Rainier Beach High School

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Rainier Beach High School
Rainier Beach High School 01.JPG
8815 Seward Park Avenue South
Seattle, Washington 98118
United States
Coordinates 47°31′28″N 122°16′00″W / 47.52444°N 122.26667°W / 47.52444; -122.26667Coordinates: 47°31′28″N 122°16′00″W / 47.52444°N 122.26667°W / 47.52444; -122.26667
Type Public High School
Principal Keith Smith
Enrollment 448 (2013-14)[1]
Color(s) Blue & Orange          
Mascot Vikings

Rainier Beach High School is a public secondary school (grades 9-12) in the Seattle Public Schools system. It is located in the Rainier Beach area, in the southeastern part of the city of Seattle, Washington, United States. The school historically has had a strong emphasis on team sports, and many championship teams. The building has a capacity of 1,200 students, but enrollment has declined greatly in recent years. In 2006, 1,302 of the 1,600 high school students living in the Rainier Beach neighborhood traveled out of the area each morning to attend other high schools.[2] In 2008-09, Rainier Beach began the year with 453 students and ended with about 295, giving an average monthly enrollment of 374. Sixty students chose it as their first choice.[3] In 2013 the school began offering an International Baccalaureate program.[4][5]


  • Advanced Placement classes are offered in mathematics, statistics, language arts, history/politics, music theory, and studio art.[6] In 2008-09, 15% of Rainier Beach students took at least one AP class (about 75 students). Of these, 10% passed the AP exams (about 7 or 8 students).[7]
  • Rainier Beach offers 17 ELL classes.[8] Spanish and French are offered as foreign languages. There is an after school Arabic Languages program.[citation needed]
  • In 2009, over 61% of 10th grade students passed the state reading test, 17.6% passed the math test,[9] and 6% met minimum standards in all three basic subjects - reading, writing and math.[10] In 2009, 9.8% passed the science test,[11] up from 3% in 2006.[12][13]
  • On average, 76% of enrolled students attend school on any given day.[14] Of the class of 2009, 64.2% of entering freshmen,[15] and 86% of entering senior class members (86 of 100), eventually graduated.
  • 2009 42% of Graduating Class went on to 2yr or 4yr Colleges or Universities.
  • 2010 57% of Graduating Class went on to 2yr or 4yr Colleges or Universities. In fall 2010, 12 students from the 2010 graduating class enrolled at the University of Washington.[16]


The side facing the athletic fields as seen from the street to the south.

Rainier Beach High School is a member of the 3A Metro Conference, part of Sea-King District 2 and the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.

In 2002, Rainier Beach's men's basketball team was ranked number 1 in the entire country[17] for a brief time[18].

Rainier Beach High School State Championship Games
WIAA State Tournament History, inquire by selecting Rainier Beach HS
Year Sport Winning Team Losing Team Location (all in Washington) Class
1988 Women's Basketball Rainier Beach 63 Bainbridge High School (Washington) 46 Tacoma Dome 3A
1988 Men's Basketball Rainier Beach 65 Sequim High School 53 Tacoma Dome 3A
1989 Women's Basketball Rainier Beach 59 Lakeside School 50 Tacoma Dome 3A
1998 Men's Basketball Rainier Beach 44 Olympia High School (Washington) 40 Kingdome 3A
2001 Men's Basketball Mount Vernon High School (Washington) 65 Rainier Beach 52 Tacoma Dome 3A
2002 Men's Basketball Rainier Beach 67 Mercer Island High School 51 Tacoma Dome 3A
2003 Men's Basketball Rainier Beach 65 Issaquah High School 56 Tacoma Dome 3A
2004 Women's Basketball Meadowdale High School 66 Rainier Beach 53 Tacoma Dome 3A
2004 Men's Basketball O'Dea High School 68 Rainier Beach 64 (2OT) Tacoma Dome 3A
2008 Men's Basketball Rainier Beach 53 Lakes High School 45 Hec Edmundson Pavilion 3A
2012 Men's Basketball Rainier Beach 61 Seattle Preparatory School 58 Tacoma Dome 3A
2013 Men's Basketball Rainier Beach 62 Lakeside 59 (OT) Tacoma Dome 3A
2014 Men's Basketball Rainier Beach 47 Eastside Catholic 45 Tacoma Dome 3A
2015 Men's Basketball Garfield High School 66 Rainier Beach 51 Tacoma Dome 3A
2016 Men's Basketball Rainier Beach 70 O'Dea High School 49 Tacoma Dome 3A


