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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Seattle University Helps Bailey Gatzert; Wins National Attention

Good story over at the Times about the heroic efforts on the part of Seattle University to help support Bailey Gatzert Elementary.

In the past year, Seattle University has flooded the Central District's Bailey Gatzert — Seattle's highest-poverty elementary school — with nearly 100 trained student volunteers. The college students help younger children with the most basic of skills and give them after-school enrichment in subjects such as science, chess, literacy and video production.

But that only scratches the surface of an ambitious initiative funded by the private university and aimed at everyone living in the Bailey Gatzert neighborhood. It includes health-care help from nursing students, legal help from law-school students, a full-time coordinator for the school's many assistance programs, and staff and faculty support for many facets of the initiative.

On Monday, Seattle University will receive a top honor for doing so: the 2012 President's Higher Education Community Service Award, the highest recognition the federal government gives to a college or university for commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.

Thank you, thank you Seattle University.   And, congratulations on your award.

And a shout-out to the former Whittier principal and now principal at B-G, Greg Imel.  Greg could have stayed at Whittier but chose to seek out more challenging situations, first at Dunlap and now at B-G.  He's quiet but effective and works well with parents. (At least that's my experience.)

About B-G:

Bailey Gatzert has similarly tough statistics. Assessments show entering kindergartners lag about a year behind students elsewhere in the district, and 96 percent are on free- or reduced-price lunch — the highest percentage of any school in Seattle.

More than 40 students are from homeless families, living in shelters or sometimes even cars. Many are the children of refugees from Somalia and other countries, and their parents do not speak English.

But,


Sally Haber, associate director for the university's Center for Service and Community Engagement, noted that Seattle University students have been tutoring Bailey Gatzert students for 20 years. But the initiative has taken the work to a different level: "It's a lot more intentional and focused."

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Once again Seattle University shows its classiness and value in the education arena. A partnership that uplifts the community, not divides it.

Compare/contrast with Stritikus's leadership at UW. And of course the UW/TFA debacle on his watch. Just saying...

SavvyVoter

Juana said...

I agree, Savvy Voter. It boggles my mind that Stritikus would push for TFA. So what is the multiple-year program that his department offers good for when you can whiz through a 5-week program and be considered ready to teach?

Anonymous said...

This is the Catholic Church I remember. Seattle U is doing great things, quietly. I hope the rest of the Church can get it's mojo back and do good in the world, instead of focusing on things that don't matter.

-Go Jesuits

LG said...

Yes, kudos to SU!

And look at all it takes to really make a difference in a school.

Anonymous said...

Is there any information on the efficacy of SU's involvement in BG? Would be nice to see the lessons learned and resulting improvements clearly laid out so others could potentially replicate the most successful pieces.
SPS Mom

Anonymous said...

As a Seattle U community member, I believe this approach works.

What if every struggling school in SPS had an organization that funneled volunteers, energy, and money in its direction? Forexample, I know Windermere encourages its employees to do huge volunteerimng in schools. What if they confined their efforts to a school or two?

BTW Windermere volunteers are amazing-- I've seen them construct a playground or a structure in just a weekend.


Volunteers Make the Difference

Maureen said...

I love this model and think it will end up working better than any charter school could. I'm so glad SU is getting recognition for their commitment to the community.

Kate Martin said...

Bringing resource partnerships to schools is so essential. I've been advocating for a Community Schools model at Wilson-Pacific for BEX IV. That model allows for the role of a services coordinator which is essential for the volunteer efforts to work. North Seattle CC would be a service partner. Many other service partners would also be cultivated. Without a coordinator it's hard to sustain the efforts of volunteers and organizations. I think a success coordinator to help kids make personal development plans and help them navigate it is essential as well. I applaud SU for their focus and tenacity in this work.

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