Statement by Nova Staff and Families: Educational Justice at the Horace Mann Building

18 Sep

The following statement has been signed by the majority of staff at Nova; the signers state that they “do not support the forced relocation of the current programs in the Mann building and are working to explore other possibilities.”

The programs referred to constitute the  Africatown Community Innovation Center (ACIC).  The Seattle Public School District wants the ACIC to vacate the building so that it can be renovated for Nova to move back in.

Please circulate this statement widely.  If you are a Nova student, staff member, family member, or alumni,  you can sign onto the statement by clicking here.

This statement is timely, since the school board will be voting this evening on awarding a construction contract for the Mann renovation. The meeting begins at 4 PM and public testimony begins at 5 PM, at the John Stanford Center.  Supporters of the ACIC will be speaking about why they wish to remain in the building.

For background on this issue, see this post, and the open letter to the Nova community written by a Nova parent and Creativity Not Control contributor.

Educational Justice and the Horace Mann Building

The Nova Project Alternative High School is a democratically-run, all-city-draw, inquiry-based learning community that emphasizes social justice and the arts. We work to educate ourselves and take action around power and privilege and to make our school accessible and inclusive to all students and families. We also strive to maintain and develop a school where LGBTQ students, families, and staff, including LGBTQ people of color, can thrive.

We respect the unique importance of the Central District as the historic heart of Seattle’s African American community, and we recognize and oppose the recent gentrification and subsequent displacement of communities of color out of the CD. We also recognize that, historically, the Seattle Public Schools (SPS) has not adequately served African American and other students and families of color. We believe that both of these facts point to the need for long-overdue action on behalf of SPS to listen to and work with communities of color to meet the needs of all students.

Four years ago, SPS displaced Nova from the Horace Mann building and moved us to the Meany building. We fought to stop our displacement and to create solidarity among all of the programs facing closure. After over 30 years of making the Horace Mann building our school’s home, we were heartbroken by our forced move and have no desire for anyone else to be displaced. We do not support the forced relocation of the current programs in the Mann building and are working to explore other possibilities, including collaboratively co-housing with these programs or an alternative location for Nova.

For all of the above reasons, we, the undersigned staff and families of Nova, support an open community process to determine the future of the Horace Mann and other SPS buildings. We seek an inclusive dialogue that will best serve the interests of Central District communities as well as the students and families of Nova and other SPS schools.

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4 Responses to “Statement by Nova Staff and Families: Educational Justice at the Horace Mann Building”

  1. freeuniverseity September 18, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

    Reblogged this on Free UniversE-ity and commented:
    If you are interested in standing in solidarity against the pending forced relocation of programs and students at Horace Mann (Africa Town Innovation Center) Please checkout
    Black Education Summit Part II on September 21st, 2013 from 12-4pm at the Horace Mann school building (Africa Town Innovation Center 2410 E Cherry St, Seattle, WA). Here is event description:
    (https://www.facebook.com/events/239703939512023/)
    Part II of the historic Emergency Black Education Summit that was convened on 9/7/2013.

    Black students are in a state of extreme crisis in the Seattle Public Schools and the district has admitted there is no plan to specifically address the plight of black students.

    This will continue on the work of developing solutions and executable plan for the success of our children in our schools and community.

    There will be break out sessions focused on:
    -Parenting & Early Childhood Development
    -Student & Parent Empowerment
    -Developing culturally competent curriculum and education model
    -Home Schooling Collective

    • Lynn September 19, 2013 at 4:18 am #

      You were told by the district that the building has to be vacated by the 18th. Have they given you notice that the date has changed?

      • mamos206 September 19, 2013 at 4:48 am #

        I was not told anything by the district. I am not a representative of the ACIC, nor have I been involved in the negotiations between the ACIC and the district. I’m simply a Seattle teacher who supports the ACIC, and I applaud the Nova community for expressing solidarity. I’d suggest asking the district whether their plans have changed.

      • freeuniverseity October 1, 2013 at 12:32 am #

        I don’t think the school district has changed anything on their end and I have not idea what they are planning on doing. Probably best to contact folks with Africatown Innovation Center to find out:
        http://www.africatownseattle.org/africatown-center/

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