As of October 2007, 59.8% of enrolled students were African American, 24.4% were Asian, 9.4% were Hispanic, 5% were White and 1.4% were Native American. Of the 361 students, 61.8% qualify for free or reduced lunch.[19] These demographics reflect the neighborhood itself. In October 2009, 70.6% of students were eligible for free or reduced price meals.[6] It is the only high school in the state of Washington where African-American students account for the majority of the student body. [1]

Student life[edit]

Rainier Beach has a history of trying new things, beginning with its founding. Starting as a combined Middle and High School, the increased volume of students created the need to separate the two types of schools. Staff has been honored with the local Golden Apple awards. 2 Parents and leaders of the PTSA have been honored at the White House. 3 Along with program recognition (1998 Golden Apple Teaching Academy winner) a tight knit community which supports and develops close knit community relationships. 4 Much of the stigma of the Rainier Valley is often placed on the school, however the academics and the student successes are often over looked. Rainier Beach is trying to share their view of the school with their new approach, "The New Beach." Promotion of their academic success is the new focus. 5 RBHS is in a troubled section of the city, and many incidents occurring in the area are automatically assumed to be caused by gang-affiliated young men,[20][21] including Rainier Beach and South Lake Alternative High School students. Students come from many ethnic cultures within the neighborhood, and often from difficult socio-economic backgrounds. Sometimes the realities of society outside the school enter into school life. One recent example emerged in this newspaper story.[22] Another larger incident erupted on the school grounds during the summer.[23][24]

Performing Arts magnet school plan[edit]

Paul Robeson Performing Arts Center entry

A large new performing arts center was built on the campus in 1998, when Rainier Beach was to become a performing arts magnet school. Federal funding for the magnet plan, and the plan itself, ended after three years. Little used for years, the hall, now called the Paul Robeson Performing Arts Center, began hosting community theater productions in 2007. Rainier Beach now offers special programs in partnership with several theater troupes in the Rainier Beach High School Theater Coalition.[25]

Principal controversy[edit]

During the 1990s, controversy grew at Rainier Beach as the school's academics worsened and enrollment declined. After years of complaints to the central administration, parents began picketing the school in 1999. They staged weekly demonstrations against principal Marta Cano-Hinz, who had led the school since 1993, demanding that the district fire her and turn Rainier Beach around.[26] In January, 2000 Cano-Hinz announced that she would step down at the end of the school year.[27] Later that year, the school district disclosed that it had paid $173,507 to induce her to resign.[28]

In September, 2010 the school district appointed an academic co-principal, Lisa Escobar.[29]

Improved academic standards[edit]

In the fall of 2005, the school district ended its practice of promoting high school students to the next grade even if they didn't pass their classes. The new policy required students to earn five credits in order to move to the next grade. In early 2006, before the 10th grade WASL test, nearly half of Rainier Beach's sophomores were reclassified as freshmen.[30]"It was a wake-up call," said new Rainier Beach principal Robert Gary, Jr.[31]

In 2007, Rainier Beach sophomores met AYP (Annual Yearly Progress)[clarification needed] due to an afterschool program funded by Nate Robinson.[citation needed]

Technology Access Foundation proposals[edit]

The Technology Access Foundation was invited to become a part of the Rainier Beach School in late 2006, but was met with a great deal of controversy regarding the possibility of a TAF takeover of the school.[32] The foundation's co-founder Trish Millines Dziko outlined a proposal for how such a program would work, but despite administrative support, teachers and students were unhappy with the proposal. One of the major points for the opposition was TAF's ability to hire and fire teachers as they saw fit under the terms of the proposal. In addition, teachers and students felt like the proposal was a push to make Rainier Beach into a charter school. Supporters meanwhile, believed that it would create more incentives for people to enroll in the school, something that had been an issue for years.[32] In the end, the proposal was rejected by the school board.

