Prestigious program aims to clean up Seattle school's image

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by JAKE WHITTENBERG / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @jakewhittenberg

KING5.com

Posted on August 21, 2013 at 7:40 AM

Updated Friday, Aug 23 at 1:29 PM

Christian Capers, a junior at Rainier Beach High School, knows the rumors.

He knows the school in South Seattle is known for being a tough, struggling inner city school with shootings and murders happening just down the street.

But Capers says his school gets an unfair rap.

"We hate the rumors," he said.

Students and teachers will now have something fresh to talk about.

The prestigious International Baccalaureate program will be offered at Rainier Beach for the upcoming school year, adding new hope to cleaning up the image that the school has been trying to shed.

The program, offered in schools around the world, is known for turning schools around and boosting enrollment by offering advanced placement classes that offer students college credit.

IB Coordinator Colin Pierce, an English Language teacher at Rainier Beach High School, was able to generate enough interest to bring the program to school.

"It means really validating that their school is on the highest level as the highest quality schools in the world," he said. "I think that means a whole lot for our students and our community.”

The program is for junior and senior students and adds a large load of class work, papers and exams that eventually are graded by international examiners.
Principal Dwane Chappelle requires all students take at least one IB class before they graduate. Chappelle says it will prevent an academic divide among the student body.

For Capers, it’s a chance to get a head start on his dream of one day being a successful businessman.

"We want to make a difference here," he said. "I don't want to be average. I want to go down in history as a person that made purpose of myself. (sic)"

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