058_Smouse Opportunity School
058_Smouse Opportunity 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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56 Through budget appropriations and a PTA-sponsored "birthday book plan", the Samuelson library has grown in its first ten years from 681 to nearly 6,000 volumes and includes many film strips, records and other software. * In recognition of her Swedish ancestry, a St. Lucia's Day celebration is held yearly in December. Each room chooses a St. Lucia who delivers Swedish Spritz to the children of another room. Dressed in a white robe with a red sash and wearing a crown of candles, she is accompanied by her classmates who sing Christmas carols. The principal of Samuelson School is Kenneth Smith. SMOUSE OPPORTUNITY SCHOOL 28th and Center Dates of constructionâ€”1931 1954 1963 Siteâ€”18.3 acres (including Callanan) Smouse is a school facility for the physically handicapped in Grades Kdg.-8. Smouse School was dedicated in 1931 to serve physically handicapped children of the Des Moines School district who could not satisfactorily attend regular school. It was made possible by the gift of $333,000 from Dr. and Mrs. David W. Smouse. In 1954 there was the swimming pool addition and in 1963 an addition of four classrooms was completed. Through the generosity and foresight of a former Des Moines physician and his wife, more than 1900 children have benefited by attending the Smouse Opportunity school for physically handicapped children in the past twenty-five years. The building and equipment was made possible by the gift of $333,000 from Dr. and Mrs. David W. Smouse. Dr. Smouse was too good hearted as a family physician to* save much money. However, as the result of a fortunate business venture he accumulated wealth and chose to leave it in Des Moines. As he expressed it, "the school seemed the best way." The generous gift of money allowed for many art objects, such as paintings and colorful prints throughout the building. EARLY PLANNING OF BUILDING AND POLICIES: Smouse School was dedicated in 1931 to serve physically handicapped children of the Des Moines School district who could not satisfactorily attend regular school. The school was made possible through the gift of $333,000 from Dr. & Mrs. David W. Smouse. Through the generosity and foresight of this former Des Moines physician and his wife more than 2200 children have benefitted from the services of this school. The generous gift of money allowed for many art objects, such as colorful prints throughout the building. Original ceramic tiles, wrought iron signs, and fireplace screens were designed by Mrs. Berneice V. Setzer, former Director of Art. In more recent years the funds provided by the Smouses have been used to build an addition of 4 classrooms, carpet the building, provide a learning center and air condition the classrooms of the building. For many months preceding the drawing of plans and establishing of policies, Supt. of Schools, John W. Studebaker, Dr. Fred Moore, Director of School Health, Mr. Clark Souers, architect, and Miss Bess Johnson, principal, visited several other cities which were known to have good special education programs. It was determined that Smouse Opportunity School should be a combination of good therapy and educational program - directed to the needs of hearing, visually and orthopedically impaired children. THERAPY AND EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING When Dr. Studebaker became United States Commissioner of Education in 1934 he was instrumental in interesting many cities in developing special education programs for the physical, as well as other handicapping conditions. In recent years Smouse has extended its services to the Greater Des Moines Area, and is currently serving pupils from six nearby counties. With the formation of the new Area Education Agency program Smouse will be providing services to an even larger area. The educational program consists of four major educational blocks. The ungraded primary includes pupils of kingergarten age and older. The continuation department includes children of limited learning capabilities. The deaf department includes children of preschool through elementary grades. The middle and upper grades unit extends through the eighth grade level. There are normally about 150 pupils enrolled at Smouse. Included are children with disabilities due to cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifada and other orthopedic conditions, deafness and visual problems - including blindness. In 1974 the Ruby Van Meter School for Severely Retarded was built and dedicated on the same grounds. The two schools are jointly involved in a sizeable bus transportation plan serving the area. PRINCIPALS WHO HAVE SERVED SMOUSE: 1931 - 1958 Bess Johnson 1958 - Dr. Robert W. Langerak Program forerunners to Smouse include the open air school at North High, the school for Deaf at Clarkson, and the Saylor School for Crippled Children on Pleasant Street. tf STOWE SCHOOL 1401 East 33rd St. Grades K-6 Dates of construction- 1915 Two rooms 1925 Two rooms 1943 Two rooms on 3rd floor 1953 Six rooms, offices, storage area 1960 Four rooms