Proposed closure[edit]

In December, 2008 Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson proposed closing Rainier Beach High School and merging its students into Cleveland High School.[33] Parents were not enthusiastic about the merger. Alumni from past decades recalled Rainier Beach's prior success in preparing students for college, and demanded that the district restore the school academically instead of closing it. Others were concerned that students' opposing gang affiliations in the two neighborhoods would cause violent clashes.[21] One week later, the Superintendent canceled the merger proposal.[34]

Southeast Initiative[edit]

The Southeast Initiative was a three-year plan, from 2007 to 2009, to "[e]nsure that local secondary schools are the 'schools of choice' for residents in southeast Seattle..."[35] The plan targeted Rainier Beach High School, Cleveland High School, and Aki Kurose Middle School. First approved in June, 2007, the district expanded the plan in 2008 and proposed to increase spending on it to $7.9 million.[36] In 2007-08, the Initiative's first year, 17.3% of Rainier Beach students chose the school as their first choice. In the third year, 2009–10, only 12.8% chose it. Cleveland High School declined from 28.6% to 18.0% as its students' first choice. Aki Kurose Middle School declined from 33.3% to 19.4% as its students' first choice. Rainier Beach High School's WASL reading test pass rates declined from 70.0% in 2007 to 61.5% in 2009. Rainier Beach's math pass rates declined from 37.4% in 2007 to 17.6% in 2009. While some measures improved, many others remained more or less the same. In 2010, about four fifths of students living in Rainier Beach's enrollment area continue to enroll at other high schools, often in far away districts in the city.

International Baccalaureate[edit]

The school district, in the fall of 2010, discussed starting an International Baccalaureate program at Rainier Beach, in addition to the IB programs at Ingraham High School and Chief Sealth International High School.[37] The plan was approved and classes began the fall of 2013. The IB Diploma program has been instituted and students and invested. [2]

State designation as low achieving, eligibility for federal grant[edit]

On January 13, 2011, Washington State designated Rainier Beach High School as persistently low achieving. On the same day, Seattle Public Schools announced that the designation qualifies the school for remedial federal funds and that it intends to apply for a federal school improvement grant for Rainier Beach. To receive the improvement grant, the district must either close the school, replace the principal and at least half the faculty, or "transform" the school in several prescribed ways. Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson has announced that she will reassign the current co-principals and appoint a new principal at Rainier Beach.[38][39][40]

