I have this message from Gail Longo on the Ballard Lab closure:
SAVE THE CHILD DEVELOPMENT LAB AT BALLARD HIGH
1. The Ballard High School (BHS) Child Development Lab is operated by a non-profit Community Learning Partner that serves both high school students and children. Our on-site Lab school provides licensed childcare to families of 20 preschoolers. Teachers are college graduates and Montessori certified. The Lab is housed on campus in a designated childcare facility that was newly constructed in 1999.
2. In 2003, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) Office of Community Learning welcomed two new members to the Community Alignment Agreement, The BHS Family and Consumer Sciences Department (a branch of the Career and Technical Education Division of SPS) and the Casa Maria Montessori Lab School Program
3. This partnership gives high school students a direct field- site where they can apply classroom knowledge to real life situations in a meaningful way. High school students receive occupational education credit and certificates from the Washington State Training and Registry system (STARS) for completing 20 hours of training.
4. The alignment agreement inspired our partnership to host annual workshops in education for students and families .We obtained grants and successfully co-hosted forums focused on optimal brain development and emotional literacy. These events brought educators, families and communities together.
5. Today this model partnership is threatened from changes stemming from the Seattle School District’s New Student Assignment Plan. The existing childcare laboratory space will now be needlessly ripped out and our successful program will be terminated.
Money from State, city and community was invested in the construction of the Child Development Laboratory at Ballard High. Because of the high deficit in the SPS budget, it is very expensive to create new childcare centers in schools. Our program
has been in place and operating for over 6 years and it seems wise and preferable to retain it.
6. Elected officials and scientists support our program. King County Council members, Larry Phillips and Bob Ferguson have both voiced their support. Inspired teachers like Dr. James Ha and Dr. Helen Buckland from the University of Washington, and Dr. Jeff Ojemann , neurosurgeon from Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, all support the value of this program.
Dr. Temple Grandin , a leading scientist with extraordinary talent who has autism wrote to us saying that :”It is extremely important for students to get hands–on experience …hands.-on jobs will help create the next generation of scientists”
Gail Longo, July 27,2010