Lumen High School and GLOW Early Childhood Learning CenterJul 30, 2020 12:45PM ● By Amber McKenzie
by Sheila Julson
Teenage pregnancy can have a traumatic impact on a teen's life, affecting school, family relationships and career opportunities. As a licensed mental health therapist, Katie Jessop had worked with many teenage parents and saw how the demands of parenting impacts youth. Those experiences led her to co-form Lumen High School and the adjoining GLOW Early Childhood Learning Center, a public charter high school for teenage parents and their children.
Lumen and GLOW—an acronym for “Go Light Our World”—will open in September 2020 and provide a healthy, social environment for teens and their children. “They can get back on track to where their lives would have been academically if they had not gotten pregnant,” Jessop explains. “We also want to build a student population with strong voices so they can go out and feel empowered to advocate for themselves and others in the community. They’ll gain confidence to work, volunteer or contribute to their communities in some way.”
Lumen and GLOW was born from a chance meeting between
Jessop and Shauna Edwards, executive director of Lumen. Jessop had studied
under Dr. Kent Hoffman, a clinician, attachment researcher and founder of
Circle of Security, which focuses on parent-child relationships. After working
with local programs focused on teenage parents, Jessop was inspired to open a
childhood center based on Circle of Security. However, funding challenges,
along with Jessop’s own pregnancy, put that idea on hold.
Through a colleague, Jessop met Edwards, who at the time was writing a grant to establish an educational program for teen parents. “She was finding that many schools with childcare programs to serve teenage parents had suffered from budget cuts,” Jessop says. “That left students with very limited high school options.”
Edwards knew the steps to start a high school but knew little about the early learning aspect. “I told her I had been working on starting a childhood learning center,” Jessop enthuses. The women combined forces and also brought in Melissa Pettey, Lumen’s principal, to establish Lumen and GLOW as a charter school through the Washington State Charter School Association.
An Educational Model to Empower Teen Parents
Lumen will serve male and female teen parents and expectant teen parents ages 14 through 21. Students will have access to the child care center with hours that mirror the high school. Because the high school is next door, teens can have lunch with their child, take part in a daily parenting class and then put their own children down for naps before returning to afternoon academic classes. “Parents get time to just be themselves and focus on academics, but we also have scheduled time for them to be with their child and get support for healthy parenting,” Jessop affirms.
Through a number of community partnerships, Lumen and GLOW will be able to offer mental health services, drug and alcohol counseling, occupational therapy and have a small medical clinic right at the school. Jessop says they’re working on a partnership with a local dentist’s office to block out certain days for students and their children to receive dental checkups. The school will also offer sexual and reproductive health classes to help teens prevent unwanted pregnancies.
“Because we’re a charter school, we can be flexible and also offer things like trauma-informed yoga,” Jessop says. The curriculum is based on Newtech Network, a project-based learning model that is socially and emotionally aware. “When you teach academics through social and emotional lenses, people tend to learn better,” Jessop says. Credit makeup options are available if students have to miss school for family or health reasons.
As the director of early learning and relational learning for GLOW, Jessop says they will serve ages birth through 12. GLOW has a partnership with Spokane-based Joya that assists children birth through age three with special needs. The GLOW staff will be trained in a healthy, research-based attachment protocol that encourages positive relationships with parents, children and their teachers.
From July 15 through August 15, the Spokane Chapter of the Holistic Chamber of Commerce (HCC) is sponsoring a GLOW fundraiser called BinGLOW. A take on Bingo, the game will have a card with 25 accessible, family-friendly activities that get participants out into their communities and into nature while socially distancing. Playing cards are available for a $10 suggested donation, and players are encouraged to ask their family and friends for pledges for each activity they complete.
“They are easy, accessible activities people can do no matter where they live,” Jessop says. “They’re designed to open the mind to imagination and play while being connected to the environment.”
Another fundraiser will run through early September that will highlight 12 people from the Lumen and GLOW communities doing short videos that will help generate information on education, advocacy and donation opportunities.
Lumen High School and GLOW Early Learning Center are located at 718-720 W. Riverside Ave., Spokane. For more information, call 509-570-3921 or visit LumenHighSchool.org, Facebook.com/Lumen High School, GLOWChildren.org or Facebook.com/GlowChildrenEarlyLearningCenter.
Join the Spokane Holistic Chamber of Commerce in supporting the GLOW bingo fundraiser by purchasing a BinGLOW card for $10 at GLOWChildren.org/binglow.