Founded in 1980, the Secondary Bilingual Orientation Center School (SBOC) helps immigrant children carve out an identity in their new country by providing them with academic, social, and life skills they need.
Staff members at SBOC have an extremely difficult task. Some of the students who attend SBOC have already had extensive schooling and only need to learn English. Others, however, have never attended school. More than 30 languages and dialects are spoken at SBOC.
SBOC is giving itself a makeover over the next three years, in order to better serve its students. One of the changes will be a new name — something catchier than SBOC.
This is a good direction for SBOC to move in. A new name is a way to re-brand the school, to give it a fresh new start. Due to its students’ immigrant background, test scores at SBOC don’t necessarily appear impressive on paper. Unfortunately, some people only see the numbers, not the whole picture. Due to this, SBOC has partly acquired an unfortunate reputation.
We think a name change, in tandem with other revamps like offering core subject courses, will be what the SBOC needs to help students transition into other schools, a process which can be very difficult.
Additionally, a new name can subtly change how others see the school, perhaps give it some prestige.
We particularly like the idea of naming the school after a person. Students will enter the school ready to learn about the school’s namesake. The person’s achievements will be read or studied by the students. It can set the tone for some of the goals of the students and the staff members. It can be a source of inspiration.
Currently, we’re not endorsing any names, as the renaming process is still in its preliminary stages. However, we can offer some thoughts on what makes a good name. Currently, SBOC is accepting name suggestions from community members (contact the school at 206-252-2200).
It’s important to put a lot of consideration into a suggestion and for it to be related and connected to the community. The name should help to elevate the status and benefit the school through the association.
Ask yourself several questions. How will the new name help students, teachers, and the community?
Remember, SBOC is made up of students from dozens of countries. Aside from the fact that they don’t speak English well yet, what do all of these students have in common?
Lastly, remember that your work is not done after you submit a name. It should actually be the beginning of your support of the school. The Kurose family frequently volunteers with Aki Kurose Middle School, and we can learn a lot from them. Though the adage is often heard, it rings true in this case: It takes a village to raise a child. ♦