Tag Archives: Rainier Beach High School

Student Activists Reflect on Long Overdue Rainier Beach High School Rebuild

by Ari Robin McKenna


For decades, the Rainier Beach community watched as other better-resourced high schools got major building renovations, waiting for their turn. Yet as various Seattle Public Schools’ (SPS) building levies passed them by, many members of the student population at Rainier Beach High School (RBHS) — which is currently 97% students of color — began to speak out.

From within a building built in 1961, students have been mounting pressure on the district for more than a decade. Finally, in 2019, the school board approved a replacement building as part of the Building Excellence (BEX) V Capital Levy. With RBHS set for a rebuild beginning next summer, the Emerald spoke to four students who were active in different waves of the push to make that happen.

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The Morning Update Show — 7/1/21

The Morning Update Show — hosted by Trae Holiday and The Big O (Omari Salisbury) — is the only weekday news and information livestream that delivers culturally relevant content to the Pacific Northwest’s urban audience. Omari and Trae analyze the day’s local and national headlines as well as melanin magic in our community. Watch live every weekday at 11 a.m. on any of the following channels, hosted by Converge Media: YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Periscope, and whereweconverge.com.

We also post the Morning Update Show here on the Emerald each day after it airs, so you can catch up any time of day while you peruse our latest posts.

Morning Update Show — Thursday, July 1

Live From Rainier Beach High School | LIVE — Coach Mike Bethea | LIVE — Betty Patu | LIVE — Virginia Owens | LIVE — Patrick McGlothlin | LIVE — Rick Dimmer

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Wealthy Families Fundraising for Public Schools Poses Troubling Equity Issues

by Neal Morton, The Hechinger Report

(This story about PTAs was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. Sign up for the Hechinger newsletter.)


In 2013, families at a Seattle high school raked in more than $100,000 for a raffle to win a Tesla Model S.

The year before, the parent teacher association at Garfield High School cleared $40,000 in raffle tickets for a Nissan Leaf. Other schools in this tech-boom city rely on lavish galas to raise as much as $422,000 in a single night, and some spend almost as much as they haul in.

During the pandemic, parents at the John Stanford International School spent $249,999 — one dollar less than the school district allows before the board steps in to review such spending — on teaching assistants for a dual language program. This year, the Green Lake Parent Teacher Association (PTA) paid about half that much to cover the cost of the elementary school’s vocal teacher and a portion of a full-time counselor’s salary, among other supports for students.

Meanwhile, in the South End, parents at Rising Star Elementary celebrate when they can cobble together even $300.

“That’s in a good year,” said Leticia Bazemore, former PTA vice president at Rising Star.

Continue reading Wealthy Families Fundraising for Public Schools Poses Troubling Equity Issues

Vaccine Pop-Ups Open to All Seattle Public Middle Schools and High Schools

by Emerald Staff


Now that all people ages 12 and older are eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, the City of Seattle, in partnership with Seattle Public Schools (SPS) and the Seattle Fire Department, today announced an ambitious program to offer free no-appointment vaccinations at 52 in-school locations as well as pop-up vaccine clinics aimed at 20 private schools. 

“Offering the vaccine to our younger students provides families with peace of mind that their children will be safe from catching and spreading the virus,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in an email announcement on Tuesday, May 18. “Vaccinating our students is also an issue of educational justice: We know that virtual learning does not serve families who face historic inequities. Getting kids back in school safely is critical to ensuring our youth have access to true and lasting opportunity.”

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Friday Night Sights: High School Football’s Return Weekend in the South End

by M. Anthony Davis


High school football is back. Last weekend marked the beginning of the Metro League football season, and the opening weekend featured an inner-city rivalry with Rainier Beach playing Garfield. Typically, the stands would be packed for this matchup but, due to COVID-19 restrictions, no fans were allowed to attend. 

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Fourth-Annual National BLM at School Week of Action Kicks Off With Calls for Local Accountability

by Ari Robin McKenna

Trigger Warning: this article includes descriptions of incidents in which racist language is used.


In a student-lead briefing on Monday, Jan. 25 on Zoom, educators, parents, youth in the NAACP Youth Coalition, and members of the press convened to kick off the Black Lives Matter (BLM) at School Week of Action in Seattle. Now a national movement four years running, it all began here in the South End in 2016 when John Muir Elementary School (JMES) had to temporarily cancel plans for an assembly meant to bolster the morale of Black students. After word spread via Breitbart News Network that teachers at the district-sponsored event would be wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts, organizers received hate mail and a bomb threat, causing them to temporarily cancel the assembly. Then, in an impressive display of Seattle solidarity with JMES, over 3,000 educators district-wide showed up to work donning “Black Lives Matter” shirts, and a movement was born.

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With the School Year Approaching, Serious Barriers to Education Persist Among South Seattle Students

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

New COVID-19 Testing Site to Open at Rainier Beach High School

by Carolyn Bick


South Seattle will see a third free, walk-up novel coronavirus testing site at Rainier Beach High School, starting on Friday, Aug. 7.

Joined by Public Health – Seattle & King County Director Patty Hayes and Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins in a press conference on July 31, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that the new testing site will replace the one that opened in April at the Atlantic City Boat Ramp. 

The test will be free, neither citizenship nor insurance is required. While pre-registration also isn’t required, it is encouraged. The site will be open from 9:30 am. – 5 :30 p.m., and will be accessible for those with disabilities.

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Rainier Beach Community Pays Tribute to Conner Dassa-Holland

by Ari Robin McKenna and Makayla Miles


When Conner Dassa-Holland was in middle school at Orca K–8, his English teacher there, Donte Felder, would often present students with two questions:

“What is your story? What is your future?”

Years later, Donte would run into Conner from time to time in South Seattle, where they both lived. Usually, after getting an earful of Conner’s recent achievements, he would ask Conner what had become a predictable question:

“What is your story? What is your future?”

Responses varied over the years. Having spent both 7th and 8th grade in Donte’s English classrooms, Conner was ready with a variety of off-the-cuff answers over the years.

Donte remembers their final exchange:

“What is your story? What is your future?”

“Change the world. Our systems are wrong.”

“How?”

“I’ll figure that out later, but one step at a time.”

Continue reading Rainier Beach Community Pays Tribute to Conner Dassa-Holland

Seattle’s First Walk-Up Coronavirus Testing Site to Open in Rainier Beach

by Carolyn Bick


Starting tomorrow, the city will see its first walk-up novel coronavirus testing site at the Atlantic City Boat Ramp across from Rainier Beach High School in South Seattle.

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