Patrick Robinson
The Summit Atlas School is holding a groundbreaking Feb. 2 for the expansion of the facility at the corner of 35th SW and SW Roxbury streets. The charter school, the first in West Seattle will be open next fall with a sixth grade and a ninth grade class before building to be a full 6-12 school over time.

UPDATE: Summit Atlas charter school groundbreaking coming Feb. 2

Starting with 6th and 9th grade, school will grow to grades 6-12 over time

West Seattle's first charter school, Summit Atlas will open, starting with sixth- and ninth-grade classes in August 2017 at 9601 35th Ave SW. The groundbreaking for expansion of the existing building is coming up Thursday, February 2 at 5:30-6:30 pm.

Speakers at the event include:
A Summit Sierra student talking about why they are excited for the students of West Seattle, White Center and surrounding communities to have this public school choice.

A community member on how they are helping shape the culture of Summit Atlas.

Katie Bubalo, Founding Principal of Summit Atlas

The school has filed a land use application for a two story, 23,881 sq. ft. addition to the existing 23,772 sq. ft. building. Parking for 116 spaces will be re-configured to provide 63 parking spaces. The building was once a Safeway store and most recently was home to The Jesus Center Home of Freedom Church of Seattle.

Summit is part of a chain of free public charter schools with nine now open in Calfornia, and two others in Washington, one, Summit Olympus in Tacoma and the other Summit Sierra in Seattle's International District.

The West Seattle Herald spoke to the incoming Principal Katheryn Bubalo who offered information about the school and her background:

"Summit Atlas will be a rigorous, college preparatory school in which every child, regardless of background or circumstance, will graduate ready to become a college graduate and ultimately a thoughtful, contributing member of society. Summit Atlas is a free, public, college-prep school, open to any student—there are no entrance requirements other than a student be in the grade levels we are offering. Next fall we will open with a sixth grade and a ninth grade class before building to be a full 6-12 school over time.

I am extremely excited to be a part of this community after just having relocated to be closer to my family. My career as an educator began as a college student when I became a volunteer basketball coach for the girls basketball team at a high school in my community. I quickly realized my players were struggling because their individual needs as learners were not being met. Ashley, my incredibly gifted post player, was unable to pass basic math and reading courses; Karla, my shooting guard, desperately wanted to succeed in school and on the court, but was not given enough support as a Spanish speaker. A fire had been lit: I changed my major to Education, and upon graduation from the University of Tulsa, headed to New Orleans where the need to transform the educational system was profound.

In 2011, I began teaching at Sci Academy, a Collegiate Academies high school in New Orleans East. Over my four years teaching sophomore English, my students posted the highest test scores in the city for any open-enrollment school, with 81% of students scoring proficient or higher the last year.

My students there instilled in me the grit and grace it takes to achieve what others may believe to be impossible. Many entered reading years below grade level; they graduated as exceptional readers, writers, and critical thinkers. We exceeded our goals all because my students had a growth mindset, a belief in themselves, and a belief in me. Together, we made our community better.

After teaching for six years, I took on an administrative role, coaching dozens of teachers across our network and designing systems to increase reading growth across three high schools. As a result of our work together, our network experienced its highest reading growth in its eight-year history. I am proud to have been a part of Collegiate Academies, which sends over 90% of its graduates to college.

Summit Public Schools shares the same commitment to create educational opportunities for every child. Our personalized model puts students at the center of their own learning, empowering them to be self-directed learners with the habits and mindsets that lead to academic and personal success. We support a world-class teaching faculty who come from the nation’s top teaching preparatory programs and care deeply about each and every child. It is no wonder that Summit students consistently outperform students at neighboring schools, and 95% of Summit graduates are accepted into college.

For me, for us, for others– this motto is part of the vision for Summit Atlas. Education is the key to personal success, for our success as an Atlas team, and for the betterment of our society. I believe there is no more important group of people in our country than our children, and that the school we will create is a precursor to a better country and a better world. I am incredibly enthusiastic to help launch a new public school in our community, to give families a choice when it comes to public education, and to ensure that every student who walks through Summit Atlas next fall gets the world-class education they deserve."

Summit Atlas is a free, public, college-prep school, open to any student—there are no entrance requirements other than a student be in the grade levels they are offering. Next fall they will open with a sixth grade and a ninth grade class before building to be a full 6-12 school over time. Bubalo said sports teams, as appropriate are part of the school's plan going forward as well.

For more information, people can check out the Summit Atlas website at http://summitps.org/schools/washington/summit-atlas or contact Katheryn Bubalo directly at kbubalo@summitps.org or call 504-220-9397. Applying takes five minutes and can be done at summitps.org/enroll2 or summitps.org/inscribir2 for Spanish.

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