The New School Foundation has awarded a $1.3 million grant to Seattle Public Schools to benefit the New School at South Shore for the 2007-08 school year.
This is the largest private grant received by Seattle Public Schools this year and is the sixth annual grant for the school from the foundation.
The school serves pre-kindergarten to fourth grade this year and will grow to become a pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade school by 2010.
The New School serves the Rainier Beach neighborhood, and its students reflect the economic and ethnic diversity of that community. The partnership between the district and the foundation at the New School has produced outstanding outcomes, virtually eliminating the achievement gap at the school.
This means that White students and students of color, as well as low-income and higher-income students, perform at almost the same level. For example, 97 percent of the school's second-graders tested at or above state reading last year. And, on the third grade Washington Assessment of Student Learning tests – taken in the Spring of 2006 – low-income students performed on par with their non-low-income classmates on both the reading and math portions of the test, and the overall scores were well above district and state averages.
"The New School partnership helps our district learn more about family engagement and a whole child emphasis," said SPS Superintendent Raj Manhas. "The New School's families come from a remarkable range of backgrounds and cultures, and they are all welcome and involved in the school's community. I know this is a key ingredient in the impressive academic performance of the New School's students.
We owe thanks to the New School Foundation for their support of our shared vision for this model school and the longevity of their generous gift."
The New School is a regular public school that operates under the same policies and regulations and receives the same funding as other schools in the district.
The funds from the New School Foundation supplement the regular public funding to add a year of pre-kindergarten and full-day kindergarten, reduce class sizes, add instructional support, and supplement the health and social services available to students and families.
Through home visits, multiple events throughout the year, translated materials and other meaningful engagement opportunities, families are provided a wide variety of ways to be involved in and support their children's learning experiences.
With the Foundation's grant, the New School will operate with one-third more funding than most other public schools in Seattle.
At this level, the funding for the school is comparable to other well-funded public school districts across the nation, such as Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Newark.
"The New School Foundation's board and donors believe that the level of funding available to public schools in our state is just not enough to achieve great outcomes for all children.
We hope this partnership will show that additional funds, strategically invested, can assure that all children in public schools will excel," said Laura Kohn, executive director of the New School Foundation.
The New School will be temporarily located at the Columbia building for the next two years while the South Shore building they currently occupy is rebuilt to accommodate pre-kindergarten through eighth grade students.
Enrollment in the New School program will continue to be based on family proximity to the corner of Rainier and Henderson, where the South Shore building is located.
Together, the rebuilt New School, the new facility for South Lake Alternative High School, Dunlap Elementary School, Rainier Beach High School, and the Rainier Beach Community Center facilities, will constitute a pre-kindergarten to 12th grade educational and recreational complex for families in this area.