One Worth Taking

By Jessica, a current parent

As a longtime resident of Seattle I am often frustrated by the growth and changes in this city. Yet, I have this enormous appreciation of entering I-5 off of 520, as you come around that crowded curve. On a clear day the view can literally take my breath away. You can see the expanding, sparkling city, Mt. Rainier, and Lake Union. I’m sure this must be a unique experience; there can’t be many places in the world that have such a beautifully framed freeway entrance. I feel lucky and privileged every time it happens to be part of such a stunning community.

My son is an amazing kid; he is smart and kind, he is a gift to raise, and he makes me proud every day. He is not me; he doesn’t have much need for a lot of social outlet; and he asks deep and introspective questions. We are a public school family, we live in a good neighborhood with great public schools, and our three kids have always attended them. Our middle child was bored—not because he didn’t have enough work, but because the work was not tangible; it was not specific, and it was not deep. I thought he might benefit from a different experience, so we went looking for one. We drove all over that crowded freeway and visited many independent schools. My son didn’t warm up to these schools, even though the personalized service blew me away. But to him the other schools looked and sounded like expensive versions of large public high schools, where his older brother attends.

And then we went to a school fair, where we were introduced to The Downtown School. The entire experiment seemed like a risk, but it felt like a unique experience. We went to an interview with Sue Belcher, Head of School, who explained the sparkling vision of a school that would hire teachers that taught from an interdisciplinary approach and use this expanding city as a place to learn from and grow. When it came time to apply, my son chose The Downtown School. He liked the novelty, the experiment, the size of the school, and the theory behind it. 

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We are now two months in, and I can say that this risk was one worth taking. This unique experience has been a privilege to participate in. Listening to my son talk about his day, reading Ananya’s post on teaching math, I am inspired, I want to go back to high school, I feel privileged to be part of such a stunning community.