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The History of our Public Schools
Wyandotte County, Kansas




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KCKS Public School System, 1819-1961
by Nellie McGuinn
Copyright USD 500, Feb 1966

Return to Previous Section 1953


The first $3 million of the $6.5 million bond issue was sold August 4 to the Northern Trust Company and Associates. On November 16, officials and patrons dedicated the twelve newly decorated and furnished rooms of old Longfellow, now Dunbar Access.

The new Argentine gymnasium, twice the size of the old, was used first in December. Just before the holidays, Noble Prentis children moved into four rooms on the second floor. All now were in one building. Other additions to the south and east were planned and the old building was razed.

Superintendent Schlagle introduced 158 new teachers when school began in September. He explained the advances made by the Council and the Board of Education in teacher welfare - retirement, tenure, sick leave, credit union, and sick benefits. Opportunity rooms in fourteen schools provided for extremely slow learners. State aid was available, he said, for these and for the homebound. The latter were visited twice a week by qualified teachers.

In 1958 a degree would be necessary for minimum certification. Teachers had many demands on them, he explained, that they had not had previously. A continuous program of public relations must be carried on and the classroom teacher played a key role. The NEA in June had called a meeting of magazine editors to try to deter them from publishing articles unfair to the teaching profession. He explained also the difference between "on duty" and "off duty" behavior of teachers, saying that parents expected more of teachers than they did of themselves.

In March the board planned facilities for 500 children at Noble Prentis. The old four-room brick would be razed and a second floor added to the 1950 addition. As the school was located near a new housing development, more space was needed. Plans were under way for the new Grant building by June. Morse and Thomas A. Edison already were under construction.

The old noth section of Argentine High was raxed in the summer of 1954.  Before the 46-year old building was destroyed former studends held a reunion there to recall their high school days and mourn the loss of another landmark.  Argentine was the largest project of the 1953 bond issue.  The south building was to be expanded and a new one erected where the north had stood.  The gymnasium would extend west and be increased in height.  Drier and Sons were awarded the construction contract.  Classes went on half-day sessions for the year.

Bellanti and Welsh were ready to start work on Grant.  Morse, facing to the east on Baltimore, neared completion.  On the 10-acre tract at the southeast corner of Tenth and Locust, work was progressing on the Thomas A. Edison School.  By September, 1955 the board hoped to have the addition of ten rooms at Eugene Ware completed.  Old Longfellow School, abandoned since 1939, was remodeled and restored by Haren and Laughlin, contractors, to be used as an annex to Dunbar.  West Junior would soon be under way.  Preliminary plans were made for Frances Willard and a replacement for Rosedale Annex, built before 1922.

On May 17, 1954, the Board of Education was meeting in the library building when word came that the Supreme Court had declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional.  The board was able to conduct business as usual, for plans had already been made toward integration.  Additions to buildings likely to be affected by the ruling were already under way.

Sumner students had the choice of continuing there or attending the high school in their district.  Accommodations at the junior high schools were limited.  Wherever possible, pupils were permitted to go to the nearest school.  If few colored were in the elementary school district, these pupils were given the optionf of attending a colored school or formerly white school.

The library, pride of the city in 1904, celebrated its 50 th anniversary November 15-20. Miss Esther Norman, librarian, and the library staff prepared the week's program.

Next Section   1955

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History Site created on December 02, 2002
Page last updated: 02-Jan-2012

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