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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31 FINDLEY SCHOOL 3000 Cambridge Site 2.1 acres The first wing of Findley elementary school was opened in 1966. It was a primary unit of nine rooms situated on land on 3000 Cambridge that had been cleared of houses only a short time before. The school was named for William C. Findley, long-time assistant superintendent in the Des Moines Public Schools. Biographical sketch of Mr. Findley: Mr. Findley was born in 1894 on the Winnebago Indian reservation twenty-five miles southwest of Sioux City. His father was a home missionary to the Indians who made up about a third of the area population. The future educator spent the first five grades in a country school where he sat side by side in a double seat with a little Indian boy named Pete. After his father's death the family moved to Bellevue, Nebraska, where he finished his elementary schooling and entered Bellevue Academy. He later graduated from Bellevue College now joined with Hastings College. During the next nine years he was teacher and principal in several schools beginning in Fullerton High and in 1916 was superintendent at Beemer, Nebraska. In fact, the first twenty-nine years of his life were spent in his native state of Nebraska. Mr. Findley was superintendent at Rushville in September, 1917 but his tenure was interrupted in December when he was called to the U.S. Coast Artillery Corps. Training in American camps was followed by an assignment to France as a Lieutenant in World War I. Upon his return to civilian life in 1919 he became superintendent of Gordon and Gering public schools. Four years later he went to the State University of Iowa where he did graduate work and attained his Master's degree. Then he had two additional years of experience as teacher and principal in Iowa City elementary schools. In 1925, John W. Studebaker, Des Moines Superintendent of Schools, and later United States Commissioner of Education, impressed with the administrative and mathematical skills of the young school man, invited him to the Des Moines school system for a thirty-nine-year stay. For three years Mr. Findley assumed the principalship of Clarkson, Saylor, Barton, and Bly Schools. From 1928 to 1933 the post of Mathematics Supervisor was added to his responsibilities. Meanwhile Mr. Findley was performing a service to the educational publishing world. Scott Foresman's Study Arithmetic needed primary texts and workbooks. Mr. Findley provided the textbooks,workbooks and his name to the nations' most widely used elementary arithmetic series. The Study Arithmetic, authored by Knight, Studebaker, Ruch and Findley was 31 perhaps the most popularly acclaimed arithmetic text in American and Canadian schools in the decade of the 30's and early 40's. The position of Director of Elementary Education was assigned to Mr. Findley in 1933 and he took his place in the central office as a member of the administrative staff. Eight years later he was made Assistant Superintendent of Schools and remained in that capacity until his retirement in 1964. In 1967 all of the primary students from Saylor elementary were transferred to the new Findley School. Grades 5 and 6 at Saylor became a part of the Harding adminstrative routines. Saylor school was officially closed at that point. It was planned that Clarkson School which was of ancient construction going back to 1888 would be discontinued in the near future and those students also would attend the new Findley School. In the early 1970s an addition often teaching stations, art and music rooms, and media center were planned to completion of the Findley building. The remaining half-square block of houses were purchased and demolished so that the complete Findley site would thus be available for a larger and expanded school. The teacher and citizen planning committees that helped plan the new Findley addition decided upon an open-space concept with teaching stations rather than individualized and separate classrooms. In the fall of 1972 when the new Findley building was opened, it became then a K-6 attendance center with grades 5 and 6 removed from Harding and the K-6 students from the Clarkson building transferred to this new unit. The contracts for the first part of Findley School were let in June, 1966 in the amount of $213,645.00. The building was complete in November, 1967. The contract awarded in May, 1971 totaled $509,740.00 and were for 12 classroom teaching stations (much of this Open Space) library learning center and cafetorium The new wing was air-conditioned. Findley School Programs 1967-75 When Findley first opened in 1967 it was a traditional school. In the fall of 1971 the Wisconsin Design Program, a phonic program, and I.G.E., Individually guided Education, were introduced to help meet the needs of individual children. The new air-conditioned open space area was completed in the fall of 1972. The Findley Staff was doubled to accommodate the increased enrollment from Clarkson and Harding Junior High, and at this time a Title I Reading resource teacher was assigned to Findley. In 1972 Career Education was implemented and a Title I Math teacher was appointed. In 1974 a Specific Learning Resource teacher was shared with Cattell School. In the fall of 1975 a self-contained Specific Learning Resource room will be opened to help children in the primary grades living in the northeast area of the city. Principals: Nadine Machesney 1967 -