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Leschi, A Community School

Updated: Feb 23, 2022

Leschi Community Council arranged a special January meeting to introduce our local school to the community. The meeting was opened by Benson Wilder, PTA President, who described how he and wife wanted to live in the CD to be close to family members and checked out Leschi School. They liked the commitment to social justice, the diverse population and the emphasis on community events and community building.

After introducing Principal Stephen Liu, we heard a similar message of community. Mr. Liu stressed the focus on racial equity and social justice. He said the school has 3 rules: Respectful, Responsible, Safe. The students help define these rules and craft the meaning together with staff.

There are three levels of education: general education, special education for those with an IEP (Individual Education Plan) and Advanced Learning. The district is planning to refer all students for advanced learning.

Kindergarten registration is open now. There will be a June orientation and a jump start in August. The PTA will arrange meet-ups for students and families.

September 7 is the first day of school for grades 1–12 throughout the city. Kindergarten students will start on September 12. Leschi is an early start school: 7:55am; this means early dismissal: 2:25pm. While this can be an issue for working parents, there are numerous after school options, the most popular being Launch Learning.

Launch’s website describes this program: “Launch teachers collaborate with one another as well as with public school teachers to create lesson plans that maximize enrichment learning. We incorporate teacher feedback and observations to identify student needs and plan activities with specific learning objectives that support each child while remaining fun and inclusive for everyone.” Launch is a 40-year-old program and longtime residents may know it as the Community Day School.

Mr. Liu described what makes Leschi special? He listed the PTA as the number one reason; a strong PTA is critical to a successful school. Leschi is community based and well supported by the community, including local businesses and a long list of organizations. In non-Covid times, the events with family and community are important. He mentioned the Taste of Leschi, a potluck where families bring a favorite dish, perhaps an ethnic offering or maybe just a favorite of their birth state.

Many photos were shown, including one of the gym which has a climbing wall (sounds very Northwest!) and unicycles. Another photo showed our wonderful crossing guard, Ms. Henrietta Price who has been safely crossing students across the street for more than 20 years. Leschi CC presented her with the Leschi Star award a few years ago. Mr. Donaldson, the Family Support Worker, was also shown. He has been an important fixture at Leschi School for more than 20 years and has been recognized by the city for his support and resourcefulness.

Questions asked during the Q and A included one about in person tours: perhaps in the summer. Demographics: most teachers are white and have Master’s degrees. Student ratio is 37% white which bears out the new census findings: a majority of Seattle children are children of color. Construction: 4 new classrooms are being built; two will probably be for pre-school classes and there will be an expansion of the office in this construction and improved safety. The current layout offers access to the entire school once you get inside the main door. And how can we help? Once we are able to meet in person, volunteers are always needed! Support our community school!

~Diane Snell


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