Iowa Heritage Digital Collections
State Library of Iowa

048_McKinley and Mitchell Schools


048_McKinley and Mitchell Schools


This is a page from the collection "Bicentennial Reflections: History of Des Moines Public Schools, 1876-1976" by Dr. Robert R. Denny, published by the Des Moines Public Schools in Des Moines, Iowa in 1976.

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46 McKINLEY SCHOOL 1916 S.E. 6th Grades K-6 Dates of construction 1904 Two-thirds 1927 One-third Site 1.6 acres Pupils in the McKinley attendance area attended Washington School until the present building was built in 1904. McKinley School and Greenwood School was built in the early 1900's accordmg to the school philosophy of their day. The reasoning was a grammar school has 8 grades and so it 8 rooms. A building was designed with grades 1-4 on the first floor and has 5-8 on the second floor. Kindergarten was usually housed in a separate structure. The board of education honored the memory of William McKinley, 25th President of the United States, by naming the building for him. The addition in 1927 included the gym, auditouium and office spaces, McKinley School was named for William McKinley, the twenty-fifth president of the United States. In the mid-1970s McKinley School is facing declining enrollment as many other Des Moines schools. It maintains a K-6 undepartmentahzed classroom program for the approximately 240 students who are there. It has Title I Reading, Title I Math, as well as the Career Opportunity project. The family learning center has received a great deal of nationwide publicity and draws a number of parents to the school. There is also a great deal of adult participation in the community cultural recreational program of the CDA. Principals who have administered McKinley are: 1907-1912 Laura Matthews 1957-1963 Nelle Cunningham 1912-1938 Alice Bradshaw 1963-1965 Patience Guthrie 1939-1946 Edna Peterson 1965-1966 Kenneth Rankin 1946-1952 Florence Weisbrod 1967-1972 Snowden Moon 1952-1955 Kenneth Rankin 1972" Patrick Moran 1955-1957 Lorraine Reed MITCHELL SCHOOL Porter & South Union Grades K-6 Dates of construction—1958 Site—8.2 acres J. O. Mitchell School was designed by the architects, Dougher, Frevert, and Ramsey. Construction was completed in 1958 at an approximate cost of $445,000. The building contains 14 classrooms and a combination cafeteria and gym. Approximately 400 children, the books, furniture, and all school equipment were moved from Army Post School to Mitchell School October 15, 1958. Flag raising ceremonies at the newly completed Mitchell School were held at 8 o'clock on the opening day, Monday, October 1&, 1958. Members of Fort Des Moines American Legion Post 669 presented the flag to the new school faculty. Mrs, Walter Hiatt, in memory of her brother, Carl Pack, made the presentation to Lydia Rogers, school principal. Commander R. H. Flowers and Walter Hiatt raised the flag for the first time. Mr. William Findley, retired Assistant Superintendent of Schools, was partially responsible for the school being named J. O.lvlitchell. Mr. Mitchell was a teacher and had served as principal of several schools located in this area, Maple Grove, Park Avenue and Fort Des Moines. He was a large man in stature, strict disciplinarian, but very kindly. Former pupils relate stories to verify this fact one of his favorite forms of punishment was to have the offender "walk the beat11 on the playground. A picture of J. O. Mitchell was presented to the school at a Dad's night P.T.A. meeting February 10, 1959. Jay A. Mitchell, Des Moines attorney and son of J. O. Mitchell made the presentation on behalf of his family. School Board member L. L. Daubert accepted the picture in behalf of the board. In the mid-1970s Mitchell enrollments were relieved with the opening of the new Lovejoy School to the eastern edge of the attendance area. Both Mitchell and the Ft. Des Moines primary unit are operated as a single attendance center under the jurisdiction of one principal. It also utilizes an organizational plan somewhat similar to IGE. Mitchell has a K-3 non-graded language arts program with a six-unit plan A for grades 4, 5, and 6. It also utilizes an organizational plan somewhat similiar to I.G.E., A centrally located Instructional Media Center has been developed through the joint efforts of the student council, parents and faculty. The center boasts an extensive collection of audio-materials (tapes and records) and contains 34 study carrels built by a committee of parents. Community Education classes are offered for children and parents before and after regular school hours. Some of the courses offered during the past school year were: guitar lessons, cake decorating, slimnastics, bicycle safety, wrestling and bowling. Other programs included in the curriculum are: Volunteer program, Title I Reading and Mathematics, Specific Learning Disabilities, Speech Therapy, Kindergarten Waupon Project, Individualized Mathematics Program Grades 4-6, Wisconsin Design Study Skills, Career Education, Student Tutors. Principals who have served at Mitchell are: 1958-1966 Lydia Rogers 1966- Lawrence Hardy