Skip To ContentSkip To Content

    The Center School

    Our Mission: To Empower and Inspire All Students to Positively Impact Our World

    The Center School (TCS or Center) is a small public high school with a focus on the arts and community engagement. Located at the heart of the Seattle Center, TCS draws its 300 students from throughout the Seattle School District.

    Since 2001, The Center School's rigorous, college-prep, academic curriculum has attracted attention. Located in the Center House, the school utilizes resources in the heart of Seattle's cultural, civic and arts communities. There is an effort to extend learning beyond the classroom walls by using professional venues for drama classes, creating partnerships with local artists, and involving ourselves in the city. A focus on social justice issues also provides opportunities for students to have an impact on the world outside the schoolhouse.

    In 2001, Seattle Public Schools opened The Center School, focusing on integrating the arts into the curriculum. Arts integration can significantly advance students' academic and creative abilities and cognitive functioning. It can strengthen all areas of visual, oral, and written communication and provide more opportunities for creative problem-solving and analytical thinking necessary for the 21st century.

    We believe that ...

    • The achievement gap must be eliminated;
    • All students have an inherent ability and desire to achieve at a high standard;
    • Students learn best through a curriculum that engages , utilizes relevant experience, and works across disciplines;
    • Students learn best when using the artistic/creative process for acquiring knowledge and demonstrating understanding;
    • Staff members are responsible for providing support and structure to help all students achieve;
    • Diversity is celebrated in an environment that is safe, accepting, supportive, respectful, and free of all forms of discrimination;
    • Collaborative, supportive, nurturing relationships between staff and students are essential to grow as learners;
    • Families and community play a critical role in the success of students;
    • Teachers model the life-long learning skills of goal-setting, collaborating, researching, applying, and reflecting;
    • Student voices are crucial to the learning process and to the development of a positive school culture;
    • Learning is a life-long passion and pursuit.

    The Center School's Vision:

    • Demonstrate mastery in humanities, math, science, Spanish, and the arts;
    • Exhibit creativity, critical thinking skills, and real-world problem solving abilities;
    • Make and value connections among the disciplines, the arts, and the world;
    • Identify and utilize research techniques in order to acquire, analyze, and apply knowledge;
    • Articulate concepts and ideas through written, oral, and artistic expression in all subjects;
    • Utilize computers, the Internet, and other technological tools to research and present ideas;
    • Demonstrate motivation and persistence in striving for high quality work;
    • manage time effectively and work productively, both independently and as a member of a team;
    • Seek knowledge, be curious, and value life-long learning;
    • Demonstrate tolerance, responsibility, and personal integrity in becoming a concerned citizen;
    • Make positive contributions to the community and our world;
    • Engage in the process of self-discovery.

    Highlights of The Center School

    • Small learning community of 300 students
    • Purposeful integration of arts
    • Increased graduation requirements in core academic classes across the curriculum
    • Block scheduling
    • Later start to school day
    • Performance-based assessments
    • Inquiry-based curriculum for math and science
    • AP offerings in language arts and biology
    • Four-year integrated humanities program
    • Two-year integrated science program
    • Drama partnership with the Seattle Repertory Theater
    • Digital film/video program
    • Creative writing - poetry
    • Clubs and groups: Student Senate (ASB), Model United Nations, Theater Sports, Yearbook, Earth Now!, Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA), Ultimate Frisbee, Soccer 

    With fewer than 300 students in grades 9-12, the school offers personalized instruction. Courses of study are designed with the expectation that all students will continue on to post-secondary education. While some students may pursue a career in performing or fine arts or technical work, all students will graduate with an appreciation for the contribution of the arts to our culture.

    The Center School is open to any student, grades 9-12, in Seattle. Students come from all over the city (via a free Metro pass) to create a close-knit, diverse community. Located just north of downtown, TCS is convenient to the residential communities of Queen Anne/Magnolia, Fremont/Wallingford, West Seattle/Beacon Hill, and the commercial and business centers of South Lake Union, Belltown, and Downtown Seattle. The urban community, just a few blocks from the waterfront, is rich in educational and cultural opportunities. Partnerships with neighboring corporate and arts organizations provide enrichment for students with performances and internships. Parent involvement is evident and welcomed in every facet of the school.

    Policy on Absences and Tardies

    In order to be successful at school your student needs to be here. We follow the district guidelines on attendance.