Notable alumni[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "SEATTLE SCHOOL DISTRICT ADDRESS and TELEPHONE LIST" (PDF). Seattle Public Schools. 5 September 2013. 
  2. ^ "High School students closest to Rainier Beach and where they attend (Fall 2006 Data) - [includes 45 SBOC and J. Marshall students]" (PDF). Retrieved October 5, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Rainier Beach High School - 2008-09 Demographic Summary" (PDF). 
  4. ^ https://www.ibo.org/school/049197/
  5. ^ http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/2013/03/international-baccalaureate-program-approved-for-seattles-rainier-beach-high/
  6. ^ a b "Rainier Beach High School - School Snapshot, October 2009" (PDF). Retrieved July 17, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Rainier Beach High School - Continuous School Improvement Plan, 2009-2011" (PDF). Retrieved July 17, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Rainier Beach High School - Academics: Departments". Retrieved July 17, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Rainier Beach High School - 2009 Annual Report" (PDF). Retrieved June 22, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Seattle Times School Guide: Rainier Beach High School". The Seattle Times. 19 May 2011. Retrieved June 22, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Rainier Beach High School - 2009 Annual Report" (PDF). Retrieved June 23, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Seattle Times School Guide: Rainier Beach High School". The Seattle Times. 19 May 2011. Retrieved June 23, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Rainier Beach High School - WASL: Spring 2009, 4 Year Summary" (PDF). Retrieved June 23, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Rainier Beach High School - 2008-09 Demographic Survey" (PDF). Retrieved June 23, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Rainier Beach High School - 2009 Annual Report" (PDF). Retrieved September 25, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Rainier Beach High School - News and Events". Retrieved October 11, 2010. 
  17. ^ Peterson, Matt (17 December 2002). "Boys basketball: Rainier Beach is No. 1 in the nation". Seattle Times. Retrieved 29 August 2017. 
  18. ^ "James' team supplants Rainier Beach atop rankings". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Associated Press. 7 January 2003. Retrieved 29 August 2017. 
  19. ^ "Rainier Beach High School: 2007-08 Demographic Summary" (PDF). 
  20. ^ Young, Bob (3 March 2009). "Seattle Times - Gangs: Once a member, it is difficult to get out". The Seattle Times. 
  21. ^ a b Young, Bob (2 March 2009). "Seattle Times - Seattle schools scramble to outsmart gangs". The Seattle Times. 
  22. ^ "Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Possible gang incident at Rainier Beach High investigated". 26 January 2009. 
  23. ^ "Seattle Times - Fight at Rainier Beach High sends 2 to hospital". The Seattle Times. 17 July 2010. 
  24. ^ "Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Teens rushed to hospital after fight at high school". 17 July 2010. 
  25. ^ "Rainier Beach High School - Top Seattle Theater Groups Creates Exclusive Program". 27 September 2010. 
  26. ^ "Seattle Post Intelligencer - Demonstrators Target Rainier Beach Principal". 21 September 1999. [dead link]
  27. ^ "Seattle Post Intelligencer - Rainier Beach principal steps down". 4 January 2000. [dead link]
  28. ^ Ervin, Keith (20 September 2000). "The Seattle Times - Rainier Beach principal paid $173,507 by district to resign". 
  29. ^ "Rainier Beach Parents Start Petition To Have Principal Removed". Retrieved September 25, 2010. 
  30. ^ Vinh, Tan (17 February 2006). "The Seattle Times - Reclassifying students buys time for taking WASL". 
  31. ^ Heffter, Emily (9 September 2006). "The Seattle Times - Seattle forfeited state money by demoting 800 failing students". 
  32. ^ a b Blanchard, Jessica (November 2, 2006). ["http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/At-Rainier-Beach-High-School-we-re-fighting-for-1218870.php" "At Rainier Beach High School, 'we're fighting for our lives'"] Check |url= value (help). 
  33. ^ Shaw, Linda (4 December 2008). "Seattle Times - Rainier Beach High may close". The Seattle Times. 
  34. ^ Blanchard, Jessica (10 December 2008). "Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Montlake on latest school closure list; Rainier Beach, Lowell, Arbor Heights spared". The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 
  35. ^ "Framework for Revised Student Assignment Plan" (PDF). Seattle Public Schools. 20 June 2007. 
  36. ^ Blanchard, Jessica (1 July 2008). "Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Initiative aims to revive schools". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 
  37. ^ "Rainier Valley Post - Rainier Beach PTSA Wants to Know What Would Make You Send Your Kid There". 5 November 2010. 
  38. ^ Shaw, Linda (13 January 2011). "The Seattle Times - Washington state determines that 50 schools are low achieving". 
  39. ^ "Rainier Valley Post - Rainier Beach HS Named One of State's Lowest Performing Schools; SE Coalition Demands Change". 18 January 2011. 
  40. ^ "Rainier Beach HS Principal Out After 13 Years". 19 January 2011. 

External links[edit]