Tag Archives: van asselt

Van Asselt celebrates 100th anniversary; old annual illustrates life on 1920s Beacon Hill

We found this 1921 Annual from Van Asselt School recently. The contents are a wonderful glimpse into early 1920s life on Beacon Hill.  Photo by Wendi.
We found this 1921 Annual from Van Asselt School recently. The contents are a wonderful glimpse into early 1920s life on Beacon Hill. Photo by Wendi.
Van Asselt Elementary on South Beacon Hill opened as a 4-room schoolhouse one hundred years ago, in 1909. Since then, the school has served thousands of children, as well as the larger Beacon Hill community.

This year is Van Asselt’s final year at the original site, as the school district has decided to close the Van Asselt building and move the program to a new location at the current African-American Academy site, further south on Beacon Avenue.

To mark this bittersweet occasion, the community, former staff and students, and current and future Van Asselt families are invited to a 100th Anniversary celebration and reunion on June 12, from 4:30 – 7:30 pm at the school, 7201 Beacon Avenue South. The event will include an open house and tours by students and staff in historical costumes, musical performances, speeches from community leaders and students, historical displays, and a cake and snack reception.

Lissa Munger from Van Asselt says, “We’re also collecting stories and memories from Van Asselt’s past. These can be sent to me (ecmunger@seattleschools.org), or to VanAsselt100@gmail.com. ”

The photo to the right is of a particular Van Asselt memory, a 1921 annual, that we discovered recently.

The Totem Annual, Volume II, June 1921, is a collection of mimeographed pages in a construction paper cover. It was produced by the seventh grade class that year, and the staff included Editor-in-Chief Helen Mance, department editors Elizabeth Wallace, James Scott, Arlee Baer, Martha Hansen, and Walter White, and illustrator Tom Petersen. The students included poems, historical drama, book reviews, and dreams of their futures. Unlike some school annuals, this one doesn’t contain student pictures.

Read on to see some excerpts from the Totem (there are a lot of them):
Continue reading Van Asselt celebrates 100th anniversary; old annual illustrates life on 1920s Beacon Hill

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.”

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.)

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

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.

Seattle Schools closure recommendations announced; African-American Academy and others on the list

Seattle Public Schools have released their preliminary recommendations for building closure and program adjustment for the 2009 school year, and they are far from uncontroversial. Some of the changes will affect Beacon Hill and the rest of Southeast Seattle, particularly the programs at the African-American Academy, which are slated for cancellation.

Six buildings are recommended for closure: Genesee Hill, Lowell, Mann, T. T. Minor, Pinehurst, and Van Asselt. (Old Hay will close, but this may be temporary.)

Nine programs will relocate: the Lowell APP program to Hawthorne and Thurgood Marshall; NOVA to Meany; Pathfinder K-8 to Arbor Heights; SBOC to Meany; Summit K-12 to Rainier Beach; Thornton Creek to Summit’s current building, the old Jane Addams Junior High; T. T. Minor K-3 Montessori to Leschi; Thurgood Marshall’s EBOC to Bailey Gatzert; and Van Asselt to the African American Academy building on Beacon Hill.

The African American Academy, AS #1, Arbor Heights, Meany, and T. T. Minor programs that already exist would be discontinued.

Details are on this Seattle Public Schools FAQ PDF.

Final recommendations will be released on January 6, 2009. With the holidays, there’s not a lot of time to get your opinions heard, so if you want to give SPS a piece of your mind, you should email SPS soon at capacity@seattleschools.org, call them at 206 252 0040, or mail your comments to School Board, PO Box 34165, MS 11-010, Seattle, WA, 98124-1165.

There will also be a series of public meetings. Dates and times may be found on the SPS Capacity Management website.

Readers, are any of you affected by these changes? Please tell us what you think.

Thanks to the West Seattle Blog for liveblogging the SPS meeting tonight. You rock!