Iowa Heritage Digital Collections
State Library of Iowa

045_Madison School


045_Madison 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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Lovejoy (Photograph) Lucas (Photograph) Madison (Photograph) Mann (Photograph) In the mid-1970's Lucas School is faced with the declining enrollment situation which is typical of many school units. It mantains an undepartmentalized program in grades K-3 and a six-unit Plan A for grades 4,5,6. For special programs it maintains Head Start, Title I Reading, Title I Math. It also has a special education resource room and a learning disabilities class. For after school hours, there is participation in the community cultural recreational program of the CDA - Community Development Agency. Going into the mid-1970's, Lucas School has been faced with a more mobile pupil population and a reduction in enrollment over previous years. This trend has been typical of other school units. The enrollment at Lucas has fluctuated between 268 and 310 pupils (excluding Head Start) during 1974. In addition to Head Start, other programs operating at Lucas are Title I Math, Title I Reading, special education resource room and a learning disabilities clas. In 1975, Lucas will be receiving a Kindergarten Speech Class and two self-contained special education classes. As an alternative to the defunct Lucas P.T.A., parents have organized a Parent Community Council. Principals who served in this building are: 1907 - 1930 Sara Davis 1939 - 1933 Isabell Marshall 1933 - 1934 Edwin Miner 1934 - 1937 Robert Simpkins 1937 - 1947 Nelle Cunningham 1947 - 1952 Kathryn Blanchard Christian 1952 - 1964 Mildred Shay 1964 - 1966 Carl Fehrle 1966 - 1970 Cecil Leonard 1970 - 1971 James Mitchell 1971 - 1974 Ruth Collins 1974 - Keith Banwart Madison School East 8th and Madison Grades K-6 Dates of construction - 1952 One-third 1957 Two-thirds Site - 6.0 acres Prior to World War II, there were few homes north of Douglas Avenue and the present site of the school was once used for grazing cattle and later as the Kiwanis Ball Park. The need for an elemaentary school in this area was first realized in 1926 when the site was purchased by a well known farmer, Mr. Hoffman. However, the acutual construction of the school did not take place until after World War II. The school opened on November 17, 1952 with five teachers and 82 pupils. As more and more families moved into the new area, a later addition was added in 1957 to include 22 rooms. Madison School appears to have been names because of its close proximity to Madison Avenue. In researching the files and documents of the City Library and the City Street Department, some interesting facts come into view. The Avenue first appears on the City Ledger in 1893. This would tend to indicate the Avenue was probably names after the 4th President of the United States, James Madison. However, the resource department of the City Library indicates that during the 1920's a prominent educator and promotor of Des Moines by the name of Charles Madison was also active during the time period that the school site was purchased. Madison was one of the first schools in Des Moines and the State of Iowa to offer programs for the visually impaired, academically talented, mentally disabled, and children with learning disabilities in addition to the regular school program. During the mid 1970's declining enrollment provided classroom space for the Art Workshop K-12, Homeward Instruction Program K-12, and a Child Study Center. Presently, the primary unit offers a semi-departmentalized program which emphasizes shared teaching responsibilites between grade levels, while the upper unit offers a more departmentalized program in which teachers teach in only oneor two academic areas. The upper unit program is called the "MEMPHASS 4-5-6 PLAN" and was selected by both the staff and students. Three additional classrooms offer programs for the mentally disabled (primary and intermediate), and for children with learning disabilities.