Friday, November 06, 2015

Rainier Scholars Information Sessions

Here's a list of informational meetings for parents about Rainier Scholars.  You only need to attend one.

Rainier Scholars cultivates the academic potential and leadership skills of hard-working, low-income students of color. By creating access to transformative educational opportunities and providing comprehensive support to scholars and families, we increase college graduation rates and empower new generations of leaders.

Currently, we serve 600 scholars through 14 cohorts with 60-65 new scholars added each year. We serve African-American, Hispanic/Latino, first generation Asian and Native American students who are most underrepresented on college campuses.

These students have the greatest number of barriers to achieving a college education:
  • More than 90% of students come from households without a four-year college degree
  • More than 85% of students qualify as low-income
Our scholars are distinguished as much by what they have as by what they don't have. All Rainier Scholars demonstrate innate cognitive ability, motivation and a strong work ethic. They share a desire to use education as a pathway to new possibilities.

Each November, 5th grade students of color in Seattle, Highline and Renton school districts who met standard on their fourth grade reading assessment receive a special letter - one inviting them to a meeting where they can learn about being a Rainier Scholar.

Over the next five months, we work with students and their families to identify approximately 60 - 65 motivated learners who will make up a new cohort of Rainier Scholars for the upcoming summer. We recruit those students who have the greatest number of barriers to a college education. More than 85% of our scholars qualify as low-income. More than 90% come from households where they will be the first generation to earn a four-year college diploma.

To note: you can apply if your family get a letter OR on your own.  Attending an informational meeting is recommended and they have several with translators.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...


Rainier Scholars is a great talent development program, but it only serves a small number of students.

I would like to point out that Stephen Martin and AL department tried to to start a similar talent development program at several middle schools to reach more children, but was denied the funding.

-nh

Melissa Westbrook said...

I talked to people at RS and I am very high on this program. It provides the long-term, intensive help to kids and families that is needed to close the opportunity gap. But, like charters, you need very dedicated adults to make that happen in a family. I was told that providing more academic rigor (and instilling in kids that they CAN do it), smaller class sizes and role models would be what could be done at a school level.

We all know this but why isn't it happening?

I was also told RS works closely with AL.

Sigh said...

Rainier Scholars does amazing work. The reason they have to work closely with AL is because the goal is (in part) placing kids in advanced programs in public schools. The rest of the kids head off to private schools, which is the part of RS that bums me out a little. They take these amazing kids with high potential and involved families and guide them OUT of public schools. Of course, the public schools aren't doing much to support these students, so I can't blame them or their families for leaving.

Anonymous said...

While I support public schools, the idea that if you are poor or historically marginalized means you are deserving of only certain kind of opportunities is pernicious. If these students qualified and are admitted to private schools on scholarship, they have every right to be proud of such an achievement. We don't have such an attitude toward public and private universities I noticed. Let's see, if you attend Georgetown or University of Chicago, you are a loser and are betraying some kind of social compact ideal for not going to UW or WSU instead?

reader

Anonymous said...

It's tough to be a mold breaker, to not live according to stereotypes or live up to other's expectation.. Young adults and children are particularly susceptible to such burdens. Most of the time, adults aren't aware they are burdening children with their attitudes or opinions, especially when they don't mean to be unkind or feel they are comming from a good, well intended place. Here's the thing though, they aren't you or your children. If students start off life already in a challenging place, it takes great determination, energy, and spirit to move beyond those barriers. They don't need extra guilt or high pedestal. Support these students just like all others, with encouragement, positive modelling, and understanding.
-reader

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lynn said...

Here's a PowerPoint presentation the Rainier Scholars staff made to an Advanced Learning Task Force two years ago: http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/Migration/General/Talent%20development%20at%20Rainier%20Scholars.pdf?sessionid=387f1c9b56ba0467eec5adaf9a4e1c92

Jan said...

Reposting for anonymous (who forgot to give him/herself a name to avoid deletion:

"It's a tough program, the kids accepted spend the summer before sixth grade going to school from early morning until 5pm, and are given 4 hours of homework every night. So they would need to be an extremely disciplined type of kids, especially since many are from families where the adults work long hours and can't be there to help them . I can't see my kids being able to be that disciplined either with or without me hovering around nagging them. I've seen immigrants from cultures where kids have to work extremely long hours - either in jobs to help their parents or in schools - studying this much in the summer though. The kids would have to be really driven to achieve, and able to keep themselves from burning out. Seven years of this type of schedule to get into college, then four to nine years at University, that's a really long slog for this type of schedule. Maybe the program gets less grueling after the first few years (I only know a couple of younger kids in the program)?"

I have only known a couple of Rainier Scholars -- both in the 7th/8th years of a private middle school(I assume that during the 6th grade, they were doing the intensive 14 month program at a public school) -- and both more than 10 years ago, so perhaps the program has changed. My impression was that from 7th grade on, it WAS much less grueling. Most of what they were doing after the initial 14 months was just the program of the school they were in (though I think they had to maintain high grades, and there may have been ongoing supports/commitments). BOTH were incredible kids -- who worked incredibly hard in school, but I do think that things get more normal (at a high level of achievement) after that initial 14 month period.

Anonymous said...

I am the parent of a Rainier Scholar and it is, in fact, an amazing program. Jan is correct, once the kids 'graduate' from the Academic Phase, the rigor is (hopefully) found in their new school programs. My daughter is in Cohort 8 and is currently in the 3rd phase - Leadership Development and a Sr. at Franklin. It has been such a wonderful program for her and the dedication, support and resources poured into each child and their families have been life altering.

The funny thing is, I actually started reading this blog when she was in 7th grade and was put on the wait list for Spectrum at WMS. She was just shy of the cut off for APP and I was so incredibly frustrated that she'd just worked the hardest she'd ever worked and was potentially going to be stuck in non-challenging program because of the way the district runs AL.

I continue to read because of the wealth of information Melissa and Charlie provide. Thanks for all that you do to fight for our kids everyday. It's very much appreciated.

~Franklin Parent