To honor voters who approved BEX IV to established a permanent site for Seattle World School with dedicated funds to improve the TT Minor site
This petition made change with 358 supporters!
The Seattle World School (formerly SBOC) serves new immigrants to Seattle. They don’t speak much English, and they aren’t political. The students are hopeful, hard working and respectful, and we love working with them. They believe in the American Dream. They have often been through trauma that we can only begin to imagine. Many arrive with little or no previous education. Many have physical and emotional needs that have been unmet. We don’t have much money for books that they can read and understand, and we don’t have a PTSA to raise money for any extras, but we like to think they have great teachers. We know they have a caring staff, many of whom speak their languages or share their cultures. The students are grateful for what they get. They know how to make do.
The first year of the Secondary BOC we were at Meany during Franklin’s remodel. Before that it had been housed at Old Hay and Sharples (now Aki Kurose). That was in 1989, 24 years ago. In 1990 the school moved back to Sharples. That was the first time that the BOC was promised a brand new building with funding from BEX I. The teachers who came before us sat down with architects and planned our rooms in great detail. They were promised new furniture and modern equipment. When the levy failed in the first round of voting the BOC was cut from the project list. They were told that we would be first on the next levy. They made do. Seattle World School was on the next levy, but in 2006, cost overruns for Garfield used the money that the Seattle citizens had voted would go to the BOC. Then we were told we would be moving because the Sharples building would be needed for a middle school.
We moved to Old Hay, an old elementary building with no gym or auditorium, with peeling lead paint and classrooms that flooded every time there was rain, but again, we made do.
Once again the district promised a renovated, permanent site for our school. We again sat down with architects to design a floor plan for one of the three sites that were available at that time. But by 2007, that plan was shelved. So we continued making do at the Old Hay building.
Then the Old Hay building was needed for a new elementary program. In 2009 we moved to Meany, which had just closed as a middle school. Demographers predicted that there would be no need for a middle school in the central region for many years. We were not surprised to hear of the many millions spent on upgrades for Old Hay after we left.
Just before we moved to Meany, the Council for Great City Schools found that Seattle ELL students were dropping out of school at rates much higher than any other group. They found that the district model for English Language Learners was uneven across schools. A Seattle team, lead by Veronica Gallardo, was sent to research successful models around the country. The plan for the Seattle World School was based on the research findings and report’s recommendations.
In 2011 the Seattle World School began to offer high school credit to immigrant students. We were reenergized with the excitement of creating a school to serve the students that had not always been successful in large high schools.
We began to provide a full clinic to help with vaccinations, vision and hearing, and emotional support through counseling with a partnership with International Community Health Services and Neighborcare. Refugee Women’s Alliance, Vietnamese Friendship Association and the City of Seattle helped to fund summer school and the staff worked for less than half pay to help keep students from losing ground. ReWA and Vietnamese Friendship Association helped to provide after-school classes and extended learning programs.
Once again architects arrived to help us plan the remodel of the Meany building to accommodate the new high school. Again we planned for clean, open, light spaces with new furniture and modern equipment. We planned spaces to accommodate family involvement and community partnerships. Then the district said that Meany would be needed for a central area middle school after all!
We were told that an old elementary school currently being leased would be renovated for us. That school, T.T. Minor, provides a good location to develop career-training programs for our students in partnership with local colleges and health care institutions. It is near the major bus connections. But it’s an old building built for elementary students, not high school students. It doesn’t have a full gym, auditorium or cafeteria. The classrooms are very small. There are no specialized classrooms for art, science and technology education. The space for health services, community gathering, and family events is even smaller than what we have at Meany. Yet we see it as our best option.
The district says, We are focused on improving academic achievement for all students and committed to ensuring that all students graduate from high school prepared for college, careers, and life. With BEX IV, Seattle voters once again approved a levy that promises Seattle World School a permanent home. The students, staff and the communities that support us have waited for 30 years to see the school in a permanent location, one that won’t be taken away again in a couple of years. We challenge you to find another Seattle Schools program that has had to move so much, has gotten cut from levies so many times or has gotten by on so little in terms of facilities for so long.
Please, sign for a permanent, centrally located home for Seattle World School at TT Minor.
Provide sufficient funding to renovate the building to the same standards as every other secondary school. Finally, fulfill long broken promises and provide a space where the students can thrive. We have made do for long enough.
Today: Seattle World School is counting on you
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