@rainierscholars.org – Rainier Scholars

“Supporting students in their homes and communities” Somali Youth & Family Club and Partners

Founded in 2006, the Somali Youth & Family Club (SYFC) is a grassroots organization dedicated to addressing the diverse needs and concerns of Somali and other immigrant/refugee parents and families. SYFC operates out of three affordable housing complexes in South King County and partners with numerous community organizations to promote culturally responsive practices in providing housing, health, legal, financial and education-related resources to help parents and families become full partners in their children’s education.

SYFC’s unique approach is grounded in a research-based framework that builds on families’ strengths, fosters healthy family environments and promotes optimal child development, including educational attainment. Through facilitating weekly play and learn groups, monthly community cafés and regular curriculum-based workshops and trainings that range from housing/tenant rights, effective parenting skills to education advocacy, SYFC has reached well over 500 Somali and other immigrant/refugee parents and families.

Primary contact: Hamdi Abdulle, hamdi@syouthclub.org – Somali Youth and Family Club

Diplomas Now: “Creating a school-community partnership to benefit middle school students” City Year Seattle, Johns Hopkins University, Communities in Schools of Seattle, Aki Kurose Middle School

Diplomas Now is a partnership between four organizations that has re-shaped Aki Kurose Middle School, a highly diverse school in Seattle where more than 85% of students receive free or reduced-price lunch. With support from Johns Hopkins University, Communities in Schools of Seattle and City Year Seattle, the entire culture at the school is being transformed. By systematically tackling what the partner organizations call the ABC’s (attendance, behavior and coursework), students are in class more, discipline incidents have decreased and student achievement is on a positive trajectory. Sixth grade reading scores, 7th grade math scores and 8th grade sciences scores have all had gains of more than 10% since the partnership began in 2010-11. The roles and responsibilities of each Diplomas Now partner are well defined and mirror the theory of collective impact: groups coming together to work on a common agenda and using data to improve.

Primary contact: Shira Rosen, serosen@seattleschools.org – Communities in Schools of Seattle

Mia Williams, mparker@seattleschools.org – Aki Kurose Middle School

Katrina Hunt, kmhunt@seattleschools.org – Johns Hopkins University

“Providing long-term mentors for vulnerable youth” Friends of the Children, King County

Friends of the Children is an intensive, long-term mentoring program based on the principle that the most vulnerable children can become healthy, productive adults with a consistent, caring adult in their lives. Friends of the Children connects young, high-risk children with salaried, professional mentors for 12 ½ years. The program starts early – in kindergarten – and extends until after high school.

In addition to offering long-term support, the program is also highly individualized. Mentoring relationships are intentional and intensive, with four hours of weekly contact and an explicit focus on school success. Students’ families are involved, as well.

Friends of the Children has been serving youth since 2000. This past school year, participants made impressive strides in terms of advancing to the next grade, meeting grade-level math standards, maintaining attendance and avoiding expulsion and suspension. Since the program’s founding, 94% of participating youth have avoided juvenile detention and 99% have avoided teen parenting.

Primary contact: Kelly Reid, kelly@friendskc.org – Friends of the Children, King County

“Making bold moves to inspire and support students’ college dreams” Kent School District, Green River Community College and Partners

Kindergartners buddy up with their teachers and parents to visit local college campuses as part of the Kent School District’s annual springtime Kinder to College program. Since its inception in 2009, more than 1,200 students and 460 parents from 20 elementary schools have visited more than a dozen college campuses with the goal of creating a family-inclusive, college-going culture.

Jumping to the other end of the spectrum, the district’s annual College Bound Conference introduces families to the College Bound Scholarship opportunity and encourages them to think about college. The College Bound Scholarship promises tuition (at public tuition rates) for low-income students who sign up in 7th or 8th grade and meet specific criteria. In 2013, there were 750 participants at the event – up from about 600 in 2012. Attendees included prospective College Bound scholars as well as students who have already signed up. The district’s College Bound Scholarship sign-up rate has skyrocketed from 70% in 2010 before the first conference to 98% in 2013. The conference builds momentum toward a college-going culture that not only includes all students in 7th to 12th grade, but also offers more opportunities for community involvement and leadership for Green River Community College, the site host of the event.

