Iowa Heritage Digital Collections
State Library of Iowa

051_Oak Park School


051_Oak Park School


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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Moore (Photograph) Moulton (Photograph) Oak Park (Photograph) Park Avenue (Photograph) The brass door handles from the front doors of the original building that was demolished were installed on the College Avenue doors of the present building The name of the school, Moulton, was in honor of Emma Case Moulton, a retired teacher who taught a number of years in the building when it was North High. The school cafeteria began operation in October, 1962, as a satellite of the Merrill Junior High kitchen. A truck arrives at the building bringing lunches at 11:30 daily. Food is transported in steam tables and refrigerated carts. Enrollment in 1962 was less than four hundred but has increased to five hundred seventy in June, 1965, three school years later. This was due to boundary changes and the mobility of the population in the Moulton district. As an example of the mobility, 379 new pupils enrolled during 1964- 1965 school year and 249 transferred out. Due to the rapid increase in enrollment it was necessary in the summer of 1964 to remodel two sections of the building for additional classroom space. Two teacher positions were added for rooms 10 and 11. This made a total of 18 teachers on the staff in 1964-1965. Because enrollment was still rising, remodeling of the former high school swimming pool space into two classrooms was done in 1965. In 1966 the locker area was remodeled to add two more classrooms and a remedial reading clinic. During the 1970-71 school year a general reorganization of Moulton school took place. This reorganization was made possible by a grant from the Model City Project which was a community action program. Teachers, community people, parents, and central office staff planned and implemented the Continuous Development Project. The main features of this program were individualized approach to instruction, no fail concept, much parent input, staff reorganization utilizing the team approach, and the non-graded approach to student assignment to levels. Much media material and equipment was purchased with monies from the Model City grant. In an effort to make Moulton school a "community based school" many evening activities were provided to adults as well as children. This program was known as the "the Expanded use of School Facilities Program", it later became the Community Culture and Recreational Activities Program. In 1972 a Learning Center was added to the program which provided an alternative educational program for those students who could not function in a regular classroom environment. During this same year a Early Learning Center was developed for 3 year old children. The Early Learning Center was funded by Title I funds. Sabin school, two blocks east of Moulton was closed in the Spring of 1974 and merged with Moulton. This merger was necessary due to low enrollments in each school. The combined enrollments made Moulton a school of 586 children which includes the children of the pre-school programs. The staff at Moulton numbered 64lA. During the 1974-75 school year a new grant was awarded to Moulton from the Office of Child Development. Moulton was one of fourteen schools in the nation to receive this grant. The main emphasis of this grant was to merge the Head Start program with the Public Schools. The project was called Developmental Continuity and will be implemented in the Fall of 1975. Success with this project will enable Moulton to be a demonstration project site for the Office of Child Development. Principals who have served Moulton School are: 1962 - 1969 Peter Cunningham 1969 - 1971 Cecil Leonard 1971-1975 James Mitchell 1975 - Gary Sheldon OAK PARK SCHOOL 6th and Madison Grades K-6 Dates of construction—1891 Three-eighths 1900 One-eighth 1925 Three-eighths 1954 One-eighth Site—3.0 acres Oak Park School was named, as was the park of the same name, because of the many oak trees in that area. The school was founded in 1891 as an independent school district to serve the Highland and Oak Park areas, extending northward from what is now Ovid Avenue. The original building consisted of four rooms. In