Parents and Community Members
United States of America

We want to ensure that students have the opportunity to attend their local high school. We believe that community should be the overriding principle, not just at the elementary and middle school levels, but for high school as well.

Please read our letter to the Board of Directors for the Seattle Public Schools and sign your name to it if you agree with our view.

To the Board of Directors for Seattle Public Schools:

We are Ballard residents, parents, and community members who believe that community schools should be a goal at every level: elementary, middle, and high school. In a recent SPS news release, Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson is quoted as saying, "Every student deserves to be served in a high quality school close to home, and every family should expect us to deliver on that goal." We couldn't agree more, and this goal needs to be stressed at all levels--including high school.

Following are the main reasons that students should have an opportunity to attend the high school of the community in which they live:

1. Promotes a student's physical and mental health

Within a certain radius of the school, it is easy for children to walk or bike to school, which promotes physical health. Students who walk to school also spend less time in transit, so they have more time for studies or extracurricular activities that further promote physical and emotional health, as well as deepening or expanding their knowledge (through sports, music, clubs).

2. Avoids difficult or unsafe transfers

Many high school students will use Metro buses as transportation to school. However, Metro bus routes are not necessarily set up well to transport students from a given area of the city to another. Depending on the assignment boundaries, students might need to transfer once or twice between home and school. On some routes, these transfers may be made at high-crime locations. We recommend that the District create the boundaries to minimize the number of bus transfers, particularly in high-crime areas.

3. Encourages Parent Involvement

Student achievement improves when parents are involved in their local school. Often this involvement drops in high school, which is a time when students are balancing challenging courses with complicated social schedules--they need that parent support. Parents are more likely to stay connected to their child’s progress and school activities when they are close by. As the SPS News Release states, "It's far easier to see a child's performance or attend a school meeting when you're traveling blocks instead of miles."

4. Encourages Community Connections and Involvement

Nationally, there is much talk of civic responsibility and people being involved in their communities. How can adolescents participate in this when they spend hours each week in transit between their school community and their home community? It is vital that we teach adolescents the importance of community and this can be done much more effectively when they are connected to that community through both their school and home. Schools also become stronger when the community has a relationship with their local school. Neighborhood schools provide an opportunity for neighbors to get to know one another, promote civic involvement and volunteerism, and provide opportunities for neighborhood business involvement in area schools.

When you are looking at the high school component of the student assignment plan, we hope you will consider the importance of community schools at the high school level.


Ballard Parents and Community Members

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The Supporting Community Schools written by Eric Blumhagen, Mary Beth Lambert, and Anne Forester petition to Parents and Community Members was written by Anne Forester and is in the category Education at GoPetition.