A local elementary school has adopted the attitude that there is no excuse for not preparing to go to college.
Spanaway's Evergreen Elementary is one of just three schools in the state to join No Excuses University. NEU is a division of Turnaround Schools, a group founded in 2006 with two main missions: 1) Every child has the right to be prepared to attend college and, 2) It is the responsibility of adults in the school to develop exceptional systems that can make those dreams a reality.
Krista Carlson, Bethel School District's spokesperson, said the No Excuses University concept promotes a belief that "no matter what challenges a school faces, each staff member must believe in the academic potential of every student."
Evergreen Elementary has a diverse student body. More than half of its students are a minority, 62-percent are low-income and nearly one-in-seven is in need of language assistance.
As part of the No Excuses University network, Evergreen students will be exposed to messages, both blatant and symbolic. When students enter the school the message is visual: college flags, t-shirts and banners hang throughout the campus. Teachers will also be leading students in an occasional college cheer to help kids better identify themselves with specific universities.
But, the NEU idea is more than just a few flags and college cheers - to become part of the NEU network, Evergreen administrators had to prove that they had developed programs for aligning educational standards, assessment, data analysis and intervention.
I remember hearing classmates when I was young say, "I'll never get into college so why bother taking..." (college prep English, a second language, physics, etc). In fact, several studies have been done detailing the link between perceptions about college access and college enrollment. Evergreen is hoping that its involvement with NEU will change those perceptions among its students.