Tag Archives: african-american academy

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.

Kidney Health Fest and Cinco de Mayo free events this Saturday


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

Saturday is also El Centro de la Raza’s 4th Annual Cinco de Mayo celebration, from 3:00 to 8:00 pm at the Jefferson Community Center, 3801 Beacon Avenue South. Guests at this event will enjoy live entertainment and a DJ, traditional foods, children’s activities, a fashion show, and local vendors. Admission is free!

Need to keep up with upcoming events on Beacon Hill such as these? Check out our events calendar.

School closures finalized; AAA to close, Van Asselt to move

Photo by Jason Walsh.
Photo by Jason Walsh.
As expected, the ax has fallen. Last night the Seattle School Board approved Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson’s proposed school and program closures, amid an angry and rowdy crowd of parents and students. The direct effects to Beacon Hill are that the African American Academy program and the Van Asselt building will close at the end of this school year, and the Van Asselt program will move to the Academy’s building, about a mile south on Beacon Avenue. Other buildings to close at the end of the year are Genesee Hill, Mann, T.T. Minor, and “Old Hay,” and programs to be discontinued are Meany, Cooper, Summit K-12, and T.T. Minor.

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.”

Beacon Bits: a new home, bad neighbors, and a local school

Candice would rather not hear a barking dog at all hours. Photo by Ordinary Guy.
Candice would rather not hear a barking dog at all hours. Photo by Ordinary Guy.
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

Community educator Gayle Johnson suggests the African-American Academy on Beacon Hill should not close and cites WASL results to back it up — Seattle Times

Final school closure/relocation recommendations posted

The Seattle School superintendent’s final recommendations for school closure and relocation have just been posted at the District’s website. There have been some slight modifications, but the effects on Southeast Seattle are fairly similar to what’s been proposed all along.

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):

Building closures:

  • Van Asselt

Relocated programs:

  • 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

Discontinued Programs:

  • 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 hearing@seattleschools.org or call 206-252-0042 to do this.

You can also express your opinion by emailing comments to capacity@seattleschools.org or schoolboard@seattleschools.org, calling the School Board at 206-252-0040, or mailing comments to School Board, PO Box 34165, MS 11-010, Seattle, WA, 98124-1165.

(Edited to add: the District has posted a FAQ about the proposals, as well.)

African-American Academy community meeting among several tonight

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).

Keep tabs on this school district page to see if any new meetings or hearings are scheduled. Things seem to be changing rapidly in this process.

School closure plan changes yet again: Rainier Beach/Cleveland merger off the table, for now

Photo by Claudia Snell.
Photo by Claudia Snell.
Seattle school superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson has announced another revised slate of recommendations for school closures and program relocations.

The recently proposed merger between Rainier Beach and Cleveland high schools is apparently off the table again. (Amber Campbell at the Rainier Valley Post posts 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.

Continue reading School closure plan changes yet again: Rainier Beach/Cleveland merger off the table, for now

School closure plans revised: Rainier Beach may merge with Cleveland

Just one week after Seattle Public Schools’ controversial proposals to close buildings and relocate programs, the plans have been changed. At a School Board meeting last night, Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson announced new proposals for consideration, including merging Rainier Beach High School into Beacon Hill’s Cleveland High School, eliminating Summit K-12 entirely, or moving students from several programs into the RBHS building, including Aki Kurose Middle School and displaced middle school-aged kids from three other programs on the chopping block: Meany Middle School, the African-American Academy, and Summit. (Here is the superintendent’s slide show of the recommendations, and this blog post discusses School Board reactions to the presentation.)

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.

Blogger Sable Verity suggests that the RBHS closure was always a given:

“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.

“Can’t say that I blame them.”

Community workshops to discuss the proposals are scheduled for tonight 6:30 – 8:30 pm at District headquarters in Sodo, 2445 Third Avenue South, and this Saturday, December 6, 9:30 – 11:30 am, at the Filipino Community Center, 5740 Martin Luther King Jr. Way South. A hearing about the previously announced Van Asselt building closure proposal is December 15, 6:30 – 8:30 pm at Van Asselt Elementary, 7201 Beacon Avenue South. Stay tuned to this SPD page for updates on added hearings and forums.

Comments may also be emailed to capacity@seattleschools.org or snail-mailed to: School Board, P.O. Box 34165, MS 11-010, Seattle, WA 98124-1165.

Beacon Bits: Right turns, school closures, and soup

When the light at 15th and Beacon looks like this, a right turn could cost you $124. Photo by Ricochet Remington.
When the light at 15th and Beacon looks like this, a right turn could cost you $124. Photo by Ricochet Remington.

Van Asselt building closure hearing, 12/15

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 hearing@seattleschools.org.

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.