During their trip to the United States, Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, last week visited an unusual charter school in Washington that has received accolades for its work with inner-city children.
The royal couple, first lady Laura Bush, and other dignitaries toured the SEED School of Washington on Nov. 2.
The college-preparatory boarding school, whose name stands for School for Educational Evolution and Development, was founded in 1998 and serves 320 students in grades 7-12. The school is based on a model developed by the SEED Foundation, a national nonprofit organization that hopes to open more such schools in urban areas.
In July, the school won an Innovations in American Government award from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. The school’s first two graduating classes, in 2004 and 2005, achieved a 100 percent acceptance rate to four-year colleges and universities.
Last week’s visitors were led by two student guides on a tour of the dormitories, the student center, the cafeteria, and two classrooms. They chatted with students in an 8th grade English class who were studying African literature, and in an 11th grade U.S. history class covering the War of 1812.
They helped plant an English oak tree in the school courtyard commemorating the visit. Before they left, the royal couple greeted throngs of students in a roped-off line.
“The students were literally five or six feet away from the prince and his wife,” said Elizabeth Frazier, the director of communications for the SEED Foundation. “We hadn’t planned it. It was really nice and totally unscripted. He incredibly wowed our students.”
The royal couple was scheduled this week to visit the Edible Schoolyard project at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley, Calif., which was developed with the famed chef Alice Waters to teach students about growing and eating healthful food.
A version of this article appeared in the November 09, 2005 edition of Education Week