I did some checking after our many discussions about helping Rainier Beach High School. I was sad to see that in a recent thread, MKD has pulled her sons out. She and I had a talk as well and she did like many things there including teachers. But I certainly stand by her decision as each of us has to make what we believe is the best choice for our children.
I had discussions with both Mr. Gary and a couple of teachers. There is no issue with math books; they are all new and enough for all. Mr. Gary was going to get back to me on the U.S History books but I haven't heard from him. He said they could use books in 9th grade biology as they have more students than anticipated and the district doesn't give them extra books. Mr. Gary said they have an issue with students leaving their school (and they have a lot of movement going on) and not returning books.
I believe the district has to reenroll a student in a different school whether or not they have paid fines. I will check but I do believe the district COULD tell a student "no sports or other activities until fines are paid or books returned to your original schools". I find it hard to believe that this could be such an issue. You keep reminding the parents/guardians on the student's report card and do not allow students any access to activities. With most students, that might do it.
I also spoke to Theo Moriarty, the unpaid head of AP at RBHS. Here is what he had to say:
For the courses we currently offer we have texts for every student that are issued to them to take home as that is a requirement that the College Board stipulates. We do have a great number of texts that either do not return or return heavily damaged and that does impact our ability to keep the classes going. We have recently instituted departmental budgets for the AP program so that text replacement will be less of an issue. Students have never had to buy their own text books here at RBHS. What we do not have are the funds to offer new sections of AP courses particularly in Psychology, Biology, and Chemistry. If they want study guides or practice guides then students would have to purchase those privately but not texts or primary novels for AP Lit. If your donors would like to pool their potential donations and fund an AP Biology or Chemistry section for next year or fund study guides for students this year then either would be fantastic. We are experiencing growing pains but we had a large increase in the number of students passing the exam last year and hope to have a massive increase this year since we have been prepping the current class of students for two years in their intro classes to have the same type of skill and rigour requirements that AP courses demand. Please feel free to contact me at any time about Advanced Learning programs here at RBHS because that’s pretty much what I do. I also teach our integrated Shakespeare Academy as a team taught course with our Drama teacher Mrs. Brooke Linefsky.
So funding either AP study guides for current AP courses or new books for AP Bio or Chem would be on his wish list.
I do want to say that Mr. Gary is very proud of his school. He feels they are making progress. He is very happy with his music instructor and feels they do have some connections to the Garfield Jazz band led by Mr. Acox. He also said his drama teacher was good and they had connections with some theater groups. I did not speak to either the jazz teacher or the drama teacher so I don't know how well they feel they are doing in creating a credible performing arts section at RBHS.
So, to give money for books at Garfield, we would have to set up an account at the Alliance for Education. That is the easiest for the school to handle per Mr. Gary. We could set up a general fund for Books for RBHS and let Mr. Gary decide where the money goes or we could have sub-groups in the account for 9th grade biology, AP study guides or AP Biology/Chemistry. To think that the only thing stopping more AP at Rainier Beach is books is startling. I do not understand how this is happening with the SE Initiative in place. I'll have to call Michael Tolley about this.
The reason I took awhile to do this was that I didn't want to get any teacher or staff member or principal in trouble. Airing dirty laundry and all. The district can be punitive when they want to be and I didn't want that to happen. That's why I took the time to verify that there was an issue and to find out if we could (or would) be able to help.
I'll wait to hear for comments/votes/suggestions and then I can set up the account at the Alliance.