Not all things are equal in Seattle Public Schools. If you’re lucky enough to land at a school like West Woodland Elementary, located in Ballard’s West Woodland neighborhood, the PTA coffers are full and ready to fund extra education opportunities for the kids in our community. Travel a short distance northeast to Licton Springs K-8, located in Seattle’s Licton Springs neighborhood, and those funds are less available.
West Woodland neighbor, Kimya Dawson wants your help bridging the gap. Seattle Public Schools’ budget doesn’t cover the total cost of a child’s education experience, and as a result, Licton Springs K-8 has created a long-term fund, the Sir Herbert Read Foundation, to financially support academic enhancement programs, and grounds improvement projects, that are not paid for by the state, city or school district.
Dawson’s drive to support Licton Springs K-8 is fueled by personal experience. You can read her story below, reprinted with permission, and help fund the life-changing programs offered by Licton Springs K-8.
Licton Springs K-8 photo courtesy Seattle Public Schools.
From Kimya Dawson:
“Licton Springs K-8 (formerly named Pinehurst and AS1) is a public school with a Native Heritage and Social Justice focus that has a large population of Native students, students eligible for Free & Reduced lunch, Distinct (Special Education & Access) Program students. The community works hard to create a safe and inclusive space for our Two Spirited & LGBTQ and non-binary students and families. The school does an incredible job of catching kids who would fall through the cracks at bigger more traditional schools. Since Licton Springs K-8 is a small alternative school and the majority of families are low income, it just isn’t possible to get the kind of in-house donations that other public schools get so for my birthday, which is on the 17th, I am asking for donations for the school.
One thing the school raises money for is to make sure all of the 8th graders can participate in Rites Of Passage (“RITES is an outdoor education experience offered to LSK8 8th graders. Over the course of 8th grade, through a series of team-building exercises, outdoor activities, and community service actions, scholars acquire outdoor and collaborative skills. This year-long skill-building culminates in a week-long outdoor experience in June, a backpacking and canoeing coming-of-age adventure that transforms the lives of its participants.”)
Green Acres, 1985. Dawson was in 8th grade.
When I was in middle school I was a unique emotional kid and a struggling learner and being placed into TAP (The Alternative Program) saved me. Our big trip to Green Acres where we learned wilderness survival skills and did team/community building work is one of the most memorable life changing experiences I ever had and one of the turning points that I credit for helping me trust myself on my journey in life as a creative person that didn’t have to go with the flow. Had I not been accepted in an alternative learning setting for who I was with all my quirks I might not be here today and I most likely wouldn’t be the person I am today. (I’ll put a photo from this trip in the comments).
The Option (alternative) Schools in Seattle Public School District all feel the push from the district to become more conventional and focus more on test results which can cause things like social and emotional progress to be overlooked. And as Seattle grows and changes it becomes harder for these types of schools to not feel like their histories and missions are being threatened by gentrification and people who see the unconventional as broken instead of as an important piece that serves a special purpose.
Another big part of the school is creating an environment where people support each other through things like the clothing swap and Holiday Bazaar. And even though the school has limited resources and is trying to do some of its own fundraising for things (like so teachers don’t have to pay for supplies out of pocket, or to hopefully someday be able to offer aftercare) everyone still works hard to support other people in need throughout the local community and the world. This year the 8th graders monthly bake sale money is being donated to buy school supplies for students in Haiti.
If you appreciate me and the big old weirdo pajama wearing song singing grandpa that I have become please help me support young scholars who are being given the same chance to learn and grow and be wild and compassionate and inclusive and empathetic citizens of the world. Help support the school that sees everyone and all their trauma and baggage and uniqueness as an important beautiful piece of the puzzle that makes the community and world better and helps them become great because of who they are rather than in spite of who they are.
Sir Herbert Read Consortium is the non-profit fundraising organization for Licton Springs K-8.
Thanks. Every little bit helps and will be greatly appreciated.”