Primary contact: Randy Nunez, Randy.Nunez@kent.k12.wa.us – Kent School District

Rebekah Petersen, rpetersen@greenriver.edu – Green River Community College

“Building a system of authentic family engagement” Federal Way Public Schools

A regional parent engagement leader for more than a decade, Federal Way Public Schools has been nationally recognized for its continually innovative work.  Over the past two years, school leaders have partnered with more than 400 parents in the planning, development and parent involvement activities of the Parent Leadership Institute. Anchored by a full-time family partnership director and decision-making parent advisory team, the institute is one part of a multi-faceted approach the district has taken to engage more parents as partners in their children’s education.

The Parent Leadership Institute begins with “Partnership 101”, a combination of materials and workshops designed to help parents and their students establish goals together. This initial phase encourages collaboration and allows parents to ask questions of school staff and to develop partnership ideas. Once the plan is laid out, parents get dedicated support from a broad network of parents and staff members dedicated to helping them realize their goals.

Primary contact: Trise Moore, tmoore@fwps.org – Federal Way Public Schools

Youth Program Quality Initiative: “Using data to build quality in large and small youth-serving organizations” School’s Out Washington and Partners

The Youth Program Quality Initiative engages cohorts of youth-serving organizations in a data-driven continuous improvement system that includes assessment, planning with data, on-site coaching and training. This collaborative effort, led by School’s Out Washington, has created a culture of data, improvement, intentionality and professionalization across the field. A group of independent organizations, once relatively fragmented, now operates as a system bound by shared language, a common quality framework and assessment tool, and a shared understanding of effective practice. The process has improved instructional quality across many domains of practice and shifted organizational culture and changed how organizations on-board, orient, train and support staff – whose direct work with young people is the key to achieving positive results. Based on a rigorously evaluated national model, the Youth Program Quality Initiative has grown extensively since it began in 2009 with support from the Raikes Foundation, and includes hubs in King, Pierce and Spokane counties. With multiple funders on board, more than 114 King County programs serving more than 9,500 youth have participated. Several organizations have embedded the cycle of assessment, planning and training into their internal processes, using their own resources to deepen and institutionalize the work.

Primary contact: Jackie Jainga-Hyllseth, jhyllseth@schoolsoutwashington.org – School’s Out Washington

“Closing the Advanced Placement equity gap” Auburn School District and Equal Opportunity Schools

In 2012-13, Auburn School District staff partnered with Equal Opportunity Schools to take the pulse of their students regarding Advanced Placement (AP) classes. The surveys showed the biggest roadblock to taking challenging classes was students’ perceptions and how schools were (or were not) encouraging participation many students felt they would not be able to handle the coursework, felt unclear on how to enroll and were rarely encouraged to do so.

To counter this challenge, Equal Opportunity Schools supported Auburn staff to implement an innovative program that would encourage students to decide for themselves to enroll in advanced courses. The solution? Baseball cards. The cards displayed the students’ strengths as the statistics, and were created for any student who had not taken an AP course before junior year. Students then met with educators to discuss why their stats made them highly likely to succeed in and grow from AP courses. Students were met on their terms, and the benefits were game-changing. District-wide, more than 200 students who hadn’t previously taken an AP course enrolled this year in their first class, including about 100 underrepresented students at Auburn Senior High School. By taking more rigorous classes, these students will be better prepared for college-level coursework and life after high school.

Primary contact: Louanne Decker, ldecker@auburn.wednet.edu – Auburn School District

Tom McDermott, tmcdermott@auburn.wednet.edu – Auburn High School

Reid Saaris, Reid@eoschools.org – Equal Opportunity Schools

“Creating opportunity by accelerating academics and removing barriers to college” Federal Way Public Schools

Federal Way Public Schools responded to dramatic demographic changes by developing two programs aimed at removing potential barriers to college for their students. First, the district targeted economic barriers by offering all students the College Readiness Pathway, which includes the ability to take the ReadiStep, PSAT and SAT assessments for free during the school day. Second, students who pass the state’s standardized tests are automatically enrolled in advanced academic programs.

