Rainier Beach Receives National Recognition

Rainier Beach High School Receives National Recognition
Posted on 09/12/2016
Rainier Beach students in front of schools

Rainier Beach High School is one of 20 schools from across the country to be named a “School of Opportunity” by the National Education Policy Center.

The coveted national designation honors public high schools that engage in practices that build on students’ strengths and create supported learning opportunities for all students.

“Rainier Beach’s remarkable school turnaround particularly stood out to the national team of reviewers,” said Carol Burris, School of Opportunity project co-director. “In 2010, the school was on the brink of closure, and low enrollment was forcing the school to cut many classes. But the community came together to resuscitate the school.”

Applications went through four levels of screening by review teams comprised of researchers, teachers, policy makers and administrators, who looked at school practices including how a school creates and maintains a healthy school culture, how a school broadens and enriches their curriculum, how a school uses a variety of assessments designed to respond to student needs, and how a school supports teachers as professionals.

After low enrollment threatened to close the school, the Rainier Beach High School community rallied. Together, staff, families, and district leaders implemented the school’s International Baccalaureate (IB) program which offers students pathways to higher education. Today, all 11th and 12th grade students take at least one IB class and the student population has more than doubled. The school also partners with several community-based organizations and holds monthly “Community Cafes” where teachers work with parents.

“We are honored to be recognized for the work we do every day to ensure that all students receive a world class education,” said Principal Keith Smith. “Students like ours are too often denied opportunities and access. We are proud that our work can serve as an exception to that trend and an example of what greater equity in education looks like.”

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), based at the University of Colorado Boulder, sponsors the Schools of Opportunity project, which identifies excellent public high schools that actively strive to close opportunity gaps the differences in opportunities and resources that drive the well-known achievement gaps.

Click here to visit the Rainier Beach High School website.

For more information about the NEPC’s Schools of Opportunity project, including descriptions of all recognized schools, visit www.opportunitygap.com.

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