Meet Jalen.

 

My name is Jalen Johnson, and I’m a junior at Summit Sierra.

Let’s flash back to 8th grade. I was a quiet and anxious kid, feeling defined and constrained by my diagnoses of Autism and ADHD. I was a B/B- student, and not hopeful about my prospects for college – and I know that a lot of kids who look like me, kids who have the challenges I have, too often don’t make it.

As a Black student in the public education system, historically and systemically, the odds are not in my favor. Then I found Summit Sierra – and high school has been exponentially better than I imagined it could ever be for me. Today, I have a 3.9 GPA, and I am thriving in my school community.

My courses are challenging, but what keeps me going is the nonstop support I receive from teachers like my mentor Mr.Sobiek, who on the very first week of school made a trip to each of his mentees homes, just to meet us, and learn how to best support us.

My teachers here are so committed, selfless, and passionate about my success. When I ask my Math teacher Ms. Temes a question on polynomial division I am dumbfounded at how any one person can be so enthusiastic about math! And my English teacher – Ms. Visperas – every morning and every afternoon, she dedicates time to help me prep for my AP exam.

Today, college is well within my reach. To say that Sierra has transformed me is no exaggeration. This time next year, I’ll know where I am going to college! My top choice is UC Berkeley. I think I’d like to study urban planning. College will be challenging but I’m not scared – Sierra has taught me to have grit and persevere.

I see myself and other students of color thriving at Summit. This is how every school should be – our success should be the norm, not the exception. I don’t know how things would have played out for me had I not found Sierra, but what I do know is that it has forever changed me, and I know that I’m worth it.

Because of Sierra, the unsure kid I once was has been replaced with a confident and comfortable young man. WE ALL deserve an equal opportunity to a great public education. And for me and so many kids like me, charter public schools provide exactly that – an opportunity to succeed.

The testimony above was originally shared by Jalen on May 17th, 2018, at a press conference in Olympia.

Recent Updates

Filter by topic

Have questions about charter public schools?

Join us for a Charter 101 information session on Oct. 24. from 6pm-7:30pm at Pride Prep Public Charter School, 811 E. Sprague Ave. Suite A, Spokane, WA 99202.

Current and potential charter school families and the community are invited to attend and learn more about charter public schools. We’ll be there to answer questions and provide the facts and there will also be the opportunity to hear from parents, staff, and partners.

Childcare will be provided for kids 4 and up and light snacks will also be available.

RSVP here: bit.ly/WACharters101
... See MoreSee Less

Want to know more about charter public schools?

Attend the Charter 101 information session on Oct. 24. from 6pm-7:30pm at Pride Prep Public Charter School, 811 E. Sprague Ave. Suite A, Spokane, WA 99202.

Current and interested charter school families and the community are invited to join us and learn about charter public schools. We’ll be there to answer questions and provide the facts. There will also be the opportunity to hear from parents, staff, and partners.

Childcare will be provided for kids 4 and up and light snacks will also be available.

RSVP here: bit.ly/WACharters101
... See MoreSee Less

“...We have all these people who want to make education better and they all have a different way of adding to the school and leading in the school…”

Watch this humanities teacher describe how she and her colleagues help change the education trajectory for their students.
... See MoreSee Less

“Here I feel like I have a lot more ability to put into practice the ideas that I come up with, to like, make things happen now – today – for kids.”

Watch one math teacher share why he loves teaching at a Washington charter public school.
... See MoreSee Less

Hear from a #Washington charter public school teacher about how he is preparing his students for the future. ... See MoreSee Less

2 weeks ago

Washington State Charter Schools Association

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” Albert Einstein

Happy International Teachers Day to all the wonderful teachers in our #WACharters family! #WorldTeachersDay #InternationalTeachersDay #WaEdu
... See MoreSee Less