How Seattle is preparing kids for global opportunities in the 21st century

April 19, 2012 | John Burbank

John Stanford International School (photo credit: Wallyhood)

Public schools are often a media target for bad news, real or fictitious – so it’s good to see someone highlight public school successes that might otherwise go unnoticed and unproclaimed.

Such are the immersion language schools in Seattle. If your child goes to the John Stanford Elementary School or Hamilton Middle School, she can choose immersion in Spanish or Japanese. Beacon Hill Elementary offers immersion in Spanish and Mandarin. Concord Elementary School offers immersion in Spanish.

It is Seattle’s way of preparing our children for global opportunities in the 21st century:

Seattle’s busy port, with its colorful cranes and massive cargo shipping facilities, is one of the largest in the United States. The port generates some $12 billion in business revenue each year, mostly from trade with Pacific Rim countries. It’s quite a view from the Seattle Public Schools headquarters just three blocks away.

About 15 years ago, John Stanford took the helm of Seattle Public Schools. Unlike many of his peers around the country, he was not an educator. But he was a visionary.

Guided by the demands of a global economy and the diverse student population the public schools served, Stanford recommended a mandatory requirement for students to study a second language and proposed an international language school. Fast-forward a decade, his vision has led to Seattle creating a network of international schools, featuring immersion programs and curriculum that prepares students to be globally competent in the 21st century knowledge economy.

Read more in Education Week: How Seattle Created Schools for the Future »

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Posted in Educational Opportunity

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