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Vietnamese Friendship Associate works with the Seattle World School to advance equity in education and advocate for Vietnamese and other refugee and immigrant communities. The Seattle World School community is committed to mentoring students in navigating academic and career goals with holistic services. Our mission is to provide rigorous academics supported by social-emotional development opportunities and life skills. Our focus is to empower students as self, global advocates in our rapidly changing world.
Recently-arrived refugee and immigrant students experience tremendous barriers to success and self-sufficiency, including language and cultural barriers, poverty, interrupted formal education, discrimination and racism, trauma (i.e. fleeing wars, family separation, death of family members, etc.), and other challenges. They, and their parents, are often unfamiliar with English and the American education system, which makes it difficult to succeed in school. As a result of these barriers, close to 24% of Limited English students in the Class of 2014 dropped out of school in Washington, compared to 12% of non-ELL students statewide (Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction; OSPI). The graduation rate for ELL students is 54% (a decrease from 60% in 2012), compared to 77% statewide for non-ELL students.
Within Seattle, the Seattle World School (SWS) is a culturally diverse and culturally responsive, option-school for refugee/immigrant youth, all of whom are Limited English students. The school has two programs: one newcomer service school for new immigrants and an international high school with a specialization in English language learner instruction. In 2014, less than 5% of tenth graders attending the SWS met reading standards and approximately 16% met standards in writing (as measured by the in the High School Proficiency Exam; HSPE), far less than the District and State averages.