Seattle School for Boys will open near 23rd and Madison for the 2019-2020 school year, bringing an all-boys private middle school option to the Central District.
“I started my career teaching at an all boys school on the East Coast, and after seeing the impact a single gender environment has on the boys, it made sense for there to be an all-boys middle school in Seattle,” said Nick Creach, head of Seattle School for Boys.
Creach left his position as head of Seattle Academy’s middle school to teach and serve as the head of Seattle School for Boys. Creach co-founded SSB with fellow teacher Jerome Hunter, and Drew Markham who will serve as the school’s board chair.
The partnership behind the school believes fulfilling the need for an all boys middle school option in the Central District was necessary after exploring research on differences in learning and identity development between the sexes in the middle school years.
“The research I’ve been reading shows boys fall off a little bit when they’re expected to sit in their seats and be more passive learners in the middle school years,” said Creach, “There’s a pretty big need to serve our boys by helping them hone their communication skills, setting a strong foundation for them to succeed in whatever environment they choose to go onto after us.”
While Creach advocates for so-called single gender education, he believes the school’s focus on developing its students intrapersonal understanding and communication abilities will also serve gender non-conforming students in their time at SSB.
“In the middle school years, kids start to identify themselves and who they are through their own lens. We want to help foster that and help the boys navigate identity as they learn to develop their own understanding of their identity,” said Creach.
UPDATE: There are no other all boys middle schools in the Central District. Seattle Girls’ School and Lake Washington Girls Middle School are other single gender options in the area. Both are also private.
Standard Seattle School for Boys tuition for the 2019-2020 year is $10,000 but the school offers additional tier pricing. “Tiers are assigned to students based on the review of a family’s financial data by a third-party service that has been engaged by SSB,” the school’s tuition information page reads.
Creach is creating a curriculum providing boys with plenty of opportunities for hands-on, experiential learning to facilitate introspection and personal growth. Creach calls this framework social emotional learning.
“Social emotional learning will be foundational in our curriculum. We want boys to understand what’s going on inside them as we talk about identity,” said Creach, “If a student acts out or misbehaves if it’s an opportunity for growth; we want to lean into that and help coach and mentor our students to be better people, bringing out their best selves.”
The projects and community outreach SSB students will engage in include use of nearby parks and the YMCA, along with a capstone project where each of the boys will a tiny house over the course of a school year. SSB will donate tiny homes to a service agency. According to Creach, he and his co-founders plan to keep brainstorming similar projects for each class.
Administrators have discussed the school’s emphasis on social emotional learning with prospective families and students while coordinating incoming 6th and 7th grade classes of 40 boys. The school will add 8th grade the following year.
Seattle School for Boys is in the process of remodeling spaces in the Ebenezer Church where the school is leasing space but is not affiliated with the congregation. In the meantime, Creach, Markham, and Hunter are looking to reach out to more prospective families.
“We’re trying to grow our current enrollment by creating awareness of and promoting the great work that we’re doing. We’re meeting prospective families trying to get a better sense of who they are, their boy, and give them a sense of what we offer,” said Creach.
More information about Seattle School for Boys can be found at seattleschoolforboys.org.
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