Tag Archives: van asselt

Police investigating possible misuse of funds at Van Asselt Elementary

According to a story by Brian M. Rosenthal and Jim Brunner of the Seattle Times, Seattle Police are investigating after a Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission (SEEC) investigation discovered a possible misuse of funds at Van Asselt Elementary School by the former principal and by a parent coordinator. (See the investigation report here.) The principal, ElDoris Turner, retired on March 16 after being placed on administrative leave, and the parent coordinator, Ramona Fuentes, was fired on Tuesday.

The SEEC investigation, acquired by the Times via a public records request, found that more than $30,000 in cash was withdrawn from an unauthorized school bank account maintained by Turner and Fuentes, and that “the documentation supporting these withdrawals is woefully inadequate.” Additionally, the SEEC found that Turner received payments for the use of Van Asselt’s gym, and “has not been able to document the amount of the payments or how they were used.” Those payments did not go to the school district, counter to district policy.

The investigation, according to the SEEC report, began when some parents and teachers at the school on South Beacon Hill began the process of creating a Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA). They asked Turner about funds the school had earned through fundraisers, and where those funds went. Turner replied that Fuentes controlled the money. Parents expressed concerns about the use and storage of cash at Van Asselt. Some said they had seen a bag of money in the office safe and a shoebox of cash in Turner’s office. Staff members stated that funds from a talent show and from a gift basket fundraiser were unaccounted for.

The SEEC report states that “Turner and Fuentes kept terrible records of the money that flowed into and out of the Account. Bank statements provide very limited information on the account activity, since many withdrawals were in cash(emphasis is in the original SEEC document — ed.). Checks on the account did appear to be for legitimate school purposes. But the report concludes “The SEEC cannot rule out the possibility that some of these funds were converted to personal use” and recommends that the school district involve law enforcement for further investigation.

Read more at the Seattle Times article.

Van Asselt’s “Extreme Readers” competing for city championship

The “Extreme Readers” reading team from Van Asselt Elementary School is among 10 teams of fourth- and fifth-graders who are competing in the city final of the 2011 Global Reading Challenge on March 29. The winning team from this event will face teams from Fraser Valley, BC and Coquitlam, BC in a video conference final at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 15.

More than 2,500 fourth- and fifth- graders from more than 40 Seattle Public Schools studied 10 books to prepare for the Challenge. Along with Van Asselt, schools represented in the city finals include Adams, B.F. Day, Bryant, Concord International, John Muir, Roxhill, Sanislo, Thurgood Marshall, and View Ridge.

The city final event is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 29 at the Central Library, 1000 Fourth Avenue, in the Microsoft Auditorium on Level 1. It is free and open to the public. Doors will open at 6:45 p.m. Parking is available in the Central Library garage for $5 after 5 p.m.

Beacon Bits: cerveza, soccer, and STEM

Now customers at El Quetzal can have beer with dinner. Photo by Jason.
El Quetzal, 3209 Beacon Avenue South, has been approved for a liquor license in the category “Restaurant – beer.” Now you can have a cerveza with your torta.

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Seattle Soccer Club members are looking for players to join them for a pick-up soccer game at the old Van Asselt Elementary School tomorrow, Saturday, January 23, at noon. (If the field is occupied, they’ll move across the street to the Van Asselt Community Center.) Players of all levels are welcome. Details are on their Meetup page.

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The South Seattle Beacon discusses Cleveland High School’s new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) option program that will open this fall. In the article, principal Princess Shareef expresses some worry that Beacon Hill families near Cleveland might not take advantage of the STEM program’s availability: “The teachers and families want it to remain diverse, but when we have community meetings, families from our community haven’t been showing up… I want the Beacon Hill community to understand what is going to be happening here and for them to consider having their kids be students here.” Cleveland is hosting an open house for the STEM program tomorrow, January 23, from 10:00 am – noon, at 5511 15th Avenue South. (via Seattle Public Schools community blog)

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Urban farmer (and MacArthur Genius Fellow) Will Allen is visiting Seattle on February 3 for a series of events promoting urban farming to help Seattle residents gain access to healthy food.

