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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: Rainier Scholars

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August 29, 2014 at 5:00 AM

How to improve schools? Some students say: Lower class size

Over six days in the past few weeks, 13 high school students, about to enter 12th grade, tackled a tough question: Is education equitable in Seattle, and if it’s not, why?

The students are all part of the prestigious Rainier Scholars program, selected in part because most hope to be the first in their families to attend college. From the time they’re in middle school, the program offers participants a big dose of academic enrichment, along with leadership training and social-emotional support.

Rainier Scholars Cohort VII

Students in Cohort VII in the Rainier Scholars program, who spent a half-dozen days this summer researching educational equity in Seattle. Photos courtesy of Rainier Scholars.

When it came time to present their findings,  the students clicked through Power Points full of statistics — everything from data showing that Ballard High’s PTA often raises more in one year than Franklin High does in 10, to maps showing how far students from low-income neighborhoods have to travel if they want to attend many of the city’s best-performing schools.


Comments | More in News | Topics: class size, Rainier Scholars

April 12, 2014 at 7:00 PM

In their own words: Students talk about high-school counseling, applying to college

Education Lab’s latest story focuses on the changing role of high-school guidance counselors. As traditional counselors’ face increased workloads, programs like Seattle’s Rainier Scholars and the National College Advising Corps are providing disadvantaged students with one-on-one assistance as they navigate the college application process.

We recently asked several students — some from Rainier Scholars, some from the National College Advising Corps and some who have worked with traditional counselors — to tell us what they’ve experienced as they apply to college.


Comments | More in News, Your voices | Topics: college counseling, higher ed, National College Advising Corps

April 12, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Join us at our May 20 event ‘Storytellers: How I got into college’

Rose McAleese

Rose McAleese, emcee

Marcus Affleje

Marcus Affleje, storyteller

Miki Cabell

Miki Cabell, storyteller

Riley Germanis

Riley Germanis, storyteller

Melody Salcedo

Melody Salcedo, storyteller

Ameen Tabatabai

Ameen Tabatabai, storyteller

Are you a student dreaming of a degree but wondering how to get there? A parent wondering how to help your child get into college?

Join us on Tuesday, May 20, at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute for a night of storytelling. Current students and recent grads will deliver powerful individual stories on the theme: “How I overcame an obstacle to get into college.”

Their stories will move you. All storytellers and college-access experts will be available after the show to answer your questions and provide advice for going to college.

Bring your whole family. We’ll provide a light dinner, child-care and translation services. Please let us know what your needs are by emailing

Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Storytelling begins at 6 p.m.

Admission is free, but you must register in advance. Click here to register online.

Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute
104 17th Ave S, Seattle

The event is organized by Education Lab and the Road Map Project.

About our emcee:

Rose McAleese is a poet and filmmaker in Seattle. She began writing poetry before she actually knew how to write, filling dozens of notebooks with her indecipherable scrawl. She was a member of the 2011 Seattle Adult Poetry Slam team and was named “Rookie of the Year.” In 2012 she represented Seattle at the Women of the World Poetry Slam.

About our storytellers:

Marcus Aflleje, 31, is a Pacific Islander senior at the Institute of Technology of the University of Washington Tacoma. He was born in Tacoma and lived in and outside of Washington before attending Henry Foss High School. This June, Marcus will start a full-time job at Boeing’s Information Technology Career Foundation Program.

Miki Cabell, 48, is a graduate student at the Evergreen State College’s Masters in Public Administration program with an emphasis in tribal governance. She is Lakota and Gaelic, and owns a home in Hoquiam with her two adult daughters, and family. She will graduate in June with plans to pursue her Ph.D.

Riley Germanis, 21, is a senior at Western Washington University studying mathematics. He will continue his education this summer at Seattle Pacific University as a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in the Teaching Mathematics and Science program. He grew up in Federal Way.

Melody Salcedo, 25, is graduating from Bellevue College this spring with an associate degree in world language. She plans to study abroad at Temple University Japan and pursue a bachelor’s degree in international business. She was born in Los Angeles but raised in Colima, Mexico, until the age of 13.

Ameen Tabatabai, 21, is a junior at the University of Washington. He was born and raised in Redmond and always dreamed about attending UW from a young age. After being diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) at the age of 10, he had a liver transplant in 2010. Since then, he has been inspired by his experiences to study bioengineering and give back to the transplant community.


Comments | More in News, Your voices | Topics: college counseling, National College Advising Corps, Rainier Scholars

April 11, 2014 at 4:00 AM

Video: College advising against the odds

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High-school counselors are often the only resource for college-bound students whose parents lack the experience or time to help them navigate SATs, financial-aid applications and personal essays.

Yet, today’s counselors are juggling an average caseload nationally of 471 students — in Washington, the ratio is 516-to-1. Meanwhile, just 18 percent of the state’s disadvantaged students go on to enroll in four-year institutions.


Comments | More in News, Video | Topics: college advising, counselors, National College Advising Corps