    If your student is absent a certain number of days, you will receive a letter from us. If the absences continue, we will have you and your student sign an Student Attendance Agreement.

    Please note that if a student is 10 minutes late to a class, they are technically absent and will be marked absent for that class period. Again, it is imperative that your student is here at school in order to progress academically.

    Please plan your vacations around our school calendar.

    If your student is ill and needs to miss school, you may email teachers for homework assignments. When your student returns, he/she will have time to make up those assignments.

    The Center School Policy on Absences follow the BECCA Laws, the Washington State Policy Regarding Attendance.  

    from the King County Page on BECCA Laws:


    The Washington State Becca Laws include Truancy, At-Risk Youth, and Children in Need of Services.


    Washington State Truancy Laws are intended to curb attendance issues before they become habitual. The law requires students to attend school, and if a student does not attend school, school districts to take action to address the student's truancy.

    One or Two Unexcused Absences 
    After a single unexcused absence, the school district is required to contact parents. After a second unexcused absence, the school is required to schedule a conference with the parent and student to discuss solutions to the truancy.

    Five Unexcused Absences
    If a student has five unexcused absences in a month, the school may file a petition with the Superior Court; enter into a written truancy agreement with the family; refer the family to a "community truancy board" if one exists; or take other reasonable action. A community truancy board is comprised of citizen volunteers who help to resolve individual truancy cases.

    Seven and Ten Unexcused Absences
    Court action is required when a student reaches seven unexcused absences in a month or ten in a year. The truancy law requires that school districts file a petition in Superior Court against the student, parent, or both. After a petition is filed, several things may happen with a student case. Depending on the circumstances of each individual case, a student's petition may not be immediately heard by the Court.


    June 23, 2011

    Time CommitmentIn general, a TCS student should expect to spend up to one hour on homework per subject every time the class meets. Classes with long-term projects/performances will provide checkpoints throughout but may require increased hours of homework before final deadlines. Note: Advanced Placement (AP) classes & Advanced Film classes (levels 3 & 4) are an exception to the one hour guideline.

    * Time and support for homework are available for students during Tutorial and Homework Club.

    Purpose, Guidelines, and Grading CriteriaThe purpose, guidelines, and grading criteria for the homework assignment will be made clear to the student at the time it is assigned. This will be communicated in the learning objective for the assignment, in the guidelines for the assignment or in the course syllabus. These should be posted in a visible location in the classroom, on the Source, or provided to the student/family in writing.

    Types of Homework: There are three categories of homework assignments and each has its own late work grading policy. Teachers will identify the category into which each assignment falls when it is assigned.

    Category A: Projects and Long Term Assignments

    For assignments in this category, students must be informed what percent reduction in his/her grade he/she can expect for work turned in late and specify the conditions, if any, under which a late pass will be accepted.

    Category B: Preparation Assignments

    For assignments whose completion is necessary to participate in the activity taking place the next time the class meets, (e.g., a write-up preparing for a science lab. , a reading reflection for a class discussion, bringing in an object to use for a drawing),no late work will be accepted for a grade due to the time-sensitive nature of the assignment.

    Category C: Practice Assignments

    Late work will be accepted for a reduced grade or with a late pass. The conditions under which late work will be accepted and the grade reduction amount must be spelled out in the individual instructor’s class syllabus that is provided to the student/family at the beginning of the semester.

    *When individual homework contracts, IEPs, and 504s circumvent any part of the school-wide homework policy, these documents must specify how late assignments will be graded and the conditions under which the work will be accepted for a grade.

    ** Late work cut-off dates are set for each quarter by the school. Work from each quarter will not be accepted after the identified date.

    ***For every class meeting that students miss due to an excused absence, they will be given one class meeting to make up the missing assignment(s) without a reduction in their grade. Students will not receive credit for assignments missed due to an unexcused absence.

    This school-based homework policy will be reviewed each fall as part of our school’s Continuous School Improvement Plan (C-SIP).

    Group of students in the hallway

    Contact Us

    305 Harrison Street
    Seattle, WA 98109

    Main: 206-252-9850
    Fax: 206-252-9851
    Barbara Casey

    School Admin: Tracey Lott

    Attendance: Kathy Webb 

    Staff Directory

    Bell Schedule

    Start and End Times:
    8:55 a.m. - 3:45 p.m.
    Early Release Wednesday:
    8:55 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

    M, T, TH, F

    Period Time