At 7:00 pm he’ll be at Mercer Middle School for “Inside the Urban Farmer’s Studio,” a free, community-wide discussion about food, urban farming, and food policy.

You can find out more about Allen and the February 3 events at the Delridge Grassroots Leadership website.

Education roundup: Open houses and more

Photo by Doug Wilson.
The STEM Open House and recruiting fair is happening at Cleveland High School on Saturday, January 23rd from 10am to noon. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and is a curriculum with where students may choose from two academies: Life Science and Global Health or Engineering and Technology. See the PDF flyer. More information on the program at seattleschools.org.

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Jerrod Gonzales, the Director of Childcare at Jefferson Community Center, shares:

[O]ur After-School program was lucky enough to receive a $3,000 grant from School’s Out Washington for quality improvement. We are very excited for the opportunity to add new reading and homework materials to our site to help our kids succeed!

The community center currently has openings in their after-school program — contact Jerrod if you’d like more information.

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Romina Rivera, Volunteer Coordinator for Youth Programs for Neighborhood House, writes:

WANTED: Mentors for Middle School Students

January is National Mentoring Month. To celebrate, Neighborhood House is launching the Recruit-A-Mentor Challenge. We’re trying to double the number of our CASASTART volunteer mentors for our middle school students.

Mentors are an important component of CASASTART. Each month, mentors join our students in various activities during after-school hours. These activities range from educational to simply hanging out. By being present each month, mentors become positive adult role models to our students which they may not otherwise have if it were not for the CASASTART program. The time commitment is two hours per month with the students plus some planning time with the other mentors. We ask that mentors commit at least six months to the program.

If you (or anyone you know) are interested in becoming a mentor, please e-mail RominaR@nhwa.org for more information on how to get started as a mentor.

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Lissa Munger, a teacher at Van Asselt Elementary, writes concerning an Open House there on Thursday, January 28th from 6:30-8:30pm:

We want to welcome community members, not just current Van Asselt families. At the open house, neighbors can:

  • Learn more about the Student Assignment Plan
  • Find out which schools your family is assigned to
  • See our facilities
  • Meet current Van Asselt staff and families (and district officials)
  • Hear about Van Asselt’s programs
  • Participate in a parent meeting

Please plan to join us!

Events this week: Immigration reform, free tree deadline, Van Asselt playground-in-a-day

Congressman Luis Gutierrez of Illinois will participate in a virtual town hall meeting about immigration reform this Wednesday. (Photo from luisgutierrez.house.gov.)
Congressman Luis Gutierrez of Illinois will participate in a virtual town hall meeting about immigration reform this Wednesday. (Photo from luisgutierrez.house.gov.)
El Centro de la Raza is hosting “A Call to Action for Immigration Reform,” on Wednesday, November 18 at 5:00 pm, including a virtual town hall with Representative Luis Gutierrez to discuss the principles of progressive immigration reform. The call in English will be at 5:00 pm, and in Spanish at 6:00 pm. El Centro de la Raza is located at 2524 16th Avenue South, and this event is in room 310. For more information, call 206-957-4605.

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A few weeks ago we mentioned the ReLeaf tree giveaway program, in which EarthCorp and the City are giving free trees to residents of Beacon Hill and three other Seattle neighborhoods. The deadline to apply for your free trees is tomorrow, Monday, November 16. Applications may be downloaded here. If you need more information about the program, contact  Lina Rose, EarthCorps Project Manager, lina@earthcorps.org, 206-793-2454.

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Another reminder: Thursday, November 19, is the day of the Van Asselt playground building project. Volunteers will help build the playground, along with MLS soccer players and representatives from Home Depot and KaBOOM! The MLS players are participating through MLS W.O.R.K.S., the league’s community outreach program, as part of the festivities building up to the MLS Cup next weekend at Qwest Field.

(Hat tip to Examiner.com.)

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Don’t forget to check our Events Calendar for more upcoming events on the Hill!

