Iowa Heritage Digital Collections
State Library of Iowa

049_Monroe School


049_Monroe 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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MONROE SCHOOL 30th and Hickman Grades K-6 Dates of construction 1924 1950 1959 Site 5 acres Just after the turn of the century, Monroe School began as a little one- room brick school on one acre of ground known as Pleasant Hill and located at 2313 30th Street, on the northeast corner of 30th and Hickman Road. It was long ago converted into a residence. About 1905 the city closed the school and traded that piece of ground for a little larger acreage where the school now stands. For about the next fourteen years, some of the children in this a*ea made the long, hard trek to Kirkwood School. Other youngsters trudged through different fields and woods to Byron Rice School. At last, a few determined mothers met the school board with such powerful persuasion that in the fall of 1918, a temporary building was erected where the auditorium now stands, housing two teachers in two rooms with an enrollment of 61. The same year the Mothers' Club was organized with Mrs. J. H. Gooch, now deceased, as president. By the end of the year there were 20 members. The new school was named after James Monroe, fifth president of the United States. He was a quiet, ordinary man, not brilliant, but he had proved himself dependable and honest. At twenty-five he was the youngest member of the Constitutional Congress, but he was fifty-nine before becoming president. James Monroe was well-liked, and his picture now hangs in the foyer of Monroe Elementary. With an enrollment of 87 in 1923, a brand new 4-room building (including our present kindergarten room with the bay window) was erected. The 2-room "Old Shack" temporary building was still in use when, by 1940, enrollment "soared" to 183. Two more rooms were added, and in 1944 the "Old Shack" was connected to the main building. By 1950, the new addition to the main building of nine classrooms, an auditorium, and gymnasium was completed. At that time, the school board bought enough additional ground for our present five acres. Still another addition of 10 classrooms was built in 1959, and the "Old Shack" finally put to rest. That year, the sixth graders went to Franklin while the building was in progress. In 1975, James Monroe Elementary School has an enrollment of nearly 500 students. The P.T.A. is strong, and a Home-School Community Advisory Council is now active in helping provide for the best educational program for students. 47 The educational structure at Monroe is self-contained for grades K-4 and departmentalized (Des Moines Plan A) in grades 5 and 6. Monroe is an EEO receiving school and uses community volunteers in the educational program. The Wisconsin Design for Study Skills is used at Monroe in grades 3-6. Some additional developments at James Monroe Elementary School are the use of the school as a Community Education center for students and adults, and the use of a school Child-Study-Team for student help (academic and social) at the school level. In addition, a Monroe student council has been activated. Principals who have served Monroe School are: 1918 - 1922 W. Lee Jordan 1922 - 1923 Laura Moulton 1923 - 1926 Herman Eickelberg 1926 - 1927 Jeannette Mills 1927 - 1930 Georgia Quigley 1930 - 1936 Blanche V. Toohey 1936 - 1937 James Burr 1937 - 1946 Mae Heathershaw 1946 - 1955 James Daugherty 1955 - 1956 Paul Pace 1956 - 1960 James Daugherty 1960 - 1964 Charles Mindling 1964 - 1966 Charles Pedersen 1966 - 1973 Loretta Patrick 1973 - Stephen Lipovac Elementary School Activities 1930's