McNeil Island's only elementary school is closing

MCNEIL ISLAND, Wash. - The small, one-room school that has been the center of learning for the children of employees at the McNeil Island Corrections center for more than 50 yearsis closing.

According to the Steilacoom Historical School District #1, the Harriet Taylor Elementary School is closing its doors because of current downsizing at the correction center.

With a smaller capacity at MICC, the island s situation has changed. There aren t the numbers of parents working for DOC who need to live on the island and be available in case of emergencies. With fewer families, we just couldn t justify keeping the school open, said Mr. Ron Van Boening, McNeil Island Corrections Center s superintendent said in a news release.

The closure will effect only about six or seven children. Children whose families will remain on the island during this coming school year will need to take a Department of Corrections boat to Steilacoom and be bused to one of two elementary schools. The district points out that is what older students have been doing to attend middle and high schools on the mainland.

This past school year there were only six students attending Harriet Taylor. The school had one certified teacher, several itinerant specialists and an education assistant.

The small school was built in 1948 and has been used as a school since 1953. It was named after a former corrections center employee.

According to the school district, Harriet Taylor Elementary is one of only 10 remaining remote and necessary schools scattered throughout the state. Those schools serve students in isolated communites; most are east of the Cascades.

This is a beautiful school setting that has provided hundreds of children with the beginning years of a quality education that Steilacoom Historical School district is known for, Mr. Bill Fritz, school district superintendent, saidin the release. We hope that the school might again be used if circumstances dictate.


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