Rainier Prep Celebrates Community Diversity

Nov 29, 2023 | School Highlights

Washington state charter public schools are community-rooted.

As tuition-free public schools that are open to all, charter public schools offer their students access to opportunities that they may not have been finding elsewhere. And the classrooms of charter public schools proudly reflect the communities that they serve:

  • 62 percent of students attending Washington’s charter public schools identify as people of color, compared to just 50 percent of students statewide. 
  • There are more than double the number of Global Majority teachers employed in charter public schools than in traditional public schools in Washington State

Rainier Prep is a leading example of the opportunities that charter public schools initiate in collaboration with their communities.

On November 22, Rainier Prep celebrated their ninth Multicultural Day. To celebrate the school’s growing community partnerships, students could opt into three rotations of activities ranging from an indigenous food cooking lesson, Cumbia dancing, card games, art projects reflecting the heritage of the wider community, learning new languages, or visiting the Duwamish archaeological site and People’s Park.

The full range of activities represent the students’ own understanding of the power of a diverse school community. The day concluded with a potluck lunch in advisory groups where families and students share the traditional foods they love to eat and share at their homes. 

“As a public school navigating today’s sociopolitical and historical realities, we are driven by a commitmentto working alongside our community at a time when racism, white supremacy, and economic disparity can no longer be ignored,” said Karen Lobos, Executive Director of Rainier Prep. “Our families are critical to our mission and our vision for strong, data-based student outcomes, and they deserve equitable funding as all other public schools do.  We are intentionally disrupting the status quo, underscoring how the diversity of our community and the strength of our students’ achievements are an example of how we can pave the way for limited-income families and Global Majority families to access college and career pathways together.”

Rainier Prep’s Multicultural Day is one part of their year-long celebration and elevation of the diversity of their community, which includes heritage months, advisory lessons, field studies, and increasing promotion even from their Student Government. Because it’s been so important every year since the beginning of the school, even alums return to celebrate with their friends and former classmates.

As one alum pointed out, “Rainier Prep is the most diverse school I have seen. There are students from all races and ethnic backgrounds. Attending Rainier Prep for four years, I have learned so much more about cultural activities and cultural norms of my peers through talent shows, cultural dress, and assemblies. It’s really important to me.”