Seattle Public Schools, 1862-2000: African American Academy

  • Posted 8/06/2013
  • Essay 10446
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This People's History of the African American Academy 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 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.

African American Academy

In January 1990, the African American Academy was approved by the Seattle School Board. It opened as a K-5 at Colman School in September 1991 (see Thurgood Marshall). It then moved to Sharples for the next school year and became K-6 (see Kurose). From 1993-2000 its home was at Magnolia School.

The African-centered curriculum recognizes that humanity started in Africa and emphasizes the history, culture and heritage of Africans and African Americans through an interdisciplinary approach. The focus of the academy is to develop in each student a strong sense of self and a strong sense of heritage. Of the students, 91 percent are African American. Classes mix students of different grade levels, and middle school students serve as mentors. All students wear uniforms. Activities at the academy begin in August with a family potluck orientation.

The academy will move into a new facility, specifically designed for a K-8 program, in September 2000. The three-story building is designed for 650 students and will have two classroom wings containing a 90-seat lecture hall, cafeteria, and gymnasium with stage.


Name: African American Academy
Location: 8311 Beacon Avenue
Building: 32-room brick and metal
Architect: Streeter & Associates
Site: 12 acres

African American Academy in 2000
Enrollment: 508
Address: 8311 Beacon Avenue S
Nickname: Panthers
Configuration: K-8
Colors: Green and white
Note: This information for year 2000-2001


Nile Thompson and Carolyn J. Marr, Building for Learning: Seattle Public School Histories, 1862-2000 (Seattle: Seattle Public Schools, 2002).

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