Alternative high school moves into new building


Staff writer

Truman High School, Federal Way Public Schools’ small alternative high school, moved into its new $6 million facility Monday.

“It’s about time!” said principal Pam Morris-Stendal. Since she came to the school 12 years ago, she’s wanted a new facility.

“The building was built in 1953. After 50 years, things get run down and broken,” she said. “Window handles broke off. Doors wouldn’t open. The building was old and sagging.”

The old school is slated for destruction. Students were allowed to say farewell to it by writing with markers on the interior walls.

“This is the room that inspired me to be the best I could be,” one student wrote. “But more important than the room was what it had inside. I want to thank those around me for everything they’ve done, though some may not know they did anything at all.”

The new facility is much like a modern work environment, Morris-Stendal said. Truman attempts to educate its 190 students for the workplace. Many students have internships in the community two days a week and are in the classroom three days a week. While interning, the students develop a relationship with a professional mentor.

The alternative approach to secondary education is meant to address the fact that a lot of kids are not making it in the big school, Morris-Stendal said.

At the opening ceremonies Monday morning, it was said that one-third of eighth graders would drop out before graduating, one-third would float through school, graduating but never achieving anything, and only the final third have a successful experience at a traditional high school.

“Our belief is that if you find something the kids are passionate about, it goes a lot better,” she said. “A small school is one way to connect with the students.”

The new Truman school is located at 31455 28th Ave. S., on the same lot as its predecessor. It was funded through a bond measure approved by voters in 1999.

Staff writer Kenny Ching: 925-5565.

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