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Monday, January 31, 2011

Did You Know About the School At Northgate Mall?

Another one of the hidden alternatives in SPS is Middle College High School in the Northgate Mall. I've known about this one for a long time and the Maple Leaf Life blog did a story on it Saturday. From the story:

The school accepts students ages 16 to 20, many of whom are at risk of not graduating or who already may have dropped out of the traditional school setting.

“Rather than giving up on graduating,” said Brunton, shown at right, “we help them catch up – catch up on graduating, catch up on life.

Although the space is available to the alternative public school for free through a partnership with the mall’s Simon Youth Foundation, budget cuts throughout the Seattle School District are taking a toll on the school, which has seen its teaching staff reduced from five to two teachers since it opened 10 years ago.

Senior Delaney Grieve, the mind behind this weekend’s bake sale, speaks with pride about the school in a way that’s rare in many high school students: “It’s small and the teachers are so helpful,” she said. “They get you on track to graduate if you’re not going to, and the school has great scholarships.”

That’s where the Simon Youth Foundation comes back into the picture. Not only do Simon malls across the nation house schools similar to Northgate MCHS, but the Simon Youth Foundation also offers scholarships to those students.

Nearby North Seattle Community College is also a part of this unique public-private partnership, which helps prepare students for college by allowing them to work independently.

They will be having a silent auction on March 3 from 5-7 (more details to come).

This is one of those outreach programs that is important even though it serves a small number of students. If we are serious about trying multiple ways to reach and graduate every student, it is important to keep programs like this alive. (I will gently say that Kay Smith-Blum made it clear that the Board is going to protect sports. Okay but don't do that at the expense of programs like this one.)

14 comments:

anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anonymous said...

I spoke with a counselor at Middle College Northgate earlier this year. Sadly she said that the school was probably going to lose its funding this year, and close. She felt strongly that this would be their last year of operation, but said it all depended on MGJ and the Board. She said they have faced closure every year for the last 4 years.

So there you have it. One of few programs in SPS that is designed to reach struggling, at risk students, and it is in jeopardy. Year after year.

Marshall was another program that served this population, and it is gone too.

Jet City mom said...

Didn't this school used to be housed at SCCC?
Is there another program there?

The district website says there are four locations- but is that info outdated?


Four Sites available to choose from:

American Indian Heritage
Northgate Mall
South Seattle Community College
University of Washington

Melissa Westbrook said...

I don't know what has happened but I suspect there is only one left.

hschinske said...

Another opportunity that people should know about is the CEO program at Shoreline Community College (not an SPS program). http://www.shoreline.edu/ceo/

"The Career Education Options program offers out-of-school individuals aged 16-21, without a high school diploma, the chance to return to school for the education and job training needed for a successful career. The CEO program provides the needed tools to succeed in the college environment.

What does the CEO Program provide?

The program provides the following for qualifying students:

* Education and training toward a certificate or degree in a professional-technical program at SCC
* Tuition, fees and books
* Career exploration and educational planning
* Individual support services

Eligibility

To qualify, you need to be 16 to 21 years old, and not currently enrolled in high school. You can enter CEO whether or not you've earned a GED, but NOT if you have a high school diploma."

Helen Schinske

Kate Martin said...

One of my 20 year old son's friends who dropped out of Roosevelt finished at Northgate Simon Academy. He is a math whiz and an advanced motor head. He really liked it at Simon.

Several of my younger son's friends who dropped out of Ballard finished at UW Middle College.

Another bunch of them who dropped out went to the Shoreline program. Each of these kids is bright. None of them are poor. All of them have caring functioning 2 parent families.

The "comprehensive" high school model and accompanying curriculum is very unappealing for a lot of kids. I thank my stars for Running Start or my younger son would be a drop out.

Charlie Mas said...

"The "comprehensive" high school model and accompanying curriculum is very unappealing for a lot of kids."

Very true.

If Middle College closes, then what will be their options?

There isn't much. The NOVA Project isn't for everyone. Neither are all of these students necessarily a good fit with other Safety Net schools like Interagency or South Lake.

This would be a really grim loss of service and one that is of really questionable wisdom.

