Category Archives: Education

Beacon Hill teens: Street Stories application deadline is today!

Screen Shot 2013-03-29 at 2.55.56 AMBeacon Hill 6th – 12th graders, this is your chance to participate in a free 5-week after-school digital video storytelling program, but you’ll need to work fast — the deadline to apply is today!

In the Street Stories program, Beacon Hill youths will create video stories of their experiences living and walking in the neighborhood, using provided iPod Touch devices to create and edit the videos. Students will also receive training including video technology and storytelling techniques. The finished videos will be shown at community events, displayed on local websites, and used to build a new kind of walking map for the Beacon Hill neighborhood.

Eligible students are:

  • 6th-12th graders living or going to school on Beacon Hill
  • Able to participate at Jefferson Community Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-6 p.m. from April 2 though May 9.
  • Able to do a minimum of four hours of independent research

The program is limited to 20 students, and the deadline to apply is today, March 29. To apply, fill out this application form along with this E-13 Participant Information and Authorization Form and drop both forms off today at the front desk of Jefferson Community Center, marked “attention: Jean Lee.”

Selected students will be notified on Monday, April 1 (no fooling) before the first workshop on Tuesday.

Preschool, yoga and tax prep available at El Centro de la Raza

El Centro de la Raza from the south. Photo by Wendi Dunlap/Beacon Hill Blog.
Kids, yoga fans and taxpayers are part of some of the upcoming and current activities at El Centro de la Raza, 2524 16th Ave S. Read on for more information:

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Jonna Bracken is teaching yoga classes at Skin Deep Dance studio on the second floor of El Centro on Thursday evenings, from 7:00-8:15 p.m. The class is open to all levels of practitioners and is an alignment-based class. The fee is four classes for $55 or eight classes for $100, but you can try your first class for free. Questions? Contact Jonna via email at

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The José Martí Child Development Center is currently enrolling children aged 18 months to four years old for preschool programs with a focus on dual-language education in Spanish and English and a rich multicultural program featuring age-appropriate developmental goals to prepare kids for later success in kindergarten.

Classes for kids aged 18 months through three years start on April 1. Classes for four-year-olds start on June 1.

Assistance is available to fill out applications for subsidies from the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) or the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Slots are also available for private pay families. For more information or to enroll, call 206-957-4619 or email

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As mentioned on this site last month, there is a free tax preparation clinic currently operating at El Centro. In addition to tax preparation, help is available for completing the FAFSA (application for student loans for college), applying for food stamps, utility assistance, free credit reports and more.

The United Way Tax Preparation program is free for anyone making under $51,000. Bring photo ID and Social Security cards or Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, along with all wage and earnings statements and any other documents needed for tax filing.

Tax prep sessions are open at El Centro on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 to 9 p.m. (English/Spanish) and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (English/Spanish/Tagalog).

Shape up at Van Asselt CC this spring

Get rid of your old exercise albums and tapes and try Van Asselt’s fitness courses instead. Photo by Kevin Dooley via Flickr/Creative Commons.
Two upcoming classes at Van Asselt Community Center will help neighbors aged 18 and older shake off those winter pounds and get more fit.

The first class, Aerobics, will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 7 p.m., starting on April 2. Longtime instructor Noel Montgomery will lead the class. The cost to join is $75, or $65 for adults 65 and up.

The second class, Boot Camp, is an “intense evening workout” to gain strength and endurance while losing weight. The Van Asselt neighborhood is the exercise arena for this class, which will run on Tuesdays from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. starting on April 16. Cost for the Boot Camp class is $65.

Call 206–386–1921 to register or for more information.

BHIS principal honored as Principal of the Year

Kelly Aramaki.
Kelly Aramaki.
Beacon Hill International School Principal Kelly Aramaki was honored today as the Washington State Elementary School Principal of the Year. Aramaki, who has been the BHIS principal since 2011, was one of three finalists out of 18 statewide nominees, and will advance to a national celebration this fall in Washington D.C. as part of the National Distinguished Principal of the Year program.

The award was determined by a panel from the Elementary School Principals Association of Washington, who lauded Aramaki’s dedication to instructional leadership and engagement with the school, including occasionally breaking into song “to create a positive, collective identity” among the school’s staff.

Canning Connections cuts back on the sugar

Mmm… Cherry Preserves, by JeffreyW via Flickr/Creative Commons.
Beacon Hill’s Canning Connections will hold another workshop on Tuesday, March 26 from 7-9 p.m. at the Garden House (2336 15th Ave S.). This month’s workshop will cover low sugar options for preserving:

“We’ll be comparing at least two products for making jams with less sugar than conventional recipes. While sugar is considered necessary for preservation, many folks are looking for ways to cut back on the amount of added sweetness to their jams. This 4th Tuesday event is typically open to those with experience canning, but for this session all levels of experience are welcome to join us and taste test the results.”

The workshop is $15.00. Register on line here.

Culinary class: Making authentic pork tamales

Photo by anasararojas via Creative Commons/Flickr.