Volunteers needed for Van Asselt playground work day November 19

Photo of playground fun by GoonSquadSarah.
Photo of playground fun by GoonSquadSarah.
Keyunda Wilson of Van Asselt Elementary writes,

Dear Neighbors, the time has finally arrived! We will begin building our community playground at Van Asselt Elementary (8311 Beacon Ave. S.) on November 19. We are in need of 75 volunteers to help construct, spread wood chips, paint, and various other tasks. If you are available any amount of time on this day and would like to give your support please email me as soon as possible krwilson@seattleschools.org.

Van Asselt is now located at the former African-American Academy school site, a bit south of the old Van Asselt site.

Saturday: Soccer Clinic with Brazilian Coach Marcelo Trinidade

The Seattle Soccer Club is looking for players of all levels looking for a relaxed group to play “the beautiful game”:

Whether you are in a league or just starting out, please join us out on the field!

Soccer Clinic with Brazilian Coach Marcelo Trinidade
Saturday, October 31, 2009 at 12:00PM

Marcelo has brought his passion for the game from his home country, and will share with everyone the proper techniques for all the basics and advanced skills too:

  • Dribbling
  • Passing
  • Trapping
  • Shooting
  • Team Tactics
  • And more!

Every session will have a new challenge, and will improve your game. Open to all levels, all welcome!

Price: $6.00

Van Asselt Community Center
2820 South Myrtle Street
Seattle, WA 98108

Full event details at meetup.com.

Beacon Bits: Street food, dangerous planting strips, and the Swinery… again

This guy is darned happy with his food from Marination Mobile. Photo by Daryn Nakhuda.
This guy is darned happy with his food from Marination Mobile. Photo by Daryn Nakhuda.
Lots of Bits today, so here goes…

David Gackenbach reminded us of something we haven’t mentioned on the blog, but have via Twitter: Marination Mobile brings their truck o’ deliciousness to North Beacon Hill (near Amazon and Jose Rizal Park) most every Thursday around lunchtime. Check their web schedule, or follow them (curb_cuisine) on Twitter.

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Keyunda Wilson at Van Asselt Elementary writes to invite everyone to a Community Play Day at the new Van Asselt site (the former African-American Academy, 8311 Beacon Avenue South) on Thursday, September 24 from 3:30-5:30 pm. The event will feature active playground games, face painting, and environmental education. Everyone is invited to participate.

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Among King County’s new liquor license applications, we notice this one:

Notification Date: 9/18/2009
Business Name: JAVA LOVE CAFE’
Business Location: 2414 BEACON AVE S, SEATTLE, WA 98144-5035
Liquor License Type: SPIRITS/BR/WN REST LOUNGE +
License Number: 085750

Continue reading Beacon Bits: Street food, dangerous planting strips, and the Swinery… again

Van Asselt playground project needs neighbor help

Keyunda Wilson at Van Asselt is trying to get a Neighborhood Grant to bring a play structure to Van Asselt Elementary @ the African American Academy.

To be eligible for the grant and to bring a community playground to this area we need 25% of the pledges to come directly from the neighborhood! I need to have pledged commitments by Friday the 28th.

Time is short: the 28th is tomorrow!

Ways you can pledge to help:

  • With your time: join the Playground Committee, attend a planning meeting, help design the playground
  • With materials: lending or buying tools and equipment, providing snacks for the builders
  • With labor: paint or assemble the play structure
  • With organizing: contact and recruit other people in the community who may be interested in the project

If you’d like to help, email Keyunda at krwilson@seattleschools.org or pwfowler@seattleschools.org with your name, address, phone number, and the number of hours you are willing to pledge and/or kinds of volunteer activities or items you can pledge. Or call 206-252-7500.

Juneteenth gathering to celebrate African American Academy

The African American Academy African Dance Troupe were a blur of motion at a Martin Luther King celebration at Mt. Zion Baptist church, 2003. Photo courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives.
The African American Academy African Dance Troupe were a blur of motion at a Martin Luther King celebration at Mt. Zion Baptist church, 2003. Photo courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives.
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.

As we mentioned in an earlier post, Van Asselt is also celebrating their history this month, with a 100th Anniversary celebration and reunion this Friday.