It is clear from the bustle around campus and the change of weather, that fall is officially here. As I begin my second year at The Bush School, I look back on the whirlwind that was the 2014-15 school year fondly. My work with the Board of Trustees this summer and fall has been focused on maintaining and enhancing the school’s remarkable programs and reputation as a leader in progressive education, analyzing the comments and recommendations from the parent and student survey about ways in which we can improve as a school, and communicating a clear and compelling vision for the school’s future.
During Convocation this year, we unveiled the theme for this school year—Make A Difference. Throughout the year, our students, faculty, and staff will build upon the activities and projects we administer presently to find new and authentic ways for The Bush School to engage in and with the Seattle community. This summer, we met with representatives from Seattle University, the University of Washington, Cornish College of the Arts, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center, The City of Seattle’s Office of Planning and Community Development, and Rainier Scholars to identify areas of need and to explore ways to work collaboratively to meet the challenges our community faces.
As many of you know, Bush is in contract on a site in Mazama to develop a satellite campus in Okanogan County. This opportunity would provide our students with access to more robust wilderness programs and access to civic and environmental institutions that are grappling with issues of financial and economic sustainability, rural poverty, conservation, and biodiversity. We should know soon whether we are able to acquire the property, and if we are, I will host a series of meetings with parents to discuss how our work in that area complements our outreach efforts here in Seattle, and to explain the programmatic potential for the site.
As board president Chris Jones mentioned at Convocation, The Bush School began the year with the highest enrollment in its 91-year history (629 students). This is a ringing endorsement of the work of the faculty, board, and administration over the past several years. However, we are also mindful that we must continue improve as a school. We have convened two task forces that will begin master planning and strategic planning processes for the school. These groups will utilize information from our school’s current strategic plan, recommendations from last year’s Optimal Enrollment Task Force, and feedback from last year’s parent and student surveys to generate a strategic and facilities plan for the school’s long-term future.
I will use this forum to share with you our progress throughout the year, and next week will concentrate on the administration’s response to the feedback from last year’s parent and student surveys.
This year promises to be a busy one, and we look forward to partnering with you to create memorable experiences for your children. Here’s to a successful 2015- 2016 school year.
Percy L. Abram, Ph.D.
Head of School