Our new building is starting to feel like home.
It was a cold, rainy gray day when I first walked through the former St. Patrick’s school in November of last year. We had been looking for a location for the school for nearly three years. The building was quiet and dark, and the heat was off, so there was a chill in the air. As soon as I walked up the stairs and turned the corner into the long hallway and saw the classroom doors, however, I felt like I was home.
I walked the silent corridor and looked into the empty classrooms. While it was clear that this building was loved and well taken care of, it was missing the most important piece that brings a school to life: kids. I could hear our future Willow scholars engaged in exciting discussions. I could see them working on interesting, relevant projects. I heard laughter. I knew at this moment that we had found our school.
As with any older building, there are always upgrades that need to be made. We are doing the following:
- Installing a fire sprinkler system. This is the most expensive of the upgrades, and we have received a grant to cover the cost of this work!
- Installing a high-speed wifi network to support our program in which every student is issued a Chromebook
- Upgrading lighting so the classrooms are bright and conducive to learning
- Putting up signage on the exterior and interior of the building
- Painting the halls and classrooms
Even with all of the upgrades, our school will not be complete until students arrive for the first day of school. It is then that this house will truly become our home.
We have received these questions recently about the school:
I called the school district to ask about Willow and was told you are a private school. Is this true?
No. Willow is a public school. Just like all public schools in the state, we are open to all students. There is no tuition, and no tests or assessments needed before a student enrolls.
Are you affiliated with St. Patrick’s church?
No. We are renting from the church but are in no way affiliated with St. Patrick’s. They are our landlord, and we are their tenant.
I heard the school won’t open because there is no fire sprinkler system. Is this true?
We are installing the fire sprinkler system now. In addition, we have received a $250,000 grant from Washington Charter School Development to install the system.