by George J Elbaum
Franklin High School (FHS) first opened its doors in 1912 as the second purpose-built high school in Seattle, and when in 1986 the city’s School Board proposed to tear down its beautiful neo-Classical building, the Landmark Preservation Board designated it an official landmark which prevented its demolition. FHS now has an enrollment of 1257 students according to US News Best High Schools, of which 92% are minority (52% Asian, 27% Black, 10% Hispanic, 7% White, 4% other), 72% “economically disadvantaged”. With many students being immigrants or children thereof, its graduation rate is 82% with math proficiency of 58% vs. 40% state average, and 31% reading proficiency vs. 40% state average.
My talk to a class of English Language Learners was organized by teacher Renee Stern, and with her encouragement many of her students entered the Writing and Art Contest held annually by Settle’s Holocaust Center for Humanity with writing submissions in both English and their native language. Julia Thompson, the Holocaust Center’s Education Resource Coordinator, arranged my participation in this event.