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FWPSProud: All FWPS Kindergartners Are Going to College!

FWPSProud: All FWPS Kindergartners Are Going to College!

All FWPS Kindergarteners Will Visit a College Campus as Part of a New Initiative to Expand K-12 College and Career Readiness. 

Federal Way Public Schools is expanding its opportunities for college and career exploration to its youngest scholars – curious kindergarteners! Moving forward, every kindergarten scholar will have a chance to explore higher education through a visit to a local college campus under the new FWPS program Kinders to College launched this school year. The program is part of a larger initiative to expose students to additional college-going activities throughout the year and ensure scholars can envision a pathway to success in school through FWPS and beyond. 

“In our effort to create a comprehensive K-12 College and Career Readiness experience for all our scholars, we are starting with our youngest scholars to prepare them for post-high school opportunities,” stated Dr. Eric Hong, Executive Director of College and Career Readiness. “Our goal is to build on Kinders to College and provide a series of meaningful post-high school engagements with colleges and careers throughout the scholar’s time with Federal Way Public Schools.”

Research shows that children start thinking about what they want to be when they grow up in elementary school. Early exposure to a college setting can significantly impact a student’s career aspirations and academic journey. FWPS hopes young students will see themselves as college students someday and feel encouraged to excel in school.

Twin Lakes kindergarten students listen attentively as Ms. Lott leads instruction.


Before each Kinders to College visit, students engage in learning at their school about what college is and begin to think about a future profession. On the big day, students finally get a taste of college through a campus tour or scavenger hunt and a special college-themed activity.  

During this time, kindergarteners interact with college professors and students, visit lecture halls, and more. The field trips conclude with scholars reciting the FWPS Kinder Pledge, affirming their capabilities as learners and commitment to their educational pursuits. 


FWPS school buses carrying kindergarteners arrive at Clover Park Technical College.
Woodmont K-8 kindergarten students walk the campus of Highline College.


Sherwood Forest and Star Lake kindergarten scholars at Clover Park Technical College.


So far, 14 schools have completed their visit. By the end of the school year, all 26 elementary schools will have visited one of nine partner campuses including 2-year, 4-year, and technical colleges.  

“The visits have brought a lot of joy to both the scholars and our staff and college partners,” shared Nicole Collopy, FWPS College and Career Readiness Facilitator. “Our kindergarten scholars are envisioning themselves as college students, sitting in lecture halls and seeing the hands-on projects different programs are working on. We hope these trips continue to support our scholars in their love of learning and their belief in their endless abilities and potential! To quote the pledge each kindergartner recites at the end of every visit: “I believe in my future; I believe in me!” 

During Silver Lake Elementary’s visit to Clover Park Technical College, students learned about typography and visited the school’s WorkForce Central where they learned about mechatronics engineering. Scholars got to view 3D-printed architectural structures and hear professors share about careers. 


Students learn about typography at from a Clover Park professor.


Young scholar touring Clover Park's WorkForce Central lab.


A young scholar beams with excitement while exploring mechatronics.

 Camelot Elementary and Meredith Hill visited Bellevue College. Students toured the campus and then completed an activity to think about their future. They started with drawing what they love to learn about to help connect what they do in school with the careers they can have in the future. FWPS Superintendent Dr. Dani Pfeiffer joined scholars on this visit and participated in this activity, too! 

Camelot and Meredith Hill kindergartners gather at Bellevue College.


Kindergarten students sit in a lecture hall at Bellevue College and complete a fun activity.


Superintendent Dr. Pfeiffer shares excitement with a students about their love of learning.


These visits are proving to be valuable as we see kindergarten students draw connections between their learning in school and future endeavors. For example, when Panther Lake students visited Bates Technical College, one student was so intrigued by the programs after learning about dental assistance, manufacturing, and barbering that she wanted to try each career! Another student shared what learned about college in class – he was able to draw comparisons to his learning and speak about opportunities in college. 

Of course, while the visits focus on higher education, kindergarteners also found fun in the day’s overall adventure. When asked what their favorite part of the field trip was, some responses from Camelot Elementary students included, “lunch!” “the mascot!” and “walking around!” 


Students received a surprise visit by Bellevue College's Bulldog mascot


While they may not fully understand the significance of the experience right now, with continued exposure to higher education opportunities, we’re confident these young scholars will create a BRIGHT future!  

“I wanted to launch Kinders to College in FWPS because all scholars, starting as young as those in kindergarten, should know about the college and career opportunities available to them,” shared Superintendent Dr. Pfeiffer. “With repeated exposure to multiple post-secondary pathways, over time students will build an appetite for success. They’ll also know the avenues to take to get there. The program is a fun experience for kindergarteners that we hope will be a building block towards developing persistence in school, college, career, and in life.” 

The Kinders to College program aligns with Goal 5 of the district’s strategic plan, Persistence to Graduation, which states every scholar will successfully navigate the critical transitions in their schooling and will graduate from high school ready for college, career, and post-secondary experiences. In addition, it incorporates our second Pillar which recognizes that “Schools Can’t Do It Alone” – we embrace parents, caregivers, and the entire Federal Way community as vital partners in the education of all our scholars. 

Thanks to our Kinders to College partners Bates Technical College, Bellevue College, Clover Park Technical College, Green River College, Highline College, Seattle Pacific University, St. Martin’s University, University of Puget Sound, and University of Washington for making this experience possible!