Inclusivity, equity + diversity: World-class charter school opens in Renton

New school focuses on project-based and social-emotional learning with individualized instruction

At Impact Public Schools, the education philosophy is simple, but deeply meaningful: Children learn best in a positive, joyful environment, where personalized instruction includes activities that are culturally responsive and relationship-based.

Now, they’re excited to open their fourth school – Impact | Black River Elementary, opening this fall in Renton.

Impact Public Schools provides a diverse student population with the tools they need to succeed throughout their academic career and impact communities as the next generation of equity-driven, innovative leaders. “One thing that is unique about Impact is that we place students in small groups daily, making sure they receive instruction that is just right for them,” says Egypt Burton-Charles, Impact | Black River Elementary Founding Principal. “Students also participate in project-based learning units, where they engage in hands-on experiences to deepen their knowledge.”

For example, In Impact’s ‘Bread from Around the World’ project, Kindergarten students explore how bread is made and enjoyed by different people around the world, then make and share bread with students and families at a Community Showcase.

Impact | Black River Elementary Founding Principal, Egypt Burton-Charles.

Impact | Black River Elementary Founding Principal, Egypt Burton-Charles.

Relationship skills

Grounded in social-emotional learning, Impact Public Schools’ model also allows students to participate in relationship-based activities, aimed at building skills, habits and mindsets critical to their academic and personal development.

“Social-emotional learning is a critical part of our model, even before the pandemic,” Charles says. “We have always realized that we need our focus to be on what it means to be an emotionally healthy child.

“We ask the question ‘What does it mean to be nice and be kind?’, and we give kids the chance to articulate that, or to simply ask for the help or space they need. We really lean into giving scholars those skills. Feeling seen, heard and valued is a big part of inclusivity and equity.”

Supporting diversity

Impact learning is bound together with positivity and joy, in physically and emotionally safe environments, supporting families in the racially, ethnically, linguistically and socioeconomically diverse South Puget Sound region.

“I’ve been teaching since 2001, and I’ve never seen a space like this,” Charles says. “We support families from all walks of life, and our faculty reflects the diversity of our community. For example, when some of our students observe Ramadan with fasting and prayers, we have teachers who are doing the same.”

Impact | Black River Elementary is actively filling seats for the 2023/24 school year for grades Transitional Kindergarten (pre-school) through Grade 1. They’re also hiring teachers and special education teachers.

Learn more on Facebook and Instagram, and email info@impactps.org or call 206-712-7640 for more information.

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