As a result of these programs and an open-door policy giving students the ability to hand-pick their advanced courses, the number of students enrolled in advanced classes nearly doubled. Even more, the composition of advanced classes now better reflects the diversity of the district.

Federal Way Public Schools has been a star example for surrounding districts. In particular, implementation of the College Readiness Pathway became the model for the Road Map Project region’s Race to the Top grant. District staff now support and train other districts on how to best enact assessments during the school day.

Primary contact: David Davis, ddavis@fwps.org – Federal Way Public Schools

“Collaborating to personalize support for student success in high school and beyond” Seattle Education Access and Highline Big Picture School

Shopping for interview clothes, arranging transportation to college and finding scholarships for homeless or at-risk high school students are just a few of the many instances of the “whatever it takes approach” used by Seattle Education Access (SEA). The partnership between SEA and Highline’s Big Picture School began in 2013 to address the diverse needs of the students and school community. The mutual goal of increased college access strongly aligns with the school’s commitment to help students from families with little higher education experience go to college and receive support once there.

SEA staff members have weekly one-on-one meetings with students during the school day at the small public high school, which has an approximately 75% free or reduced-price lunch population. The partnership increased the number of students applying to and entering postsecondary institutions during the 2012-13 school year, and SEA now provides additional supports to the 2013 graduates who attend college. Students at Highline Big Picture School earned almost $500,000 in scholarships last year, which can also be partially attributed to increased capacity and support from SEA.

Primary contact: Anthon Smith, anthon@seattleeducationaccess.org – Seattle Education Access

Garth Reeves, garth.reeves@highlineschools.org – Highline Big Picture School

“Deploying UW students in high-need high schools as mentors to improve college enrollment” University of Washington Dream Project

The student-led, student-run Dream Project supports low-income and first-generation high school students in attaining higher education and fosters a college-going culture in high schools across the region. UW students are placed into high-need high schools as mentors, and the experiences spark discussion and awareness among the college students about educational opportunity and social mobility.

The Dream Project has leapt from serving 100 students in 2007 to 1,600 students in 2013. Project mentors also participate in events at non-partner schools to further support students in completing steps toward college. As part of the region’s Race to the Top grant, the project has hired College and Career Readiness Assistants to maintain a regular school-day presence in high-need middle and high schools.

The Dream Project’s success keeps growing: Students who participate in the Dream Project program graduate from high school and enroll in college at higher rates than their counterparts who do not participate in the program. Recent data also point to higher rates of college graduation. For example, of the students in Renton High School’s 2007 Dream Project cohort who enrolled in college, 65% have completed their four-year degree, compared with 35% of students district-wide in Renton.

Primary contact: Jenee Myers, myersja@uw.edu – University of Washington Dream Project

World Language Credit Program: “Building a system for crediting bilingual high school students” School District Partners and Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

The World Language Credit Program is an effort to recognize the diversity of our region by allowing students who speak multiple languages to earn credits toward high school graduation by demonstrating their proficiency.

After Washington State created the framework for competency-based credits in 2009-10, Seattle Public Schools was the first in our region to adopt the policy. Highline Public Schools soon followed. With a coalition led by the Road Map Project’s English Language Learners Work Group, the five remaining districts passed the necessary policies to bring the World Language Credit Program to their districts – scaling up the program to the regional level. By the end of the 2013 school year, 880 students earned between one and four credits for a total of 2,597 credits. Earning these credits can help students meet their high school graduation requirements and, for some students, puts them on a path to attend four-year college.

Primary contact: Michele Aoki, Michele.Aoki@k12.wa.us – Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

Making college admission and graduation possible” College Access Now and School Partners

By immersing themselves in schools, College Access Now (CAN) focuses on Seattle students who have economic need and are often the first in their families to attend college. The program supports students from their junior through senior year, and beginning in 2012, now follows students into their first two years of college.

