Graduation Success

Building a Path to Graduation

Youth in foster care have tremendous potential, hopes and dreams for their future. But they also experience added challenges, like placement changes, school changes and other disruptive barriers. We have seen firsthand how these changes affect school performance and their view of their future.

Our Graduation Success program works with high school youth in foster care, pairing them with a Treehouse Education Specialist who provides educational support and a connection to resources. Education Specialists also partner with the youth’s existing support system – caregivers, social workers, teachers and school counselors – to provide services they need when they need them.

While in Graduation Success, students work one-on-one with Treehouse Education Specialists to:

  • Create their own plan for high school graduation and beyond
  • Build problem-solving and self-advocacy skills
  • Connect to resources like tutoring, credit retrieval and college and career prep
  • Recognize and develop available support systems around them, from caregivers to social workers, to school teachers and counselors
  • Resolve education barriers like school transitions, special education needs, disciplinary actions and credit retrieval

The Graduation Success program currently serves 8th to 12th grade students who have experienced foster care and those who are enrolled in an eligible GED program across Washington state.


Meet Our Graduation Success Teams

All education staff work one-on-one with high school students experiencing foster care to create academic goals, build problem-solving and self-advocacy skills and so much more.

Through Treehouse’s Graduation Success program, we work to center those youth furthest from educational justice through the creation of our Special Populations team. Tribal Education Specialists (TEdS) support our youth in tribal jurisdiction and our Dual-Systems Involved (DIY) Navigators support youth in the juvenile justice system and foster care.

Meet the Team

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What is the difference between Graduation Success and Educational Advocacy services?

Graduation Success

Treehouse Education Specialists work with social workers, caregivers, schools and community organizations to partner with youth in foster care, so they graduate from high school with a plan for their future. Education Specialists work one-on-one with students to provide proactive education planning, monitoring, and coaching support services. The Graduation Success program is designed to be long term and while youth must be in out-of-home care to be initially referred, they will continue to receive services, regardless of dependency status. Youth are encouraged to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities as a way to engage in their high school experience. Education Specialists help to eliminate barriers towards graduation. This program strives to serve every eligible high school youth in the districts we serve.

Educational Advocacy

In partnership with the Department of Children, Youth and Families, Treehouse Educational Advocates work with schools, social workers, caregivers and youth in foster care to resolve difficult issues and remove barriers to kids’ school success. The Educational Advocacy Program is generally short term (1-6 months) but can be longer if the needs of the youth necessitate continued involvement. This program serves out of home youth in kindergarten through 12th grade (high school completion) throughout Washington state in schools NOT served by Treehouse’s Graduation Success Program.


What is the guiding philosophy of the Graduation Success program?

Research, years of practice and continual evaluation have guided Treehouse to the Graduation Success program model. Graduation Success is based on two evidence-based practices, which include Student-Centered Planning and “Check and Connect,” a comprehensive student-engagement intervention pioneered by the University of Minnesota. Treehouse has tailored these program models to address the specific education needs of youth in foster care, combining education planning, monitoring and coaching support led by a Treehouse Education Specialist.

What is Check and Connect? How does Treehouse use it?

To further promote a sense of belonging and a youth’s engagement in school, Graduation Success utilizes “Check and Connect,” an evidence-based, comprehensive student engagement intervention demonstrated to improve graduation rates for youth that receive the intervention.

Many schools where Treehouse Graduation Success services are offered have in-school Education Specialists who act as a daily consistent presence for Treehouse students within the school building. Education Specialists monitor a youth’s daily attendance, behavior and course completion.

What is an Education Specialist?

Treehouse Educational Specialists partner with a team of existing supports in a youth’s life, including caregivers, social workers, teachers and school counselors, to create a portrait of each youth’s individual developmental needs and provide timely, appropriate supports and services. If a student is not on track—perhaps there is prolonged absence from school, discipline challenges or poor grades—the Educational Specialist is there to provide supports and interventions.

How can Treehouse youth access funding for school related fees and activities?

Treehouse provides funding so that youth can participate in the activities and school events that help them build friendships and become fully engaged in school. Treehouse can help pay for school fees (like ASB cards, lab costs, graduation needs, dance tickets, etc.), athletics, art and music programs, driver’s education, skill/certification classes, summer camp and other academic and enrichment related expenses. Learn more.

Does Treehouse offer tutoring services?

Treehouse Education Specialists do not offer tutoring support but they can help youth connect to existing tutoring resources in the community. We also have a resource center that includes tutoring resources.


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