The Church of the Assumption was established in Bellingham, Washington in 1889. The original site was on Elk Street, but as the assembly grew, a decision was made to build a new church building at a different location and to build a parish school.
A half city block was purchased in 1906 for this purpose by Father Leo W. Ferland, who served as the second pastor of the original Assumption Parish. Plans for the new school were drawn up before he left in 1913, and the school was actually constructed prior to the church building. With a loan of $30,000, Father James Barrett oversaw the completion of the school at its current location on Cornwall Avenue. The three-story school opened on September 2, 1913, and was dedicated on September 14, with 132 students enrolled in first through twelfth grades. The school was originally staffed by the Sisters of St. Dominic of the Congregation of St. Thomas Aquinas (Dominicans).
Assumption Catholic School continued to grow and flourish. In 1931, it closed the high school due to limited enrollment and became a first through ninth grade school. The 1950s were years of the school’s largest enrollment. Compared to 225 students in 1942, enrollment grew to 396 in 1950. Enrollment exceeded 300 students until 1967 when the ninth grade was removed and it served only grades one through eight.
In 1973-74, enrollment declined to 138 students. Parents mounted their own campaign to keep the school open with the result being an enrollment increase to 172 students. To give the school a more stable enrollment base, kindergarten was added, and in 1983, a preschool was added as an important feeder program for the school. By 1985, a second kindergarten was added to meet the demand. In 2000, Assumption Catholic School went through a renovation to prepare for this steady increase in enrollment. A more permanent preschool and pre-Kindergarten space was built, as well as, a library and technology lab. A second technology lab was built on the third floor to support the middle school needs. Since that time, enrollment has fluctuated between a peak of 400 students to less than 150 students. Our goal for an ideal sized school is to support and build for one full class in every grade K-8th.
Some of the notable additions and improvements to the school in the past five years include: the purchase of a school bus to cater to families outside of Bellingham; a full-time Spanish teacher to prepare all students for Spanish II in their first year of high school; and a Makerspace classroom for ongoing science experiments, a robotics club, and visual art classes. The school has also adopted a one-to-one laptop program in grades five through eight and uses Microsoft Office 365 as the collaborative platform for teachers and students.