How an anti-racism initiative connects Seattle students to career paths at all levels

Seventeen-year-old Brandon Johnson spent a Wednesday afternoon this spring participating in an unusual school field trip — a visit to a construction site in Lynnwood that would soon be a Sound Transit light-rail station. 

Listening intently over the noisy machinery, the Roosevelt High School junior learned how the elevators were built, saw why the concrete needs to be smoothed, discovered how structural engineers make it all work, and heard about the role architects play in the project. Kevin Johns, the senior superintendent of the project, acted as guide. 

“If you’re interested in the trade, there’s money to be made, and a lot of it,” he told the group of Seattle Public Schools students. 

Johnson was among 40 Black male students to tour the job site and connect with workers and managers in the field. The Office of African American Male Achievement (AAMA) at Seattle Schools partnered with Skanska, a multinational construction and development company based in Sweden, to make trips like this possible for students. 

The partnership is part of a broader, districtwide initiative to dismantle anti-Black racism and make the education system work for students of color, specifically Black boys. That’s been a focus since 2019, a few years after the disparity in test scores between Black and white students in the district gained national attention

Wednesday, June 22, 2022 - 2:28pm