Why HATCH, why now?
by Jessica Ross
When my great friend, Sarah Peterson, said she was thinking about starting a girl centered High School in Seattle with her longtime colleague Jessica Hanson, three thoughts simultaneously came to life in my mind. My analytical brain thought, “Seattle needs a school like this, it doesn’t exist, and it should for so many reasons.” My emotional response was, “This kind of school would have been perfect for the teenage me and so many of my friends!” My entrepreneurial spirit said, “I can help with this, what do you need?” From that moment I was part of The Hatch School community.
I recently read in a HATCH School press release that there hasn’t been a new girl’s high school in Seattle since 1880, that’s 142 years! How is this possible with the rate at which Seattle has grown and the changing needs of our community? The HATCH School is the only secular girl centered High School in the area and the response from families, educators and students has been enthusiastic and overwhelmingly positive.
The idea of a High School being built on a foundation that centers student needs, equity, and research best practice is inspiring. I want this school to exist in our community so that girls have the opportunity to join a community where they are challenged academically, supported to take risks, and explore how what they are learning applies to the next chapters of their lives. I know this environment would have been immensely helpful to me as a high school student and I want to be part of creating it for students today and available as a choice for my daughter in the future.
Not surprisingly, launching a school is a massive endeavor. From the ongoing challenge of securing startup funding, to securing a school building, to building an admissions process the challenges have been constant and filled with learning new skills for all of us. Partnering with (mostly cheering on) Sarah and Jessica during the past year has been an object lesson in entrepreneurial drive as they assess and work through each expected and unexpected challenge along the way. I’m proud to be part of The HATCH community and doing my part to launch what I believe will be a school model other communities will be looking to for answers in the not-too-distant future.
Jessica Ross is the current chair of The Hatch School's Board of Trustees and consults for nonprofits on strategic planning, advancement, and board engagement at Wake Consulting.