About Us

Seattle World School is Seattle Public Schools’ culturally and linguistically diverse school for newcomer secondary students. It is one of only a few schools in the country designed as a preliminary entry point for immigrant children in their quest for academic achievement and full participation in American society.

Seattle World School studentsStudents arrive from all over the world, some from war-torn countries and refugee camps while others arrive with families on work projects or permanent visas. Some arrive with no previous education while others have benefited from a strong academic background and simply need to work on daily English usage.

The school was originally established in 1980 as the Secondary bilingual Orientation Center (SBOC). Until 2011 it provided only a basic orientation to English and academic skills. After one to three semesters, students transitioned to neighborhood secondary schools. This program continues to serve newly arrived immigrants and refugees as they begin to learn English as well as math, science, history, and electives. All students in this program take classes to prepare for transfer to a regular middle or high school or to the World School high school.

Seattle World School student

The high school track was initiated in 2011.  It now provides standard academic curriculum that leads to a high school diploma. English language support is integrated with academic courses in a project-based learning environment. This is for students who don’t speak English as a first language as well as for first generation American-born youth, ELL students at other secondary schools, and even students who have been “exited” from ELL services in their previous schools.

The school has a specialized on-site health center, enrollment center, and family support center. Families are supported to participate in their student’s education and reinforce their academic success. All students have access to extended day academic programs, extracurricular activities, and tutoring six days a week. Volunteers from all over the city make these programs possible. Community agencies also work as partners with the school, providing academic support and bolstering the school’s emphasis on multicultural awareness and respect.

For more information, visit the school’s website.

About The Friends of Seattle World School:

We are a network of individuals from different ethnic backgrounds and professions and we function as an informal PTSA. We came together in 2007 as “Friends of SBOC” when it was clear that language, cultural and logistical factors made it difficult for students’ families to organize as a traditional PTSA. Our group includes retirees, representatives from community-based organizations that serve refugees and immigrants, volunteer tutors, staff members, leaders from various ethnic communities, former teachers, parents of former students, and local citizens who want to support the school, its students, and staff.

Seattle World School students

Our purpose is to partner with the Seattle School District and the community at large to ensure that our students develop the academic and social competencies needed to graduate, pursue higher education or vocational training, and find opportunities for a better future in our community.


Our current efforts include:

  • Ensuring the School District fulfills its commitment of support for the World School
  • Advocating for the school’s unique role and its students’ special needs
  • Reinforcing the link between ethnic communities and the school
  • Providing college and vocational scholarships and mentoring for alumni of the school

We encourage the participation of anyone who shares our goals.

Please contact Diane Steen:  seattleworldschoolfriends@gmail.com for further information about the Friends or volunteering.