Asa Mercer Middle School on Beacon Hill has been honored as a “high progress Reward School,” one of the highest-performing and most-improved Title I schools in Washington state. (Title I schools serve populations with a high percentage of low income families. Schools with the Title I designation receive special funding and assistance.) Mercer is one of 58 schools in Washington to be named as Reward Schools.
High progress Reward Schools such as Mercer scored in the top 10 percent of Title I schools in combined reading and math on state assessments during a three year period (2008-2011). Mercer was also noted as a “School of Excellence” in 2009, 2010, and 2011, an honor given to schools placing in the state’s top 5 percent for improvement in scores.
Asa Mercer Middle School on Beacon Hill has made a remarkable transformation, going from a school in which only 13.8 percent of eighth graders passed the state science test in 2005, to one in which 84.3 percent passed last year. Brian M. Rosenthal of The Seattle Timeswrites about the “Mercer model”: teaching “urgently,” relying on data and team coordination, and using a customized math curriculum.
“The central administration was largely unaware of Mercer’s approach, School Board member Kay Smith-Blum said.
“‘They did it sort of undercover,” she said. “They just did what their kids needed.’
“The results were clear: The number of students passing the state math tests more than doubled, to 70.8 percent, during [former principal] Lutz’s tenure.”
Art Thiel at Sports Press NWcomments about the Valero Alamo Bowl, where the Huskies will play against Baylor on December 29: “Then there is the issue of figuring out what a Valero is. Turns out it’s a large petroleum company with a small presence in Washington. Next time you’re on Beacon Hill, check out the C&C Mart. It’s the only Valero store in Seattle.”
The YMCA of Greater Seattle will offer open computer lab time at Asa Mercer Middle School on the first Thursday of the next two months (May 5 and June 2) from 5:30-7 p.m. YMCA technology instructors will be there to answer technology and internet questions and help with online tasks. All community members are welcome to attend. Mercer Middle School is located at 1600 Columbian Way S.
The Seattle Symphony Orchestra will perform a free community concert at 7:00 pm tomorrow night, January 19, at Mercer Middle School (1600 South Columbian Way). The concert is open to the public — and, yes, we said free. Thomas Hong is the conductor, and the featured soloist is violist Amber Archibald.
The scheduled program includes works by David Diamond, Gustav Holst, Georg Philipp Telemann, Samuel Jones, and Felix Mendelssohn.
The concert is part of the Symphony’s ACCESS Project (Artistic and Cultural Community Engagement with Seattle Symphony), dedicated to bringing classical music to underserved communities throughout the region.
Several local middle school students have been chosen for Mayor’s Scholars Awards for service to their schools and communities. Criteria for selection include overcoming obstacles or meeting challenges, giving back to the community, and maintaining good academic standing. To compete for the award, students wrote essays about how they contribute to the community, and how they would use the cash award. In addition, they provided recommendations from adults familiar with their service work.
Each winner will receive $500 that can be used for education or donated to a charity, and a Mayor’s Scholar letter jacket.
Gizelle Gando, an 8th grade student at Mercer MS, volunteers at church as an altar server, sets up the parish hall for special events, and helps her younger brother with his reading. Gizelle’s favorite subjects are science and math. Last summer, through the Technology Access Foundation, she learned how to start and successfully manage a business. About college, Gizelle says, “My goal is to go to college to get that very special treasure — an education — a treasure that no one can take away from you.”
Daniel Gonzalez learned how to fix bikes and continues to do so at Bikeworks, a group that donates bikes to foster kids. Learning this skill has fostered his interest in an engineering career. He understands that a college education willl help him improve his family’s lives. As the oldest son in a fatherless household, Daniel has assumed many responsibilities, including translating for his mother and grandmother. A 6th grade student at Mercer MS, Danny is a mentor at his brother’s elementary school where he helps other kids learn to read.
An 8th grade student at Mercer MS, Adriana Meraz-Gonzalez is in a motivational youth group called Latino Dream, which encourages all students to avoid negativity and better themselves. Adriana presented a resolution to the School Board on behalf of undocumented students that choose higher education and, because of her testimony, the school board passed that resolution. She met with local District Representatives to share her ideas on solutions to immigration, student struggles and youth violence/gang involvement issues. Adriana said she has faced a lot of racism which has fueled her educational pursuits.
A 6th grade student at The New School @ Columbia, Jessica Walters shows leadership by singlehandedly organizing a 6th grade dance and donating the proceeds to charity. She helps other students and participates in an after school program and church choir. Jessica dreams of becoming a singer/songwriter and recognizes the importance of education to help with her goal. Jessica’s teacher says, “She has dealt with every obstacle society can throw at her and still maintains a sunny disposition and always does her best work in school.”
Congratulations to Gizelle, Daniel, Adriana, and Jessica!