We are the Downing Eagles. Downing Elementary School is a neighborhood school situated within short distances to other neighborhood schools, local businesses, parks and the Boys and Girls Club. Our student learning environments range from half day special education preschool classrooms, two Head Start classrooms, a third – fifth grade Highly Capable class, and all day school for kindergarten through fifth grade.  We are a small elementary school which gives staff an opportunity to know all our students and develop close ties with families, many of which have attended Downing over several generations.  Downing is a great place to teach and learn.

Some of our school initiatives are:

  • Tacoma Whole Child Initiative (TWC)
  • Active PTA
  • Champions before and after school childcare
  • Partnership with Gonyea Boys and Girls Club


Downing Elementary School’s mission is to prepare students to attain academic excellence through a partnership of families, students and staff.

We achieve this through the following common agreements.

  • Set high standards and expectations
  • Utilize data and best practices to direct instruction
  • Participate in professional development
  • Collaborate with peers, parents, and community to impact student learning
  • Support implementation of school-wide Tacoma Whole Child Initiative (TWC)
Downing-back of school

Why are we named Mont Downing Elementary?

Our school is named after one of the principals in the district, Montgomery J. Downing.

Mr. Downing, began his teaching career in a one room school house north of Spokane in 1915, was assistant superintendent of the Tacoma school system from 1934 until 1946, when he took the position of junior high school principal Jason Lee.

He was considered one of the most active members of the Mountaineers' club and was enthusiastic in his support of boys' work at the Tacoma Y.M.C.A., where he had been a director for more than 18 years. He assisted with summer camp work and took a keen interest in youth programs.

Mr. Downing was born in Missoula, Mont. (his first name is for Montana), was graduated from Lewis and Clark high school in Spokane and taught in grammar schools, while he took additional studies at Eastern Washington Teaching College in Cheney.

He was graduated in 1919, attended Stanford university for one year and received his master's degree from the University of Washington in 1921. He came to Tacoma to become principal of Sherman and Grant schools, where he remained until he became principal of Fern Hill school in 1922. He remained until 1929, when he became principal of Central school.

He was a member of the Masons, Phi Delta Kappa, a men's honorary educational society, and Tacoma Rotary club.

Downing in 1964
Downing aerial photo