A Voice for Kids and Families
South Lake Union has a new advocate for kid-friendly parks and programs. Meet the South Lake Union Area Schools Coalition.
Formed in June, this new group represents SLU area schools and the hundreds of families and kids they serve. Member schools include:
Hutch Kids, which serves the children of Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center professionals with nursery through pre-kindergarten care. They also provide daycare services.
Hutch School serving patients and their family members who find themselves here for treatment.
Spruce Street School, downtown's only K-5 elementary school.
Morningside Academy, which has grades K-8 during the regular school year and then more than doubles in size as part of its Summer Institute.
Cascade Children's Corner, a daycare/preschool which serves mostly children of Seattle Times employees.
New Discovery School, a nursery through pre-K program that has been part of the SLU neighborhood for more than 20 years (and that is actively looking for a new location that will enable it to remain in South Lake Union.)
Schools and Kids Make a Difference
"South Lake Union has more schools serving more school-age kids and their families than many people think," says Kate Mortenson, a board member at the New Discovery School. "The Schools Coalition has a vision for the neighborhood that's as kid-friendly as we can make it. We see our role as being a voice for our member schools and the families they serve."
Schools bring vitality, diversity, and an emphasis on safety to an urban neighborhood like South Lake Union, and especially to its parks and other public spaces. For example, New Discovery School co-chairs the Cascade Partnership for Safety, a group that promotes safety in and around Cascade Park. Among other things, this group has been successful in advocating for revisions in crosswalks and stop signs to make pedestrian access to Cascade Park safer.
The Denny Park play space initiative is another example. See accompanying article.
Support is a Two-Way Street
The schools that make up the South Lake Union Area Schools Coalition know that community involvement is a two-way street. They make an important contribution as a voice for kids, families, and education. But they also recognize how essential neighborhood support is in keeping their doors open and their services and programs strong and growing.
Coalition member schools, like schools everywhere, struggle to fill the gap between the cost of the education and other services they provide and the tuition families are able to pay. Partnerships of area schools and business are one way everyone wins. The coalition has just concluded an annual toy drive in partnership with Evergreen Bank (see accompanying story), and looks forward to many more team efforts.