Get your apron ready for this month’s edition of El Centro de la Raza’s tamale-making class from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 16. A master tamalera will teach the traditional preparation of pork tamales, handmade with cultural ingredients including pork lard.

The $75/person class fee includes the recipe and one dozen uncooked tamales. Cooking supplies and ingredients will be provided, but you should bring your own apron. All fees go to support El Centro’s Senior Nutrition and Wellness program.

You can register online via Brown Paper Tickets. For more information, call 206-957-4611 or email

Cleveland HS girls win state 3A basketball championship

Congratulations to the Cleveland High School girls’ basketball team, who won the Washington State 3A basketball championship last night by 45-43 in a nail-biting finish after losing an 18-point lead earlier in the game. Read more in the Seattle Times.

South Seattle boys also found victory in a close game last night as Rainier Beach High School won the 3A championship over Lakeside in overtime, 62-59. It was the Vikings’ second title in a row and their fifth title since 2002. Coach Mike Bethea has now won a record six state championships, putting him ahead of Phil Lumpkin (O’Dea), Al Hairston (Garfield), and Ray Ricks (NW Christian-Colbert), each of whom guided their teams to the top spot five times. More here.

The Franklin High School boys fell to Rainier Beach 59-73 in Friday night’s 3A semi-final, and ended up in fifth place after losing to Lincoln 69-77. More here.

Cleveland HS STEM program hosts tours, open house

Here on Beacon Hill we have the only STEM high school in the region: Cleveland High School, an option school open to all students in Seattle Schools. Cleveland STEM will host school tours later this month and in early March, as well as hosting an open house on February 27 for prospective students and parents.

The school tours are on Thursday, February 21 and Wednesday, February 27 from 8:15 to 10:15 a.m. The open house is Wednesday, February 27, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Space is limited, so please RSVP with your phone number and preferred dates to registrar Kelly Tagupa at or 206-252-7814.

STEM stands for “science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” and Cleveland’s STEM program focuses on those fields through two academies, the School of Life Sciences and the School of Engineering and Design. Students in the STEM program take four years of math and science, with the opportunity to take AP courses. Find out more about the program at the website.

This video, STEM Pays, is an introduction to Cleveland’s STEM program and the careers STEM students prepare for.

Students participate in El Centro phone bank for school levies

Chief Sealth students participate in a phone bank in support of the school levies. Photo courtesy of Mwiza Kalisa.
Chief Sealth students participate in a phone bank in support of the school levies. Photo courtesy of Mwiza Kalisa.

by Mwiza Kalisa

Schools First, a non-profit volunteer-led organization that conducts Seattle’s public school levy campaigns, is seeking volunteers for phone banks at the organization’s headquarters. Yesterday evening, Chief Sealth High School students, parents and community members made calls at Beacon Hill’s El Centro de la Raza to remind voters to renew two upcoming school levies.

On February 12, Seattle voters will be asked to renew two property-tax levies that bridge state funding gaps and support facility improvements for Seattle Public Schools. Proposition 1, a $551.9 million Operations Levy, will provide funding for approximately 27 percent of Seattle Public School’s operating budget over the next three years. The school levy will help fund teachers’ salaries, textbooks, transportation, a sixth period for high school, and security and special-education programs, among other basic day-to-day costs not fully funded by the state. Proposition 2, the $694.9 million Capital Levy (BEX IV), will provide funding to maintain, improve and expand school buildings. Both propositions are renewals of existing levies. If approved, these levies would cost the owner of a $400,000 home $13 a month over what the homeowner pays on the expiring levies.

Blanca Olivera, a student at Chief Sealth High School, joined the volunteer callers at the event. “I think [the levies] are going to help us at the end of the road for everything we need,” she said. Olivera added that some of the challenges her school faces are large classroom sizes and outdated technology.

Phone bank opportunities for volunteers are Friday and Monday 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Saturday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Tuesday 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the McKinstry Innovation Center, 210 S. Hudson Street. Students who are interested in participating can receive community service hours.

Contact Kerry Cooley-Stroum at or Dayna Lurie at for more information.

Fitness classes still open at Van Asselt Community Center

It may be February, but it’s not too late to make or keep your New Year’s resolution. Yoga and aerobics classes are still open at at Van Asselt Community Center, 2820 S. Myrtle St.

Class information:

Ages: 18 and Older
1/14 – 3/4/13
6 – 7 pm
Cost: $75/$65(Seniors 65+)

Adult aerobics on Tuesday and Thursday nights with health and fitness expert, Noel Montgomery. No class 3/12.

Beginning Yoga
Ages: 18 and Older
Wednesday Nights
2/6 – 2/27
3/6 – 3/27
Cost: $30 per month

In this class you will learn the fundamentals of yoga. It is taught at a slower pace to allow you to experience postures fully and to learn to incorporate modifications specific to your abilities and limitations. The class is appropriate for both new yoga students and students with some experience who want to develop a regular practice. Please provide your own yoga mats and water bottle.

For more information, call 206-386–1921.