Rainier Beach Students Call For Town Hall Event

This is a community announcement

(Featured photo courtesy of the Rainier Beach Merchants Association)

The students of Rainier Beach High School invite you to join them for an inspiring, collaborative Town Hall event on education and transportation justice on October 22, 2015 at 6pm at Rainier Beach High School Performing Arts Center. This summer, as part of a six-week program of the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools, 130 Rainier Valley scholars ages 5-18 organized a march from Seattle Public Schools Headquarters to City Hall to draw public awareness to the lack of transportation access in their community (see Kiro7 coverage of the event here). The current 2-mile walk zone policy of the Seattle School District has a disparate impact on low-income, marginalized communities and compromises student safety. Rainier Beach High School is located in the most violent neighborhood in Seattle, and the school district’s walk-zone policy exposes students to constant risk.

Once considered the worst school in Seattle, Rainier Beach students and faculty are tirelessly working to positively impact student outcomes by implementing more academic and social supports -and their measures prove unequivocally successful: “No marker is more stunning than Beach’s 25-point increase in graduation rates since 2011. Last spring, 79 percent of seniors left with a diploma — better than the 74 percent district average”. –The Seattle Times

This is particularly astounding in light of current Rainier Beach demographics:

These successful, diverse Rainier Valley youth are calling for the public to “SEE ME. MY LIFE MATTERS”, in a profound effort to increase their equitable access to education and transportation.

“The cost of a round trip bus ticket to school is $3 a day”, explains Rainier Beach senior Ifrah Abshir on Occupy.com.  “To put this into perspective…(many) of the students at RBHS have free or reduced lunch. This means their family’s income is low enough that they cannot afford $1.50 a day for lunch. If a student cannot afford $1.50 a day for lunch, how can they be expected to pay for a bus that costs twice as much as lunch? Does that make any sense at all?”

Currently only 50 students are benefiting from an Orca Pilot Program providing free Orca cards. This program has positively impacted student outcomes including attendance, grades and empowerment, and it is time to implement tangible steps toward expanding this program to encompass all students who qualify. Join the students and advisory community advocates on October 22 in a creative call for a comprehensive solution that promotes resources, education equity and transportation justice!

Town Hall: Student Voices on Transportation & Education

An evening of storytelling and collective action!

  • When: Thursday October 22nd6-8pm
  • Where: Rainier Beach High School, Performing Arts Center

8815 Seward Park Ave S. Seattle, WA 98115

  • Who: Students, Parents, Teachers, Administrators, Media, Elected Officials & Community Advocates
  • What: A creative exchange to hear student stories of how transportation affects their education.

This is an opportunity to identify collective steps to implement an equitable transportation policy that guarantees all public school students access to their education and community.

City & County Council members, School Board and media are already confirmed to attend.

Family-friendly event - Dinner will be provided!

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