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Central District students walk out to say annual teacher reshuffling unfairly targets Seattle’s ‘marginalized’ schools

Seattle school kids led by students at E Cherry’s Nova High School marched on City Hall Tuesday afternoon to protest the district’s enrollment-driven teacher transfer process and its effect on schools with strong LGBTQ, and student of color populations.

“We are marching and walking down to Seattle City Hall just to show that we stand with our teachers as much as they stand with us,” senior Casey Thomas told CHS about the walkout and rally. Thomas and student organizers say the district’s transfer of teachers targets marginalized students. “Schools up north are not being targeted,” Thomas said.

More than 30 teachers are being reassigned to different schools this year with two positions eliminated at Nova. Students Tuesday said they were also standing up for teacher transfers from E Union’s World School and the Interagency Academy in South Seattle.

The eliminated positions are part of the annual reshuffling at Seattle Public Schools after the start of the school year based on student attendance at individual schools and across the SPS system. In a statement prior to Tuesday’s walkout, SPS said no jobs were being eliminated as teachers are transferred around the district from under-enrolled schools to schools with higher-than-planned enrollment.

Enrollment across the city is about 700 students short of the district’s projections.

Around 260 students — about 100 fewer than were enrolled at the school in recent years — are part of Nova’s non-traditional educational system emphasizing personal choice and student-led curriculum. The school returned last year to its longtime home in the Horace Mann building on E Cherry from 18th Ave’s Meany campus to make way for construction to create a new middle school to serve the Capitol Hill area. Following the transfers, Nova will have 18 educators serving its students.

While the march targeted City Hall, Seattle Public Schools is run by the Seattle School Board, not the mayor. The district’s new superintendent Denise Juneau is currently holding a series of community meetings around the city. She’ll be in this area of the city next Tuesday night:

Tuesday, October 2, 5:30 – 8 p.m.

  • Town Hall for Students: 5:30 – 6:10 p.m.
  • Central Town Hall: 6:30 – 8 p.m.

Co-hosted with Seattle’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs
Location: Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center
104 17th Ave. S, Seattle, WA 98144

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