The Ballard Talisman

Lincoln high school to reopen fall of 2019

Lincoln’s administration approach incoming students about transition

Samantha Swainson and Dhani Srinivasan

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Anticipation across Seattle schools for the reopening of Lincoln High School has fueled mixed emotions around school. In the fall of 2019, the rezoned sophomores and incoming freshmen will make their transition to the restored high school.

Lincoln opened in 1907 and was the first Seattle Public Schools high school to hire an African American teacher, Warren Littlejohn, and the first female African American principal, Roberta Byrd Barr. It was open for 74 years, through historical events such as World War II, when the editor of the school paper was sent to a Japanese internment camp alongside presidents of other popular clubs at the school.

In early Sept. the current five staff members at Lincoln, including Principal Ruth Medsker and Assistant Principal Cory Eichner, came to answer any questions the transfer students may have. They gathered the current freshmen class and prepared them for the leading role they’ll take in their sophomore year at Lincoln. While the prospect of entering a new school can be upsetting for some, freshman Anvita Deenadayalan is excited.

“Because they’re going to be a lot less people it’s gonna be really cool, there are going to be new opportunities,” Deenadayalan said. “I heard you can design the school for community service hours. And you can make new clubs instead of joining other ones.”

However, a month into the school year has everybody settled into their routine, and not every transfer student is excited for the coming year. Some fear the loss of stability in their high school plan, including freshman Noel Poltronieri.

“Honestly, not a fan of that,” Poltronieri said. “I feel like we just started high school and I’m definitely worried about leaving a lot of my friends that aren’t going to Lincoln.”

Lincoln is planning to be a comprehensive high school with dual language, all sports and pathways being offered, including the offer of a student-run design team to help plan out the new school. Medsker has emphasized community involvement in planning the new school.

“We are going to plan some events for them to come and get together, plan gear, create the ASB constitution,” said Medsker. “Our counselor will be up there a couple times a month to start where kids can come in and ask questions.”

The school is planning to keep old traditions alive such as their historical red and black colors and Lynx mascot. The yearbook and Totem newspaper will be offered in school as well. The biggest changes, highlighted by Medsker, will be in teachers and application of learning.

“We are hiring teachers who are very student-centered, who believe students need to be presenting their learning,” Medsker said. “It’s important to me that kids learn not just the skills and the knowledge but how to apply that and solve problems and to create new ideas.”

The school has hired 20 teachers, many from out of the SPS district, all having taught at either high school or middle school level. Recent hires to Ballard could be potentially moved to Lincoln, although there’s been no decision yet.

“We’re going to be a school that learns with passion, acts with courage to improve the world,” Medsker said. “Students will do a lot of application learning to solve world problems and presenting that learning publicly.”

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Lincoln high school to reopen fall of 2019