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Gonzaga Receives Ignatian Medal for Hillyard Youth Collaborative

Mentors work with students at Garry Middle School (Gonzaga University photo)

Mentors with students at Garry Middle School (Gonzaga photo)

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Jesuit Association of Student Personnel Administrators has awarded Gonzaga University the Ignatian Medal for Outstanding Academic Partnership for its work on the Hillyard Youth Collaborative in Northeast Spokane. The initiative is led by John Traynor, associate professor of teacher education, and Bailley Wootton, assistant director for youth programs in the Center for Community Action and Service-Learning.

The Ignatian Medal – announced last month at the JASPA conference at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana – annually recognizes a program or initiative that demonstrates collaboration between academic and student affairs to support student success and learning.

The Hillyard Youth Collaborative promotes the success of youth in the Northeast neighborhoods of Spokane while providing Gonzaga students, faculty and staff with opportunities to collaborate with local nonprofit organizations and public schools to improve their own growth and development as well as middle school student achievement.

Gonzaga – in partnership with Spokane Public Schools, Communities In Schools of Spokane County, Boys & Girls Clubs of Spokane County, and Washington State University – received a $400,000 grant in 2014 to catalyze and coordinate community efforts to ensure students complete high school. The three-year grant, funded by the Community Partners for Middle School Success (CPMSS), aims to ensure educational success for students at Shaw and Garry middle schools. The effort focuses on providing additional support to the schools and, in particular, students and families. This includes the identification of at-risk students, the design and delivery of interventions for students, and evaluation of those interventions. Long term, the effort is expected to increase graduation rates at John R. Rogers High School, and boost the number of Rogers graduates enrolling in postsecondary education.

Approximately 190 Gonzaga students were involved in the first year of the collaborative. This partnership provides Gonzaga students with valuable experiences to enhance their classroom learning and help students develop career skills. Gonzaga coordinates academic, social and emotional support at Shaw and Garry that addresses student risk factors related to attendance, behavior, and course completion.

As leaders of the Hillyard Youth Collaborative, Traynor and Wootton develop partnerships with faculty across campus, partner with school administrators and staff, and manage the grant. CPMSS founding partners are: Avista Foundation; Empire Health Foundation; Harriet Cheney Cowles Foundation; Inland Northwest Community Foundation; John J. Hemmingson; JPMorgan Chase Foundation; Numerica Credit Union; and Women Helping Women Fund.

For more information, please contact Mary Joan Hahn at or (509) 313-6095.

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