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The Most Diverse District in the Nation: A Closer Look at Tukwila School District

23 Nov

IMG_5381Welcome to the Tukwila School District! Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of us—or if you’re surprised that Tukwila is more than just Southcenter Mall. We’re small, with just 3,000 students, and often overshadowed by our larger district neighbors like Seattle, Renton, and Highline. But we have a national title of distinction that separates us from every other district in the U.S.: We are the most diverse in the nation.

Here are the statistics: Our families speak more than 80 world languages, and some of our schools come close to a 70-percent English Language Learner population. In addition, many are refugees and immigrants who are struggling with culture shock in addition to language barriers. For us that means we serve many children who have never been in a formal education setting before. Additionally, we have a high poverty rate; at one of our elementary schools, 25 percent of students are homeless.

Read this poem by Nepali refugee student Benu Ghimirey for just the briefest glimpse of what is like to leave your home behind for someplace utterly foreign: “I remember that / The first day of school / I got lost, like a fish losing water.” Some students describe “rivers of blood” in their homeland, or losing family members during the transition here.

IMG_4280And yet, none of that is what defines Tukwila. We are a district that embodies the American ideal of education as a pathway to equity and possibility. Our teachers say their classrooms are global communities with world-class and world-oriented learning. There is true multiculturalism, where no minority is the majority, and that is a lesson in itself. Every student is unique, every student matters. We have a new three-year strategic plan that capitalizes on these assets and outlines a roadmap for aligned school/family/community efforts to support all levels of learners.

As superintendent Nancy Coogan said, “A Tukwila School District diploma bestows a much bigger view of the world and a more expansive belief in what is possible than any other diploma … I guarantee they are learning at the same high levels as their peers across the state and nation, but they are able to imagine so much more. Their menu of post-high-school possibilities is much richer than other’s. Whatever path they select, they do so with intention and full awareness of a world filled with choices.”

Within this cultural mecca, we have much to celebrate:

Want to see what we’ve been up to? Check us out on Flickr, Facebook, and Youtube.

Comments are closed

The Most Diverse District in the Nation: A Closer Look at Tukwila School District

23 Nov

IMG_5381Welcome to the Tukwila School District! Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of us—or if you’re surprised that Tukwila is more than just Southcenter Mall. We’re small, with just 3,000 students, and often overshadowed by our larger district neighbors like Seattle, Renton, and Highline. But we have a national title of distinction that separates us from every other district in the U.S.: We are the most diverse in the nation.

Here are the statistics: Our families speak more than 80 world languages, and some of our schools come close to a 70-percent English Language Learner population. In addition, many are refugees and immigrants who are struggling with culture shock in addition to language barriers. For us that means we serve many children who have never been in a formal education setting before. Additionally, we have a high poverty rate; at one of our elementary schools, 25 percent of students are homeless.

Read this poem by Nepali refugee student Benu Ghimirey for just the briefest glimpse of what is like to leave your home behind for someplace utterly foreign: “I remember that / The first day of school / I got lost, like a fish losing water.” Some students describe “rivers of blood” in their homeland, or losing family members during the transition here.

IMG_4280And yet, none of that is what defines Tukwila. We are a district that embodies the American ideal of education as a pathway to equity and possibility. Our teachers say their classrooms are global communities with world-class and world-oriented learning. There is true multiculturalism, where no minority is the majority, and that is a lesson in itself. Every student is unique, every student matters. We have a new three-year strategic plan that capitalizes on these assets and outlines a roadmap for aligned school/family/community efforts to support all levels of learners.

As superintendent Nancy Coogan said, “A Tukwila School District diploma bestows a much bigger view of the world and a more expansive belief in what is possible than any other diploma … I guarantee they are learning at the same high levels as their peers across the state and nation, but they are able to imagine so much more. Their menu of post-high-school possibilities is much richer than other’s. Whatever path they select, they do so with intention and full awareness of a world filled with choices.”

Within this cultural mecca, we have much to celebrate:

Want to see what we’ve been up to? Check us out on Flickr, Facebook, and Youtube.

Comments are closed

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