Iowa Heritage Digital Collections
State Library of Iowa

072_Harding and Amos Hiatt Junior High Schools


072_Harding and Amos Hiatt Junior High 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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70 In the fabulous 50's came Sputnik. The schools reorganized their curriculum to meet the need for a more scientific approach. While struggling to revamp curriculum in the early 60's, rights, riots and supreme rules had a serious impact on schools. Warren Harding Junior High administration, staff, and the Des Moines Schools, made what they thought to be a just decision regarding "black arm bands". The Supreme Court of the United States, in its decision, over-ruled the opinions of the lower courts and the school district. Tinker vs Des Moines Schools became the basis for the many student rights decisions which have followed. What began and had its inception at Warren Harding Junior High has had a profound effect on all schools in the United States. January 10, 1974, oil, from a broken feeder line, ignited, causing extensive smoke and fire damage. Temporary school facilities were set up in space available at North High. Accommodations were crowded. Three weeks after the fire, we were allowed to return to our building. Two other fires occurred, during a short period after our return, which were determined to be the work of an arsonist. During the 1975-1976 school year, Warren Harding Junior High will celebrate its 50th anniversary of educational service to the community. Educational Program The organization of a junior high school geared to meet the needs of the adolescent involves a varied program built around the activities of this age group providing valuable training in scholarship, sportsmanship, leadership, and service. The program at Warren Harding is planned to provide continued training the basic areas of knowledge; to enable students to explore academic and non-academic areas for vocational and avocational possibilities dependent upon their interest, apptitude and ability; to learn to live with and understand those with differing backgrounds or customs; and to achieve a better understanding of their own rights and responsibilities to their self and others. With student rights, teachers rights and the rights of the individual the mid 70's finds our programs being constantly examined. The rights of all interest groups are thoroughly explored by all 8th grade social science students during an extended unit on American Diversities. Career Education has been integrated into all subject area teaching. Students learn the what, the why and the how of their career interest. On the job visitations in differing career interests are a part of our program in Manpower and Economics. Learning Disabilities are receiving much recognition. Our Special Program Utilizing Resource Teachers (SPURT) is enabling students to examine their basic fundamentals and improve them where they find themselves to be weak. Volunteers have been beneficial in making the program work. They provide the one-to-one learning situation which many students need. During the 1975-1976 school year Warren Harding Junior High will participate in the Statewide Mathematics Assessment Program. Interscholastic athletic events at the 9th grade level, for boys, began in 1967, with competition in basketball, wrestling and track. Competition, for girls, began in 1973, with softball, basketball and track. In the mid 70's Warren Harding Junior High continues to maintain a high student population. They participate in the voluntary transfer program which permits innercity black students to elect to attend Harding. They participate in the Title III Career Interest Survey and the Title III Rent-a-Kid program. Other programs, which they participate in are, the World of Construction, Police-School Liaison and SPURT, the program for students with learning disabilities. Principals 1926 - 1956 James M. Sterrett 1956-1971 Chester A. Pratt 1971 - Robert J. Donly AMOS HIATT JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL E. 15th and Garfield Grades 7, 8, 9 HISTORY OF AMOS HIATT JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL 1918 - 1965 Amos Hiatt Junior High School had its beginning in the building on E. 12th and Court. This building, known variously as "Old East" and "Old Amos,'1 was first occupied in March, 1891 when pupils from Webster and Bryant marched over in a snowstorm to be the first occupants, From 1891 to 1903 it was a grade school and high school combined, then Gary was built to house the elementary grades. Mr. Amos Hiatt was superintendent of East Des Moines Schools, and his office and the office of the board of education was at the E. 12th and Court location.