Since the 2017-2018 school year, Seneca Washington has cultivated an impactful relationship with Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary (pK-5th) in Seattle’s Othello neighborhood. As part of Seneca’s expanding partnership with Seattle Public Schools, a Student Support Counselor was placed at the school in Fall of 2017. Starting in the Fall of 2019, Seneca proudly expanded MLK Jr.’s partnership to include a full-time Unconditional Education Coach.
With an enrollment of about 350 students, MLK Jr. takes seriously it’s responsibility to provide every student with an excellent, holistic education. Martin Luther King Jr. is known a Seattle Public School’s most diverse student body, with students coming from over 20 unique languages and cultures. Over 98% of MLK Jr.’s students are students of color and about 40% are English Language Learners. Martin Luther King Jr. 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.
Seneca’s partnership with MLK Jr. Elementary began with a full-time Student Support Counselor focused on carrying out the reset procedure- helping students who are experiencing behavioral challenges, in the moment, to regulate emotions, reflect, restore relationships, and reintegrate into classrooms. With support from Seneca staff, these Tier II and Tier III behaviors become less frequent and shorter in duration. The reduction in reactive interventions at MLK Jr. provided a powerful opportunity for Seneca- to shift the focus of the partnership to a proactive PBIS-informed approaches (check-in/check-outs, reward systems, behavior plans, etc.) for individual students.
As the partnership with MLK Jr. continued to grow, Seneca staff became more integral resources in systems-wide changes at the classroom and school-wide level. This shift resulted in Seneca placing MLK Jr.’s first Unconditional Education Coach at the school in August 2019. Martin Luther King Jr.’s UE Coach works in-step with the principal to lead multi-disciplinary, multi-agency teams to identify key areas of growth within the school. In a few short months, the UE Coach has made incredible progress in implementing core parts of the Unconditional Education model; she’s kick-started the school’s Multi-Tiered Systems of Support team, coordinated MLK Jr.’s PBIS implementation, established a Coordination of Services Team referral system, and began coaching individual staff members. Seneca’s partnership with MLK Jr. Elementary is a powerful example of the impact of multi-year partnerships. Through building trust, integrating into MLK’s school community, and developing closely aligned values, Seneca’s partnership continues to increase the achievement of MLK Jr. students by building a climate and culture that is engaging and responsive to all.
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