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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Rainer Beach Receives IB Authorization

I am thrilled to announce that Rainier Beach High School, over three years of hard work, yesterday received their official authorization letter to be an International Baccalaureate high school.

From Colin Pierce, the IB Coordinator at RBHS:

We are extremely proud of RBHS's new designation as an IB World School, and it is gratifying that the IB Organization - an organization responsible for setting the international standard for high quality curriculum and assessment - has recognized the hard work we have been doing over the past three years.  Their stamp of approval is an affirmation that we have the staff and systems in place to offer the level of challenge and quality of learning required for an IB education.  Our parents, students, and community are beyond excisted to  engage the opportunity this program presents us with.  

From the district:

International Baccalaureate is a college-preparatory program that includes two years of courses in six subjects. At the end, students take exams, which are scored by representatives appointed by the IB organization, a non-profit education group based in Switzerland.

The IB diploma is recognized by 1,800 universities and students can earn college credit based on the results of end-of-course exams.

“I want to congratulate the entire Rainier Beach community -- staff, students and parents -- on receiving IB accreditation,” Seattle Schools Superintendent José Banda said. “IB is considered one of the most successful and prestigious high school programs in the U.S., and the IB organization grants approval for only a small number of schools nationwide.”

It is the school’s intent to ensure that all students graduating from Rainier Beach will take at least one IB class in their junior and senior years, he (Pierce) added.

10 comments:

Josh Hayes said...

This is terrific. I hope this will help drive up enrollment at RB, and moreover, that kids will not just attempt this program, but thrive there. My own son is in the midst of the IB at Ingraham, and it is a challenging road, but well worth the effort. Congratulations to Rainier Beach staff, students, and families, for making this happen! Bon chance!

Anonymous said...

I am very encouraged by this. I hope the school can work to start with more rigor for 9th & 10th graders to prepare them all for the intensity of the IB program in 11th grade.

The school's location—though in a very sketchy part of the neighborhood—also sits right across the street from Lake Washington—it could be a jewel with the right direction from the principal and staff and support from the district.

Solvay Girl

Melissa Westbrook said...

I am asking - and will continue to ask ALL - of the mayoral candidates what they will do to support the schools in the Rainier Valley. I asked Tim Burgess on Tuesday night at a community meeting.

He said that one thing was that the light rail station was designed without accompanying businesses and that did not help the problem.

He also said that the policing had to be more everyday and less coming in with a "clean-up" sweep.

I told him that the district's job was to keep the school safe but community policing for those schools in that area is the City's job and that it was vital for the enrollment plan as well as student safety (and parent peace of mind) to make that area stronger and safer.

Rainier Beach HS is doing its job. I would like to see the City do its job.

katie said...

Does this mean that they will begin to restrict enrollment at Seatlh? I know there are already zero choice seats but is there some sort of partnership in place. The program at Seatlh can't expand and may need to contract because of the needs of Gen Ed students.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I would assume if you want to be in an IB program, you would have to apply to the school closest to you. Good question to ask Tracy Libros.

Anonymous said...

Although clearly the students in the south end deserve to be able to attend school without worrying about safety; the problem with removing the criminal element around Rainier Beach through policing is that the criminals will simply move to another neighborhood, and then the schools there will be unsafe. Also, when the police moves on to the next trouble spot, these criminals will just move back to Rainier Valley. We need more permanent solutions, such as free universal preschools, and intensive family support services for those who need them. We need to alleviate the grinding poverty that is the root cause of crime. We also need to change the thinking, the feeling of hopelessness, powerlessness and inevitability that lead to participation in gangs. Young people must be made to believe that they can escape poverty by getting a good education, that they are not comdemned to dying young in a gang shooting, or to spend their lives in and out of prison, because they were born poor; that there are other ways to succeed than through having great athletic or musical talent.

CCA

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, CCA, if they build up businesses around the light rail station (as I wrote previously), they will "alleviate the grinding poverty." Or, at least it's a step in the right direction.

Jet City mom said...

Grinding poverty? I thought the area around Rainier Beach high school was fairly nice.
It doesnt look any more run down than the area around Ingraham or Nathan Hale.

Whats the sketchy element at Franklin like?
Rainier Ave does tend to attract a less desirable element, how does that affect the school?

Anonymous said...

I was talking about the link between poverty and crime in general, not necessarily just about Rainier Valley. Poverty and crime can happen everywhere, we need more permanent solutions than just shifting it around town. I do not live in that area but I have many friends there and used to visit often. My belief that the criminal element will just move to another area, sometimes only a few blocks away to avoid any increased policing, comes from talking to my friends and reading the Rainier Valley Blog. Also, there is a concern amongst my friends that if the area get gentrified, then the rents will go up higher than the people who are living there now can pay, and they will get driven out of Seattle completely.

CCA

Anonymous said...

The corner of Henderson and Rainier is one of the most dangerous in the city—though there are similar corners in other areas. There is a lot of gang activity, shootings, and burglary in the immediate neighborhoods. There is also a lot of gun violence in the south end in general, as well as many muggings centered around the light rail stations. Many of the perps are under 18.

The Rainier Beach area is one of the most checkerboard of the city. Though the homes on Pritchard Island and along Lake Washington are fabulous, there are many run-down rental homes close to the school and along Rainier. The 98118 zipcode is one of the most diverse in the nation—both economically and racially.

Middle and upper-income families of all races have been avoiding RBHS for at least 10 years. The reasons varied from concerns about safety to the school's academic rigor and climate and emphasis on sports.

The school community and active PTA is working very hard to change the things it can to improve the rigor. The new principal is doing much to change the climate. As Melissa noted, it is now up to the City to improve the safety of the neighborhood.

Solvay Girl