You can’t change the past. But you can certainly try to right its wrongs, to work for a better future.
That’s the idea behind the West Seattle Public School Equity Fund, founded by (L-R above) Andrea Dimond, Kristen Corning Bedford, and Shannon Woodard. We talked with them last night at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, during a celebration of the WSPSEF’s first year.
For starters, it’s about “fundshifting” – equitably distributing community contributions so that the richer schools don’t keep getting richer while the not-so-well-off schools keep scraping.
Where the past comes in is what the founders discovered when they examined the area’s “redlining” map from the 1930s (see it here) – what are now Title I schools, with the highest percentage of students from low-income families, are in the “redlined” areas. So the historical inequities continue self-perpetuating. The WSPSEF founders hope to disrupt that, in the interest of weaving together all of West Seattle’s neighborhoods and school communities, to support the entire peninsula as one community.
During this school year – with classes ending today – they’ve already raised $20,000, and will be “fundshifting” that to five elementary schools – Concord International, Highland Park, Roxhill, Sanislo, and West Seattle.
For year two and beyond, they hope to get more participation, and also to broaden the scope beyond money. The initial collaborations, they say, have already started to break down the silos of individual schools’ support communities, to discover synergies and shared challenges. In all, they want to “advocate for all students” in West Seattle.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED: If you’re a member of a West Seattle elementary or K-8 school community that’s not already involved with the WSPSEF, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or talk with your school PTA/PTSA. If you would simply like to donate, you can send a check to the West Seattle Public School Equity Fund via its fiscal sponsor, DNDA (4408 Delridge Way SW, Seattle 98106).