Roxhill Elementary School to move buildings, making way for Interagency Academy branch
By Gwen Davis
New space changes are happening at West Seattle public schools this coming year.
The Roxhill Elementary School will move to the renovated EC Hughes building, less than two miles from its current location. Meanwhile, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) will allocate the existing building to the Interagency Academy, a small alternative high school program for students coming from tough backgrounds who need extra support. The building space will also be shared with two special education programs: BRIDGES, which serves students ages 18-21 with disabilities, and In Tandem, a program designed to help middle school students reintegrate back into their regular schools.
On Thursday evening, administrators from the Interagency Academy met with community members to discuss the plans.
"We are a program for kids who need a smaller environment, we’re an alternative school and have individualized support plans that meet each student's needs," said Melissa Rysemus, assistant principal at Interagency Academy. "We're very excited to be here."
The Interagency Academy has several branches around Seattle, with the West Seattle branch currently located in the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. On average, 50 students attend the branch, but it could go as high as 70.
Interagency will use one half of the building, and the special education programs will use the other, with separate entrances. They'll share a lunchroom and gym.
Kaaren Andrews, principal at Interagency Academy, said that most West Seattle Interagency students actually live closer to Roxhill than Youngstown, which will make the change even more convenient. With the additional space that the facility provides, Andrews hopes to grow the branch.
"I’m really excited to be in this neighborhood, being from West Seattle myself," Rysemus said. Additionally, she noted that the branch has a strong arts program, which will continue to thrive in the new space.
"We have a really great arts partnership with Youngstown that we’re bringing with us," she said. "There's art everyday, and its brought our community even closer together and let students express themselves. It's been really powerful."