This People's History of North Beach Elementary School is taken from Building for Learning: Seattle Public School Histories, 1862-2000 by Nile Thompson and Carolyn J. Marr. That book, published in 2002 by Seattle Public Schools, compiled profiles of all the public school buildings that had been used by the school district since its formation around 1862. The profiles from the book are being made available as People's Histories on HistoryLink.org courtesy of Seattle Public Schools. It should be noted that these essays are from 2000. Some of the buildings profiled are historic, some of recent vintage, and many no longer exist (new names and buildings not included in these profiles from 2000 have been added), but each plays or has played an important role in the education of Seattle's youth.
North Beach Elementary School
Before 1950, the Olympic Golf Course was located on a large tract of land north of NW 85th Street and west of 15th Avenue NW in the Crown Hill neighborhood. As Seattle's population spread rapidly to outlying areas, pressure built to turn the golf course into a housing development.
In May 1950, newspapers carried a story about the U.S. Army's interest in taking over the golf course for gun emplacements. The following day the Seattle School Board announced they too were interested in land there. The Army eventually condemned part of the golf course and placed an anti-aircraft facility on the tract. Later, the Army sold land to the district with the agreement that 3.34 acres be leased back to them. The majority of the remaining golf course was sold to a real estate firm that developed it into Olympic Manor.
The district's purchase comprised two pieces: an eastern parcel next to the park and a western parcel. In 1953, Northwest Elementary School was opened as an annex on the eastern parcel to handle the overflow of students at Crown Hill School (see Whitman). The portable annex closed in spring 1955.
A few years later, the site for the permanent elementary school was shifted to the western parcel. The eastern parcel was later used for a junior high school (see Whitman). North Beach Elementary opened in 1958 to 446 pupils, many of whom had previously been at overcrowded Crown Hill and Loyal Heights.
In 1971, the library was enlarged by removing a wall between two classrooms. The "Peoples Portable" was inaugurated in October 1973. It housed a Human Relations Resource Center with materials and information on various ethnic groups. In fall 1974, North Beach adopted the Primer-Divided Day program to strengthen the reading program. Half of each class arrived an hour early each day and left an hour early. The teacher's first and last hours were devoted to working with these smaller groups on reading.
Reading has continued to be a focus at North Beach, with many innovative programs developed during the 1990s. Classes often pair with other grade levels for reading, writing, and other activities, giving students the opportunity for peer tutoring and partnership. There is also a Young Authors program and a classics reading and discussion series.
Recently an exchange teacher from Japan helped to establish a Japanese language and culture program. This program is taught in all classrooms by native Japanese speakers with additional optional participation in an after-school club. North Beach students converse in Japanese with students at their sister school in Kagoshima, Japan, via a video conferencing system and the Japanese students respond in English.
Name: North Beach Elementary School
Location: 9018 24th Avenue NW
Building: 15-room, 1-story wood frame with brick veneer
Architect: John Graham & Co.
Site: 6.89 acres
1958: Named on July 30; opened in September
North Beach Elementary School in 2000
Address: 9018 24th Avenue NW
Colors: Purple and gold