Cleveland High School (Seattle)

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Cleveland High School
Seattle - Cleveland High School 01A.jpg
5511 15th Avenue South
Seattle, Washington 98108
United States
Coordinates 47°33′09″N 122°18′51″W / 47.55250°N 122.31417°W / 47.55250; -122.31417Coordinates: 47°33′09″N 122°18′51″W / 47.55250°N 122.31417°W / 47.55250; -122.31417
School type Public, high school
Established 1927
School district Seattle School District
Principal George Breland
Faculty 35
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 822
Campus size 5.1 acres (21,000 m2)
Color(s) Red and white          
Mascot Eagle
Rival Franklin High School
Designated 1981[1]

Cleveland High School, also known as Grover Cleveland High School, is a public secondary school located in Seattle, Washington. It is operated as part of the Seattle Public Schools system and serves the Beacon Hill and Georgetown neighborhoods. The school was established in 1927 and named for President Grover Cleveland, and its building is a designated city landmark.


The then-independent city of Georgetown established a high school in 1903, with one class graduating from the facility at the Mueller School annex. Beginning in 1905, Georgetown and south Seattle students were moved to high schools across the city, including West Seattle, Queen Anne, Broadway and Franklin.[2]

The Seattle Public Schools board approved construction of a new high school in the south end of Seattle in 1925, after petitioning from residents. The new school, named for President Grover Cleveland in accordance with naming schools after famous Americans, opened on January 3, 1927, and graduated its first class in the spring. Cleveland High School also initially hosted a middle school, named Grover Cleveland Junior High School, that was moved to Asa Mercer Junior High School in 1957. The school was expanded with a new north wing in 1958, featuring a new metal shop classroom, and facilities for art, band and choir, paid for by a citywide bond issue approved in 1955.[2][3][4] A new $1.25 million gymnasium and administrative offices were dedicated by Mayor Wes Uhlman and Lieutenant Governor John Cherberg in 1970.[2][5]

Cleveland, the smallest of the city's high schools with a capacity of 729 students,[6] was slated for conversion into a middle school by the school board in 1979. Under the plan, high school students would be moved to the Asa Mercer Junior High School several blocks to the north, saving $4 million in potential renovation costs for the school district.[7] Students and faculty were strongly opposed to the closure plan, and it was ultimately modified to keep Cleveland open as a high school.[8]

After the approval of a citywide levy for school improvements in 2001, Cleveland High School underwent a $68 million, two-year renovation in 2006. The project was completed in September 2007, after complications arising from asbestos found in ceilings and unexpected geological hazards below the school building.[9] Earlier concepts for the renovation included sharing the building with a community college,[10] as well as splitting the high school into four autonomous schools.[11]


Cleveland High School is still housed in its original 1927 building, designed in the 20th century Neo-Georgian style by Floyd Naramore, who would later become a founding member of NBBJ.[3] The three-story school building has a brick facade with a terra cotta trim. The center of the building features a two-story bay with a balcony and Corinthian columns.[3]

The high school, located atop southwestern Beacon Hill, overlooks Georgetown, the Duwamish River valley, Boeing Field, and Interstate 5.[3]


The surrounding neighborhood on Beacon Hill is now primarily Asian, and most of the school's students are African American.[citation needed]


In 1993, Cleveland became the home to the Fish and Roses project. Fish and Roses integrated fish farming and hydroponics into the school's currculum. Mark Weber, the project originator, and Ted Howard,Sr. the Principal wanted to see the project used as the focus of a new math and science based school. A separate building was built with funding from Boeing and Costco to house the project but within a few years the building was razed to make room for the new gym and school remodel.

In 2003, under a Gates Foundation grant, the district separated Cleveland into four small academies - the Infotech Academy, which had started up in a small way in 2000 before the grant; the Arts and Humanities Academy; the Health, Environment and Life Academy (HEAL); and the Global Studies Academy. By 2009 Cleveland retained the Global Studies and HEAL academies, but overall academic improvement remained elusive. 56.7% of students graduated in 2009, on time or otherwise.

In 2008, Cleveland was one of two high schools included in the Southeast Initiative, a plan to increase expenditures for three years at schools that parents had fled under the school choice plan. The Seattle Times School Guide reported that Cleveland's 2008 on-time graduation rate had been 44%. Cleveland's enrollment remained low at 695 students in 2008-2009, 94% of them from minority ethnic groups. Few of Cleveland's students chose it as their first choice.

Starting in fall 2010, Cleveland will become a citywide Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) high school, divided into a Life Sciences and Global Health academy and an Engineering and Computer Science academy. Only 21% of Cleveland's 10th graders passed the WASL math test in 2009 and 16% passed the science test, up from 12% and 6.9% in 2008. Cleveland's 2010-2011 11th and 12th graders will not be accepted into STEM, but will continue to attend Cleveland in a general studies program until the transition is complete. The school's 2009-2010 9th graders will be enrolled in STEM as 10th graders. A new incoming 9th grade class from throughout the city will be the model for all future STEM cohorts. Future high schoolers from Cleveland's own neighborhood, if they don't enroll in STEM, will be sent to other nearby high schools. STEM enrollment at Cleveland is open to any student who will be in the 9th or 10th grade in fall 2010, with no prerequisites. Cleveland's school day will be half an hour longer than in other Seattle high schools.

By the time school opened in September 2010, the name of the engineering academy became the School of Engineering and Design. Computer Science was not dropped but is an elective course open to students in 9-12. Juniors and seniors will be allowed to take freshman and sophomore STEM courses if they wish.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Landmarks and Designation". City of Seattle. Retrieved 2013-03-04. 
  2. ^ a b c Thompson, Nile; Marr, Carolyn J. (2002). "Cleveland" (PDF). Building for Learning: Seattle Public School Histories, 1862-2000. Seattle Public Schools. OCLC 54019052. Retrieved May 1, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Landmark Nomination Form: Grover Cleveland High School" (PDF). City of Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board. Retrieved May 1, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Cleveland High Remodeling Contract Let". The Seattle Times. May 11, 1957. p. 2. 
  5. ^ "Uhlman, Cherberg to Help Dedicate Cleveland Gym". The Seattle Times. April 17, 1970. p. A6. 
  6. ^ Angelos, Constantine (October 7, 1978). "Cleveland High stands up and cheer for the 'Big D'". The Seattle Times. p. A10. 
  7. ^ Angelos, Constantine (November 22, 1979). "Staff proposal would close 3 or 4 high schools". The Seattle Times. p. B4. 
  8. ^ Angelos, Constantine (November 29, 1979). "Students, faculty send message: 'Cleveland at Cleveland'". The Seattle Times. p. B1. 
  9. ^ Heffter, Emily (September 4, 2007). "Cleveland High remodeled in a new light". The Seattle Times. p. B1. Retrieved May 1, 2017. 
  10. ^ Ervin, Keith (January 13, 2000). "High school, college may share campus". The Seattle Times. p. B3. 
  11. ^ Vinh, Tan (March 3, 2003). "Cleveland High plans to become 4 schools". The Seattle Times. p. B1. 
  12. ^ McNerthney, Casey (August 26, 2012). "Famous people who attended Seattle-area schools". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved May 1, 2017. 

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