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About Bellevue


D.R.A.G.O.N.S Believe

We Believe in...


Discovering and investigating to ignite students’ curiosity.  Encouraging students to ask questions and seek out answers through hands-on exploration builds future problem solvers and inspires creativity. 


Reflective thinkers who are responsible and active in their own learning.  

Students continually analyze experiences to gain awareness in his/her learning assists in discovering alternative courses of action.


Academic excellence and inclusion for all students. Students’ engagement with inquiry-based learning gives them the freedom to take risks in a nurturing environment.


Global and cultural awareness and understanding, to promote and prepare students for real-world problem solving.


Open-mindedness and willingness to try new things and hear or consider new ideas.  Students being able to step out of his/her comfort zone to consider the ideas and perspectives of others is important.


Navigating and adapting to a rigorous learning environment with resilience and determination.  Giving students the opportunity to grapple with rigorous content while using authentic life experiences in preparation for an ever-changing world.


Supportive relationships between staff, families, and community stakeholders.  These relationships encourage open-minded attitudes and an appreciation for diversity.



To passionately educate all our students to become innovative thinkers that are equipped with relevant skills, leadership, curiosity, awareness, and intrinsic drive to impact the world.


To engage all students in STEAM, a student-centered, project-based instructional model that integrates Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. STEAM will allow for greater access points to student dialogue; critical thinking and creativity; investigation; and problem-solving with decision making.  In addition, Bellevue students will collaborate with peers and community leaders to gain exposure to limitless opportunities extending learning beyond classroom walls.



The original Bellevue School was one of the first three public schools built in the city. It was located on the corner of 22nd and Broad Street and opened its doors January 1, 1872 with 12 teachers. The top floor was condemned in 1907 and was removed. The old Bellevue School continued to be used for classes of mentally handicapped pupils and as a vocational school under the name of Bellevue Special School. The building continued in use as "The Bellevue Special School" until the new Bellevue School (current location) at 24th and Grace Street opened in September 1914.

The current school replaced old Bellevue which had been named for Bellevue Hospital. The site of the current school was once the home of Elizabeth Van Lew, a Southerner who carried out Union espionage work during the Civil War. The cornerstone was laid on January 21, 1913, with Masonic ceremonies.

Bellevue opened during the 1913-14 session as an elementary school with students that transferred from the old Bellevue School. In September 1915, it was converted into Bellevue Junior High School. It reverted back to an elementary school in September 1919 (with the opening of East End Junior High School) and continued until June 1955. 

In 1975, due to a fire at Bellevue, the students were temporarily relocated to Mosby. The school was scheduled for closure in June 1975 because the coal-fired furnaces did not meet the provisions of the Clean Air Act of 1970. However, this decision was reversed and Bellevue was renovated in 1975-77 (furnace replacement, cafeteria and kitchen repairs, and fire damage repairs).  During that same period, Bellevue was used by Whitcomb Court School. 

In appreciation for the school 's return to the area, the Church Hill Association donated funds to improve Bellevue's playground facilities. The school completed the installation of air-conditioning, and repaired the wall to the rear on east Franklin Street so that students could again enjoy the rear playground. Generations of children have come to know and love the school as "The Castle on the Hill".

 A Part of Historic Richmond!

This site holds a special place in Richmond's history. Two very inspiring women, Elizabeth Van Lew and Maggie Walker both had ties to this site, and each rose beyond the social dictates of their respective eras despite great challenges. One was a heiress and the other a child of a former slave, but each possessed an equal determination and clarity of vision to alter history for the better. 

The site of the "new" Bellevue School was first the home of Dr. John Adams, the land was given to him by his father in 1792. John Van Lew later purchased the mansion in 1836. Elizabeth Van Lew grew up there and was later shunned for her position against slavery and spying for the Union Army during the Civil War. She had ensured that all her families slaves were freed before the Civil War. After the Civil War, Confederate-minded Richmond residents continued to shun her and this was lonely and painful because she of  the conviction she held that human bondage was immoral. After she died the mansion was demolished, and the Bellevue School was erected in its place. The cornerstone was laid on January 21, 1914, with Masonic ceremonies. Bellevue Elementary School was named a historic site in April 2005 and dedicated in a ceremony by the Richmond Historical Foundation of Virginia.

Maggie Lena Walker was a nationally known African American business-woman and leader of the Independent Order of St. Luke. She was born at the Van Lew Mansion, and founded The Penny Savings Bank. She was the first African-American female bank president in the United States, a newspaper editor, and devoted her life to civil rights advancement. Maggie Lena Walker was also active in civic groups and among them was the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) and the Virginia Industrial School for Girls. To assist with race relations she helped to organize and served locally as vice president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and was a member of the NAACP board. She also served as a member of the Virginia Interracial Commission and chairman of the board of directors for the Consolidated Bank and Trust Company. Maggie Lena Walker was educated in Richmond Public Schools and after she graduated she also taught elementary school for three years. In spite of her humble beginnings in post-Civil War Richmond, Virginia, she achieved national prominence and her legacy continues to inspire people!


Principals of Bellevue Elementary School

Ernest Shawen

1911 - 1921

Algar Woolfolf

1921 - 1929

J. D. Harris

1929 - 1946

W. Carter Bleight

1946 - 1955

Herbert H. Allen

1955 - 1958

General J. Johnson

1958 - 1971

Russell G. Harris, Jr.

1971 - 1978

Barbara Russell Grey

1978 - 1979

Sylvia D. Richardson

1979 - 1993

Lillian E. Greene

1993 - 1995

George A. Crockett

1995 - 2002

Sherry Wharton Carey

2002 - 2010

Regina Toliver Farr

2010 - 2019

V. Tanaia Hines

2019 - present