With an enrollment of about 400 students, Dearborn Park takes seriously it’s responsibility to provide every student with an excellent, holistic education. Dearborn is a dual-language emersion school which embeds Spanish, Mandarin, and English into instruction. As one of the most diverse schools in Seattle, students at Dearborn come from families representing over 25 unique languages and cultures. About 70% of students at Dearborn come from low-income families, and about 40% are English Language Learners. Dearborn is a school where joy is always in the air, families and community members are active and engaged, and staff care deeply about the students they serve.
One powerful support that Seneca has been prioritizing with its SPS partners (including Dearborn) is focusing on the Teacher-Student relationship. Research has consistently shown that the relationship between a student and their teacher is one of the greatest factors in student success. This is sometimes referred to as the invisible classroom – “a collection of continuously active neurological and human connections that have an immense effect on learning but little to do with the actual content of the lesson (Olson, 2014).” It is what exists beyond competencies and test scores – it is the behavioral, emotional, and rational elements that create a contextual, safe, and caring environment in which learning occurs for all students. Teachers, more than any other adult in a school building, have the power to create these environments. By closely partnering with teachers and doing in-class proactive work with individual students, Seneca staff play an active role at Dearborn (and other schools) to work towards positive invisible classrooms. These efforts create sustainability, key to the mission of Seneca’s Unconditional Education model.