The African American Academy (AAA) on South Beacon Hill will hold a Juneteenth celebration on June 19 focusing on the life, purpose, and accomplishments of the Academy. The AAA program has been discontinued and the Van Asselt Elementary program will be housed in the AAA building next school year, after a century at their previous site.
The Academy program first opened as a K-5 school in 1991 at the new Colman School (now Thurgood Marshall) and eventually became a K-8 at Sharples (now Aki Kurose). The current AAA building was specifically designed for K-8 use and opened in 2000.
The Juneteenth event, “Celebrating the Life of the Academy”, is on Friday, June 19 from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the African American Academy, 8311 Beacon Avenue South.
There are a couple of free events on the Hill this Saturday, May 2:
Kidney Health Fest for African American Families (and everyone else)
Northwest Kidney Centers are sponsoring a Kidney Health Fest where guests can take part in health screenings; try healthy food samples by local celebrity chefs; enjoy entertainment, music, and exhibits; try an obstacle course for all ages; enter to win prizes such as iPods, and more. The fair is from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm at the African American Academy, 8311 Beacon Avenue South.
Cinco de Mayo celebration with El Centro de la Raza
There are a lot of strong opinions about the closures, and it seems that very few are happy (except, perhaps, the Arbor Heights and Alternative School #1 communities, who dodged the closure bullet earlier in this process). The heavy impact of the closure plan on Central and Southeast Seattle, as well as the impact on minority and low-income children, is fairly obvious; and the expulsion of James Bible, president of the local branch of the NAACP, from last night’s School Board meeting certainly doesn’t contribute to any sense of fairness in the way the District has dealt with the situation. If a lot of South Seattle families feel betrayed by the District today, it’s hardly a surprise.
A couple of opinions from the local blogs: Dick Lilly concludes on Crosscut that “the experience may all add up to distrust of the superintendent, and that would be a slide downhill from the hopes with which she was welcomed two years ago”; Scott at the Central District News suggests “maybe some day we’ll get some school leaders who put education first and fight to fund it right, and shut down schools in other people’s neighborhoods only as a very last resort.”
Mike Lewis at the Under the Needle blog has an update about Deb Manuma, the single mom who was nearly evicted from her Beacon Hill home through no fault of her own when her landlord neglected to pay his mortgage. Manuma now has a new home in Skyway, though she still lives near Beacon Avenue — Seattle P-I
Beacon Hillian Candice is having neighbor problems — noise, inconsiderate parking, a barking dog, you name it. She says, “we just want it to stop and we don’t know what to do.” Can you provide any advice? — Beacon Hill Blog Forums
Here are current recommendations for this part of the city (the South and Southeast clusters of the Seattle Public School system, plus Thurgood Marshall which is just north of I-90):
Half of Lowell APP to Thurgood Marshall (Half of the Lowell APP program will remain at Lowell)
Thurgood Marshall EBOC to Dunlap and Hawthorne
Van Asselt to African-American Academy
African-American Academy (K-5 students will be reassigned to Van Asselt, and 6-8 students will be reassigned based on where they live.)
NOVA and SBOC will be moving to Meany, and Summit K-12 is still recommended for closure.
A motion on these recommendations will be introduced to the school board at their meeting tomorrow, January 7. The board will then vote on the plan on January 29. In the meantime, there are two public hearings planned, one at Lowell, 1058 E. Mercer Street, at 6:30–8:30 pm on January 20, and one at the school district headquarters in Sodo, the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence, 2445 3rd Avenue South, at 6:30–8:30 pm on January 22. To testify, you must be added to the list in advance. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 206-252-0042 to do this.
Among all the school closure craziness going on, we missed that there is a community meeting scheduled tonight (“to hear questions and concerns from our school community”) at the African-American Academy, 8311 Beacon Avenue South, 5:30 – 7:30 pm. Tonight there are also meetings for Madrona K-8 (4:30 – 5:30 pm), Summit K-12 @ Jane Addams (6:00 – 8:00 pm), and Thurgood Marshall Elementary (6:00 – 7:00 pm).
The recently proposed merger between Rainier Beach and Cleveland high schools is apparently off the table again. (Amber Campbell at the Rainier Valley Postposts a possible reason why: the potential gang violence, according to several unnamed Seattle Police Department South Precinct sources, would have been significant.) Instead, one potential option is to close Aki Kurose Middle School, moving those students to Rainier Beach, which would then have a 6-12 comprehensive performing arts program. Another involves discontinuing the Center School program and moving its students from Seattle Center to Rainier Beach.
The African-American Academy is still scheduled for closure, with students from Van Asselt to move into that building.
These changes would save the district an estimated $3.6 million, but with the district’s expected budget gap up to $37.1 million — $13 million higher than previously estimated — it seems there will be a long way to go.
“This is all a part of the ORIGINAL, mostly UNDOCUMENTED South East Initiative. That planned called for RBHS to merge with Aki, to become a performing arts academy. Problem is, the district didn’t want to front the money and actually invest, they wanted someone else to come in and set up shop. Problem is, after the TAF debacle, folks were leery (’cept the brave and righteous souls at Broadway Bound) of doing business with SPS.
Just a couple of blocks away from the north tip of Beacon Hill is the Mi La Cay Vietnamese soup restaurant (mi soup, similar to pho, but with some differences), reviewed favorably by D.J. Yasui — Northwest Cheap Eats Examiner
As we reported last night, the Van Asselt building has been proposed for closure: its students would move to the nearby African American Academy building, and the Academy program would be discontinued. By law, the school district must have public hearings before closing a building. Van Asselt’s hearing is Monday, December 15, 6:30-8:30pm, at the school, 7201 Beacon Avenue South.
Public testimony will be limited to 3 minutes per speaker, and is expected to focus on the school building about which the hearing is being held. To sign up to give testimony, please call (206) 252-0042 or e-mail email@example.com.
If you are interested in hearings for any of the other school buildings on the closure list such as Lowell or Mann, the hearing schedule is here, as is information about community workshops to discuss the other proposed program changes.