Washington Primary School is a happy place. It isn’t every school that has students who get off the bus in the morning and run into the building and to their rooms because they are so excited, but that’s the case here.
The faculty and support staff consists of veteran educators and relative newcomers who have been carefully selected by longtime Principal Marsha Neville because she believes they will fit in and be successful with the 410 students spread across grades K-4.
Washington opened in September 1954 and was expanded in 1958 when a new wing was added to the east side of the building. It hit a peak enrollment of 629 during one of the Baby Boom years. No one can figure out now how so many youngsters were once squeezed into the school’s classrooms.
Four good friends at last June's Field Day
at Washington School.
Even on ordinary school days, Washington’s students seem to have a spring in their step. They’re just a happy bunch, taking delight in the simple things; a classroom intellectual challenge, breakfast or lunch in the cafeteria, a game in the gym, an art project or instrumental music lessons.
Washington’s student body is a proverbial melting pot, featuring just about every race, creed and ethnic background. The youngsters get along with each other amazingly well, forming bonds of friendship that often last well beyond their days together in the school and even in the school district. No one is more loyal to their school than the kids who have studied
There always seems to be some special event, field trip, assembly program or PTA initiative that students are looking forward to at the school. Washington’s daily attendance rate is sky high. No one wants to miss school. Period. On the last day in June, students board their respective bus and wave out the window crying as they see teachers and support staff members standing on the sidewalk waving right back at them.
In addition to the traditional academic core, students take classes in art, music, library and computer technology as well as three 40 minute periods of physical education each week. The youngsters have a 20 minute daily lunch period and then another 20 minutes for recess. Some go on one of two playgrounds while others jump rope, play basketball or soccer or just socialize with their friends.
Teachers work very closely with their students and try to maximize the learning experience. The faculty members typically pull out all the stops on behalf of the youngsters and they strive to keep the kids positive and interested in learning new things.
Mrs. Neville, who was a district elementary grade level music teacher for many years before moving into the administrative ranks, can be seen circling around the buildings hallways and darting in and out of classrooms. She even went outside on the athletic field and played football during a physical education class. She sings a song over the PA system every morning following the Pledge of Allegiance.
When students leave Washington for either Woodhull Intermediate School or Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School, parents can be assured they will depart with a strong educational foundation that will serve them well for many years to come.
“I always like to say, ‘Once a Washington kid, always a Washington kid,’” Mrs. Neville said. “The loyalty and good memories are amazing. I’m very proud to be Washington School’s principal.”