by Ben Adlin
Classrooms will be empty next month when Seattle public schools kick off an unprecedented school year, with nearly all learning set to happen remotely. For a local nonprofit that pairs hundreds of Seattle students with one-on-one reading tutors, that’s meant figuring how to bring in-person lessons to the virtual realm.
“It is us taking our evidence-based curriculum and digitizing it, and creating a safe and secure platform online,” said Cassy McKee, executive director of the Seattle chapter of Reading Partners, a national nonprofit that in years past has brought books and volunteer tutors to reading rooms at elementary schools that serve low-income families, including Rising Star Elementary in South Beacon Hill.
Things screeched to a halt in March, when the coronavirus pandemic closed schools, but since then the organization has steadily reopened remotely. It’s launched an online library of books and adopted a new translation app to better communicate with families, and this fall it will boot up an online version of its one-on-one tutoring sessions.
Continue reading In-School Reading Program Will Shift Its Tutoring Program Online
by Carolyn Bick
Rainier Beach High School freshman Fatima Kabba says it’s really hard for her to learn from home, even with a good internet connection.
“Sometimes, it’s pretty hard, because you can’t find, like, a quiet space to do your work,” Kabba said. “And sometimes there’s other people with different classes, and sometimes you might share the same room with your siblings, so it might be hard for you to concentrate. If we did have online classes, imagine having seven siblings, each one [on] a device — and you’re probably in separate rooms, but you’re going to hear their noises.”
Continue reading With the School Year Approaching, Serious Barriers to Education Persist Among South Seattle Students
by Erin Okuno
With COVID-19 surging, a recession, unemployment in King County at 14%, and the renewed call for justice and equity for BIPOC lives, it’s an important year to pay attention to local as well as national elections. While the country is focused on the November presidential election, Washingtonians would do well to focus on some very consequential local elections coming much sooner.
Washington State’s 2020 primary election is on August 4. Citizens should focus their efforts on exercising the power of the ballot locally and vote in the primary. Those who are not able to vote can still participate in voter education, support candidates, and help get out the vote.
Continue reading OPINION: Vote for Kids August 4
by Ramone Johnson
My name is Ramone Johnson and I’m 17 years old. I’m from Illinois originally, and ever since I’ve been to school out here in Washington, any situation in school has been blasted way out of proportion. I want to share my experience to help students and teachers understand each other and learn to value every student and make schools a better environment for everyone.
I started recognizing I was being treated differently as one of the only Black kids in my Seattle middle school. The school administration and security guards came as hard as they possibly could towards me. If I called out the way they were treating me differently than other students, they would call me disruptive and send me out of the classroom. It’s like they wanted to prove a point when I refused to adapt to their environment. I watched them give some students extra time to finish assignments, and they wouldn’t do the same for me. What made him better than me? We were both students that needed help. Instead, they’d treat me like a terrorist. They’d have the cop and school security guard following me around all day and blame me for things I didn’t do.
Continue reading OPINION: What Teachers Should Know About the Experience of Being a Black Student in Seattle Public Schools
by Ari Robin McKenna
This is the second in a series of articles featuring the words of local ethnic studies educators who are doing work to address systemic racism in our classrooms. To read the first, click here. To read the series intro, click here.
When Bruce Jackson was a child, his household was swept up into a greater story that still reverberates across the world today. His uncle, Zayd, was killed defending writer and civil rights activist Assata Shakur during a confrontation with police on the New Jersey Turnpike. A documentary about Shakur’s life ends with the following words regarding her chosen surname:
“It is a name that I took to carry on the name of Zayd Malik Shakur in honor of his family, and in honor of the forces of beauty and good on this earth which I’m grateful for. That is my name.”
Continue reading Ethnic Studies Educator Bruce Jackson and the Beautiful American Story Never Told
by Carolyn Bick
Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee announced at an April 6 press conference with State Superintendent Chris Reykdal that he is extending school closures through the end of this school year in June, as the number of cases of novel coronavirus in the state begins to peak.
Continue reading Washington State Schools will Stay Closed through End of School Year, Gov. Jay Inslee says
by Carolyn Bick
Less than a week after Seattle Public Schools closed its schools’ doors to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, working single mom Karen Anthony found her seven-year-old son James on the roof of the house.
“He’s climbed up on my roof twice now. And this happens in five minutes –– quite miraculous, actually,” Anthony said with a small laugh.
Anthony’s two children, James and his brother Elliott, 13, both attend Seattle Public Schools (SPS) and are severely impacted by autism spectrum disorder. They were each diagnosed at age two-and-a-half. When school is in session, the boys require high levels of support in the classroom.
Continue reading Students on the autism spectrum and their parents face extra hurdles in trying to learn from home
by Naomi Ishisaka
Chanting “Say it loud, say it clear, equal education here,” students from Rainier Beach High School led a walkout on the first day of school.
Around 60 students from different schools including Rainier Beach rallied at the Rainier Beach Community Center on Wednesday to protest inequalities in education funding, inadequate school funding in general and disparities in educational access for Black and Latinx students.
Continue reading On First Day of School, Seattle Students Walk Out Demanding Equal Education
by Erin Okuno
Southeast Seattle, District 7, is currently without a school board director. In June 2019, Director Betty Patu announced she would be stepping down from her board seat July 2019. Patu had 2 years and 4 months left in her term. This left the remaining six school board directors to fill the seat through an appointment process. Last night, August 21, the board narrowed the field to three candidates: Brandon Hersey, Emijah Smith, and Julie Van Arcken.
Continue reading OPINION: District 7 School Board Director Search Has Not Prioritized South End Voices
by Susan Fried
On Sunday June 30, 17 high school and 18 middle school graduates and their families from all over the greater Seattle area celebrated their educational achievements at the 4th Annual Black Graduation for Middle School and High School students at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute.
Continue reading Students From 17 High Schools, 18 Middle Schools Celebrate at Black Graduation