Seattle Public Schools, 1862-2000: Marshall Intermediate School

  • Posted 9/08/2013
  • Essay 10535

This People's History of John Marshall Intermediate 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 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.

John Marshall Intermediate School

Green Lake School was overcrowded at the start of the 1901-02 school year, and the first of two annexes was opened along Ravenna Boulevard, between 68th and 69th Streets, for two classes in grades 1-4. The portable closed in June because a new Green Lake School would be opening in September.

Over 20 years later (1924-25), the Seattle School District purchased the same site as the location for a new intermediate school. The school was named for the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1801 to 1835. The building was designed in the 20th century Georgian style with red bricks and gray stone. It was built to hold 900 students. Students were assigned from University Heights, McDonald, Green Lake, and Fairview. For sports fields, the students walked the short distance to Green Lake Playfield.

In 1942, a center for the deaf and hard-of-hearing was established at Marshall for junior high students from throughout the district. Special education classes were expanded in 1967 with the addition of mentally and emotionally handicapped students.

Marshall had only two principals in its first 40 years of operation. Marshall's first principal was J. M. Kniseley who had previously served as principal at Green Lake School from 1906-27. He was principal at Marshall until spring 1942. Ray Crum, the second principal, served from 1942 to 1967.

Enrollment peaked around 1,450 from 1955 to 1957. When Interstate 5 passed through a portion of the school property in the early 1960s, it divided the school's attendance area and altered the character of the neighborhood, resulting in an enrollment drop. The junior high school closed in June 1971.

From 1971 to 1975, Marshall was used as a 9th grade annex for Roosevelt High School. Many of the students at Roosevelt M (for Marshall) went to the main campus for music and foreign language classes. The building held 700 students in 1971-72, but two years later, the number had fallen to 500. In 1975, the 9th graders returned to Roosevelt, and Marshall was used to house offices as well as two special education classes from Roosevelt. A school district library and audio-visual center were also housed in the building at this time.

From 1979-80 through 1981-82 Indian Heritage High School was located at Marshall. When Interlake closed in June 1981, People's School No.1 program moved to Marshall where it was renamed Marshall Alternative Secondary School. That basic alternative program offered students a chance to work in a less rigid setting.

In September 1982, a reentry program was added at Marshall for students suspended from regular high schools. In May 1983, the district proposed moving reentry programs from Addams and Holly Park Housing Project to Marshall to form a single program. The district also located a program for pregnant girls there because over 100 north-end girls had dropped out of school, rather than go all the way to a similar program at Sharples in south Seattle. Marshall "gives them a chance to re-evaluate, learn from their mistakes, acquire survival skills and to start building a future" while their children are cared for in on-site daycare. Marshall provided a less structured, more open environment in which the staff worked to address the individual needs of the approximately 350 students in the five programs. Classes averaged about 18 students.

In 1988, more alternative programs were moved into Marshall from Sharples because students from Franklin had moved into that building while their school was being renovated.

Today, Marshall offers a program for teenage parents called GRADS, which stands for Graduation, Reality, and Dual Role Skills. It also houses a basic skills and enrichment program, placing students in classes based on their ability level on entry assessment tests. A School to Work program provides students with opportunities for internships, job shadowing, and other career education experiences. Marshall also houses a GED program for students 16 years and older who are exiting high school without a diploma.


Name: John Marshall Intermediate School
Location: 520 NE Ravenna Boulevard
Building: 41-room, 3-story brick
Architect: Floyd A. Naramore
Site: 3 acres
1927: Named on July 24; opened on September 6
1929: Changed to John Marshall Junior High School in September
1958: Land exchange with State for freeway; to 3.21 acres
1971: Closed as junior high in June
1971-75: Called Roosevelt M
1975: Called Marshall Curriculum & Instruction Center
1981: Became Marshall Alternative Secondary School
n.a.: Became Marshall Alternative High School

Marshall Alternative High School in 2000
Enrollment: 167
Address: 520 NE Ravenna Boulevard
Nickname: Caimans
Configuration: 9-12
Colors: Royal blue and black
Newspaper: n.a.
Annual: Marshall


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

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