Seattle Public Schools, 1862-2000: Worth McClure Middle School

  • Posted 9/10/2013
  • Essay 10557

This People's History of Worth McClure Middle 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.

Worth McClure Middle School

In the early 1960s, a new junior high school was needed to reduce overcrowding at Queen Anne High School, which also housed junior high school students. The planned school was named Elisha P. Ferry Junior High School after Washington State's first governor. Two years later it was renamed to honor Worth McClure, who served as Seattle's Superintendent of Schools for 14 years (1930-1944). Most of the initial teaching staff came from Queen Anne Junior High School.

The school features 30 teaching stations and was designed for 850 students, making it one of the district's smallest intermediate schools. When it opened, its enrollment was slightly over capacity. A trimester system was employed rather than the traditional semester system.

Several important changes took place at McClure during the school year 1981-82. First, it changed configuration from grades 7-9 to 6-8. It also added students from Magnolia following the closing of Blaine. Lastly, with the closing of Queen Anne High School, McClure became a feeder school for Franklin.

McClure's small size has not been a negative factor because of its location adjacent to a six-acre Seattle Park Department facility that contains the Queen Anne Recreation Center, pool and playfield. These offer a wide range of after-school activities.

In 1987, the Multi-International Color Society was formed. Annual activities included charity efforts, outreach programs and a spring ethnic week celebration.

McClure has recently made a commitment to improving its science instruction by implementing a full-year science program for all grades. In November 1999, a weather station was installed on the school's roof. With this new technology, and aided by partners at the University of Washington, students are able to monitor local climatic changes and compare them with data from the Pathfinder Mars mission.

All 7th grade students participate in an activity called Project Reach, a self-directed cultural exploration that culminates in a schoolwide fair and regional exhibition.


Name: Worth McClure Junior High School
Location: 1915 1st Avenue W
Building: Brick
Architect: Edward Mahlum
Site: 2.3 acres
1962: Named Elisha P. Ferry Junior High School on November 28
1964: Named Worth McClure Junior High School on March 11; opened in September
1981: Renamed Worth McClure Middle School

Worth McClure Middle School in 2000
Enrollment: 624
Address: 1915 First Avenue W
Nickname: Mustangs
Configuration: 6-8
Colors: Black and gold
Newspaper: Maverick News
Annual: unnamed


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

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