Jet City mom said...

The "comprehensive" high school model and accompanying curriculum is very unappealing for a lot of kids.

I agree.
A friend of my daughters transferred to Middle College( from a private high school), his parents were also functioning & supportive BTW ( In fact one parent had also been a Seattle school board director), he finished up high school, took college transfer classes & graduated from the University of Chicago a few years later.

We need more alternatives for kids, not fewer.

seattle citizen said...

When they were in the process of trying to close Marshall, some teachers there put together a detailed plan for transformation into what is now commonly referred to as a "community school." The hope was to create a model that better served students in order to convince the district to keep it open and to meet need.
This plan was for a "community" school that was beyond what we now think about when we hear that term. "Community School," as it is currently perceived, uses the community to rally around students. The Marshall "Ravenna Blvd Academy" would have done this and also made the school OF the community, by being open early and late, by offering adult education and community endeavors such as theater and art...The intent was to change the school into a hub, not just of the community but into a global hub with online learning and "satellite" campuses run in partnership with institutions in other countries.

The plan that was produced ran over a hundred pages and was very detailed: It was basically a business plan, and it was shopped around to various community people who gave it high marks for meeting the needs of students who were not finding an education in the comprehensive schools.

They closed Marshall anyway, of course, and since then the "Safety Net" programs have been whittled away at (the idea seems to be that students who are struggling can have their needs met IN the sending (comprehensive) schools, rather than falling out of the system and having to go to some stand-alone program.

There has been some slight progress towards this, but as has been pointed out here and elsewhere, some students just do better in schools that are NOT the comprehensives.

If Middle College goes, as did Aviation High down at Boeing Field, Marshall, and some interagencies programs that were consolidated, this will further reduce the options for students who are not wanting to be in, or aren't in, the "regular" programs.

If cuts further effect the "alternative" option programs, as well, we will see more reduction.

There seems to be a consolidation at work, a drawing back to basic, "comprehensive" school services (and there, to merely Math, Reading and Writing." This seems to fly in the face for what is extolled around the country as a good thing: variety and choice. Particularly when the students who need it are themselves struggling under great burdens outside of school.

Why can't Middle College be moved to the Marshall building and expanded? They've already got partnerships with NSCC, and perhaps Simon will continue the relationship. The program could grow into a true educational hub for the northend and elsewhere, rallying the community around the students and providing opportunity for ALL students, young and old. Heck, there's already an elder-program leasing space in Marshall, they can be part of it, too!

Save Middle College, Save Southlake, save the variety of programs that meet a vareity of needs...expand these options, don't diminish them!

Sahila said...

seems relevant to the discussion on the craziness of closing programmes that work>>>

when life imitates art

anonymous said...

There is also a middle college on the UW campus.

GreyWatch said...

@ Seattle Citizen - the model you describe sounds much like what I'm hearing from human services and other worlds as the best approach to do more with less given the funding climate AND provide a community centered approach to delivering services -- meeting the needs of everyone in the neighborhood, not just a particular demographic (e.g., school age kids, older adults). I know this is an approach the Mayor would like to see implemented more.

Jan said...

Emeraldkity: Have you considered seeing whether your former school board friend would be willing to take up the cudgel on behalf of Middle College and testify, write letters, etc? With so much damage being done (by the implementation of the strategic plan and budget cuts) to the "big" populations, the smaller ones (homeless kids who move often, and now will have to change schools yearly -- despite board directives to avoid this, special ed kids who are losing class space to overcrowding, IAs to budget cuts, and targeted instruction to the insanity of the new delivery model, and "non traditional" kids who are losing their schools to program closures) are really getting hammered.

Jan said...

There was a great article about Middle College High School (the one on the UW campus) in the ST last June. The link is here:
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/jerrylarge/2012109946_jdl14.html

The two teachers wrote and taught their own curricula, each at a college level. The kids loved it. It sounded really great! We are wasting SOOO much money by dismantling and throwing away good programs that people have spent years and many dollars and hours putting together.

And it is so horrible for kids to eliminate the options that keep some of them in school and moving forward. How can the District say the things it says about graduation rates, etc. etc. -- and then throw away these programs?