The SEEC investigation, acquired by the Times via a public records request, found that more than $30,000 in cash was withdrawn from an unauthorized school bank account maintained by Turner and Fuentes, and that “the documentation supporting these withdrawals is woefully inadequate.”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.
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.
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.
[O]ur After-School program was lucky enough to receive a $3,000 grant from Schoolâ€™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.
January is National Mentoring Month. To celebrate, Neighborhood House is launching the Recruit-A-Mentor Challenge. Weâ€™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.
* * *
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)
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Van Asselt is now located at the former African-American Academy school site, a bit south of the old Van Asselt site.
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.
* * *
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.
* * *
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
Applicant(s): LATIN BROTHERS INCORPORATED; RODRIGUEZ, OSCAR; CESTRO,
GUADALUPE; PRICHARD, TIMOTHY; RODRIGUEZ, JOSE LUIS
Liquor License Type: SPIRITS/BR/WN REST LOUNGE +
Application Type: ADDED/CHANGE OF CLASS/IN LIEU
License Number: 085750
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 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.