Seattle School District Interim Superintendent Susan Enfield released this letter this afternoon in response to recent rumors about Rainier Beach High School.
Dear Rainier Beach High School community,
I am aware of concerns about your school, and I want to personally assure you that there are no discussions about closing Rainier Beach High School for the 2011-2012 school year. I apologize for any confusion about this, and reassure you that improving student achievement at Rainier Beach High School continues to be a top priority for Seattle Public Schools.
For the 2011-2012 school year, Rainier Beach will see new leadership, continued community partnerships and the addition of a tenth grade academy program building on the success of the current ninth grade academy program.
We are looking for a new principal to start this summer. Having the right leader in place is key at Rainier Beach High School, and we want a person who has experience transforming a diverse urban high school. We also hope to find someone with knowledge of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. To read the full job description, visit: http://agency.governmentjobs.com/seattleschools/job_bulletin.cfm?JobID=314653.
The interview process is underway, and top candidates will visit the school, meet with students, staff and parents, and then write a reflection on that experience. Once the hiring decision is made, the District will work with the new principal to ensure he or she is in the classrooms and monitoring teaching quality and student needs. Starting in the fall, there will be two Executive Directors of Education for the Southeast Region, which means more hands-on time with the new Rainier Beach administration.
The new principal will also continue to work with the Rainier Beach’s School Design Team to develop and implement transformative changes to the school’s culture, climate and academic program for our students.
Rainier Beach High School Design Team
While Rainier Beach High School did not receive a Federal School Improvement Grant, the Design Team that was formed to apply for the funding is continuing to meet. The Design Team is focused on developing and implementing plans beginning in fall 2011 that will lead to transformative changes.
Design Team members include representatives from the various stakeholder groups (i.e., students, parents, teachers, staff, community and central administration). In addition to the core group, the Design Team has created a number of work groups to involve more members of the school community and to ensure that the work moves forward. These work groups include:
- Principal Selection Committee (selects, interviews and recommends the top three candidates to the Superintendent).
- Academic Program Team (develops and recommends the master schedule of course offerings, supports the development of the International Baccalaureate program, identifies and recommends Career and Technical Education electives as well as the Ninth and Tenth Grade academies).
- School Climate Team (identifies and recommends strategies to promote a positive school culture and climate in support of the school’s academic program).
- Communications Team (creates connections between Rainier Beach High School and its feeder middle school programs, fosters outreach to the community regarding positive changes to the school, and helps plan and schedule community engagement activities).
- Professional Development Team (works with school’s building leadership team to align the school’s professional development for staff with the various school improvement initiatives).
Ninth and Tenth Grade Academy Programs
During the 2010-2011 school year, Rainier Beach implemented a Ninth Grade Academy program that has produced significant improvement in students’ academic achievement. The focus of the program has been on closing the gaps in students’ content knowledge and skill to increase their potential for success in high school. A group of selected teachers have collaboratively worked to ensure the success of each student within the ninth grade program.
The intent is to replicate and build on this success during the 2011-2012 school year by establishing a comparable Tenth Grade Academy program. Ultimately, the goal is to prepare students well for college and careers and ensure that they are able to take advantage of a range of opportunities in their junior and senior years of high school, including college-level course offerings (AP and IB), career-oriented electives and arts opportunities.
If you have any additional questions about Rainier Beach High School, please contact Executive Director Michael Tolley (firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-252-0150). Like every school, we will continue monitoring enrollment and student achievement, and if we choose to explore significant changes beyond the current plan we will engage the community in the conversation. I appreciate the community’s concern about RBHS, and I want to assure you that we look forward to the exciting changes for the 2011-2012 school year.
Susan Enfield, Ed.D.
Seattle Public Schools