Black and white photos of Seattle in the early 1900’s were projected on the screen as Dr. Nelson (2014) shared his research on the growth of schools in Seattle. Pictures of Franklin High School, Queen Anne High School and Holy Names Academy made their way onto the screen. Each of those buildings were built during the progressive era of education in Seattle. My grandmother, parents, aunts and uncles walked the hallways of each respective school and I never really considered the foundations on which these schools, and consequently the education of my family, were built. Taking a closer look at the development and impact of education in the Seattle area both shocked and reassured me. I was shocked at how quickly schools were built as well as how quick they were to adapt and respond to the needs of the times including low cost or no cost milk for students and medical and dental care in the school house (Nelson, 2014). Even during the formative years of the public school system in Seattle there was a distinct concern for the well-being of the whole child which not only included their physical health and intellectual aptitude, but encouraged active inquiry through hands on learning, field trips and experiential learning in the classroom (Nelson, Scheuerman, 2014).
Looking back at the history of education in Seattle is reassuring since the same issues facing educators today existed then. Students were found to drop out of school due to not liking school and as such were at risk of failure. The same thing happens today, in in the presence of trying to inspire students to be lifelong learners using similar methods of hands on, relevant learning (Scheuerman, 2014). It is comforting to know that the same goals of education exist today, even in the face of lasting challenges. I know I can teach because I belong to a community of professionals who face the various challenges each day and work to respond to those challenges by adapting and responding to the needs of our students and community. It is an honor to be part of such an incredible education legacy here in Seattle: to learn from our history and move forward in hopes of equipping students to be active members of our society. I know I can teach because there is a heritage of knowledge I can turn to on my worst days and contribute to on my best days.
Nelson, B. (2014, Autumn Quarter). EDU 6120 Foundations of American Education. Good Schools: The Seattle Public School System, 1901-1930 Lecture notes retrieved from Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, WA.
Scheuerman, R. (2014, Autumn Quarter). EDU 6120 Foundations of American Education. Session 8 Lecture notes retrieved from Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, WA.