To All Supporters of Lake Washington Girls Middle School and Giddens:
Sometimes in life, opportunity just looks up and stares you in the face. Such was the case when the two schools we've been entrusted to lead – Lake Washington (LWGMS) and Giddens – found ourselves wrestling with near identical dilemmas. How can we continue to be viable schools for the rest of the 21st Century while operating in outdated, unsafe, rented facilities? How could we maintain our Central District location, continue to serve a diverse array of families and keep our focus on combining academic excellence with equity and social justice?
Coming together around the same set of problems presented an equally obvious solution: Join forces to construct a new facility that would serve both schools, allow each school to maintain its own identity, to grow and thrive, and, by the way, require each of us to only come up with approximately half the cost of constructing a new facility on our own.
We and our boards are committed to doing just that by jointly securing the site of the former Imperial Lanes, at 2101 22nd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144.
Partnering to purchase and build a new facility to house both schools secures our future. It means that students and families of tomorrow will have LWGMS and Giddens as educational options that are essential, particularly at this time in our country's history when civic dialogue and clear, unfettered commitments to the marginalized are threatened by many of our most basic institutions. Without this partnership, each school remains tethered by landlords, lease payments, and indefinite facilities repairs. With this partnership, we can take the next step to solidify our future.
Historically and currently, each school is one of the most diverse independent schools in Seattle-diverse in terms of students' race, ethnicity, economic status, and family configurations. This diversity is essential to LWGMS and Giddens' ability to uphold their commitments to educating students not only about diversity, but within diversity.
Sharing our combined resources – financial, material, or intellectual – allows LWGMS and Giddens to deepen, expand, and sustain our reach. This means maintaining our commitment to offering robust financial assistance to a wide range of families. The sharing of the construction costs, long term operational costs, and aspects of our facility allows LWGMS and Giddens to remain small and committed to financial assistance, while also allowing us to secure our future.
Making this happen will require a serious commitment from supporters of both of our communities.
We invite you to lean in at this critical moment in both schools' history and learn how you can be part of making this dream come true.
Head of School
Lake Washington Girls Middle School
Dr. Morva McDonald
Head of School
January 2017 Letter to LWGMS Community: Two Schools Partnership