Full-time CAN staffers work at the schools to be fully accessible to and supportive of the students they serve. This commitment helps influence the overall culture of schools and helps reach new students and community members. In the 2012-13 school year, 97% of CAN students were accepted to college and 87% enrolled in the first year after high school. Also, 50% of CAN’S first cohort graduated college with a four-year degree compared to 11% of their low-income peers. CAN runs programs at six public high schools, and has served approximately 950 students to date since starting in 2005.

Primary contact: Susan Mitchell, susan@collegeaccessnow.org – College Access Now

Kent iGrad: “Building a pathway back to education and jobs” Kent School District, Green River Community College and Partners

Kent iGrad gives students who have dropped out a second chance. This program, a partnership between the Kent School District and Green River Community College, is the region’s first dropout re-engagement program begun under the new state law (“Open Doors”) that sparked this work. Students enter the program and select a path to earn a diploma, GED, industry certificate or postsecondary degree from Green River Community College.

Since the program started in 2012, more than 800 youth have enrolled. These are students who would have otherwise had no path to postsecondary success. iGrad allows students to work at their own pace with flexible hours. Partnerships are a key component of the model; iGrad works with more than a dozen organizations to provide support for students such as child care, crisis counseling and financial literacy. Removing these crucial barriers is what allows youth to stay engaged with the program. iGrad is remarkably inclusive, and welcomes students from all over the state to enroll.

Primary contact: Carol Cleveland, Carol.Cleveland@kent.k12.wa.us – Kent iGrad

Linda Del Giudice, Linda.DelGiudice@kent.k12.wa.us – Kent School District

13th Year Promise Scholarship: “Eliminating financial barriers and guiding students to college success” South Seattle Community College

The 13th Year Promise Scholarship guarantees every Chief Sealth, Cleveland and now Rainier Beach high school senior the opportunity to attend South Seattle Community College tuition-free for one year. The scholarship, which is neither merit- nor need-based, can be used toward any credit-bearing degree or program. Students must enroll full time to receive the scholarship and participate in a Readiness Academy during their senior year of high school, which helps with the enrollment process and transition.

Since starting at Cleveland High School in 2008, matriculation of students at South Seattle Community College from the three partnering high schools has tripled. Once enrolled, students who receive the scholarship are more likely to test out of remedial math and English, have higher GPAs and are twice as likely to complete a postsecondary credential than the average student at South Seattle Community College. An explicit goal of the program is to increase access to higher education for local students, especially underrepresented groups. Of the 210 students who have received the scholarship thus far, 89% are students of color, compared with the 25% of non-13th Year Seattle Public School graduates enrolled at South Seattle Community College.

Primary contact: Elizabeth Pluhta, Elizabeth.Pluhta@seattlecolleges.edu – South Seattle Community College

Road Map Project Awards Program Overview

The Road Map Project launched its first-ever Awards Program in fall 2013 to shine a light on great efforts in South King County and South Seattle that are advancing equity and closing opportunity gaps from cradle to college and career. By elevating this work, the program aims to encourage the adoption and spread of successful efforts across the region. All nominated efforts had to demonstrate how the work helps to advance equity and close the opportunity gap.

Awards Program in the News


There were five criteria for eligibility that must have been met in order for a nominated effort to move forward in the nomination process. An effort that was nominated but did not meet the eligibility threshold outlined below was not considered by the judges. An explanation of each criterion is included in the official nomination guide.

  • Must be advancing equity and social justice, and working to close the opportunity gap
  • Must be able to demonstrate positive results
  • Must be able to describe how collaborations or partnerships help the effort achieve the desired results
  • Must be working to improve at least one Road Map Project Indicator of Student Success
  • Must be geographically located in the Road Map Project region


  • Nomination Submission Period – September 26  to November 1, 2013
  • Judging Period – January 20 to February 7, 2014
  • Finalists Announced – February 2014
  • Awards Event – March 4, 2014, at the Museum of Flight


Please contact Sylvester Cann at scann@ccedresults.org or 206-838-6612 with questions or comments.

Student Engagement and Motivation: This data provides unique insights into the ways students perceive themselves and their learning environments.