At the beginning of March, Connections 101 began its Spring 2023 program at Garfield and Roosevelt high schools. Transitioning from its Summer 2022 pilot group, the five-week program is led by facilitators from Roosevelt Alumni for Racial Equity’s (RARE) partner Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle.
Each school has a diverse group of students. Using an interactive curriculum, the Garfield students meet on Tuesdays and Roosevelt students on Wednesdays. Facilitators Salma Malin and Brandon Shell have described the positive energy radiating from the students at each school. They observe that as each week passes, the students are widening their participation in exercises and activities, and are more confident in their self-advocacy.
The facilitators have noted that each group of students were particularly interested in an exercise in which they collaborated on creating a collective statement of community values.
Connections 101 is a core example of what RARE is all about – providing support and resources to Seattle Public high school students who each bring their lived experiences to meet and challenge their understanding of how to develop awareness, leadership and friendship across differences.
The Connections 101 Spring program exemplifies RARE’s belief that, with guidance and commitment, a diverse group of interested, engaged students can increase long term racial equity in a school environment, benefiting students and the school community alike.
– Michelle Osborne