Iowa Heritage Digital Collections
State Library of Iowa

046_Mann School


046_Mann 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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44 Of special interest to both parents and students are the more than 15 different club activities which are sponsored by the Madison Staff and interested parents. The main emphasis of these club activities is to promote self awareness, citizenship, sportsmanship, courtesy, school pride, and as an extension/enrichment of the regular school program. Madison has also been involved in a number of innovative programs during the past few years. In 1971 Madison was one of 250 schools across the United States to participate in a special testing project/evaluation with the Educational Testing Service determining whether or not schools with comprehensive reading programs were better or worse than schools without such programs. At Madison, students receive reading instruction commensurate with their ability and performance. Madison was also one of four Des Moines Elementary Schools to run a pilot project with the Westinghouse Learning Cooperation regarding School Criterion Objective Referenced Evaluation (SCORE) in the academic areas of Social Studies and Science. Madison School has also been a receiving school for students from several inner-city schools who have volunteered to participate in the school districts' Voluntary Transfer Program which originated in 1968. In 1972, the school district adopted another innovative program referred to as the Career Education Program and Madison was one of seven other schools to help launch this special project that was to sweep across the entire district during the next few years. In 1973, Madison School received a National Certificate of Commendation from the American National Red Cross for planning and initiating an innovative Red Cross Good Neighbor Day. In 1974, Madison School was the first elementary school in Des Moines to launch a special two day and one night out-of-town Outdoor Education Project for sixth graders. During this same year, Madison students adopted the Lion as their school emblem with the motto Strength, Courage, and Wisdom. Another student composed a school song and this was adopted by the school staff and student body also. Of special interest is the fact that Madison and Cattell Elementary Schools are located in the largest Scandinavian and Norwegian community within the city. Our communities are very proud of their schools and take an active interest in the education of their children. Principals of this building have been: 1951-1953 Maurice Lewis 1963 - 1972 Kathryn Christian 1953 - 1963 Lorene Lightfoot 1972 - Larry C. Martindale MANN SCHOOL S.W. 9th and Amos Grades K-6 Dates of construction- Site—5.4 acres -1962 Horace Mann Elementary School opened its doors to its first "pupil customers" at the beginning of the second semester of school in 1962. The enrollment totaled 361, in grades kindergarten through grade five. They were pupils who were transferred from Maple Grove and Watrous schools. Horace Mann School is a beautiful school located at Southwest Ninth and Amos streets in South Des Moines. Its boundary line on the north was Burnham Street until the Maple Grove Building at S.W. 9th and Army Post was closed in September, 1972, when the north boundary was extended to Army Post. Students in that area now attend Mann. It extends to the Warren County Line on the south. Southwest Ninth Street forms its east boundary. Southwest Fourteenth is its west boundary. The selection of the site for the school was a difficult one. Because of the flight approach pattern to the Des Moines Municipal Airport, great care had to be used to meet the necessary government safety regulation. Although the school site is only five and one fourth acres in size, it proved to be quite costly because it was necessary to remove twelve residences. The over all purchase price was $117,050.00 Wetherell, Harrison and Wagner were the architects selected to design the school building, which has several unique factors. It is a two story brick building with an expansive use of glass windows. It contains two kindergartens which open into a partially covered court yard. This patio, or court yard, may be used for a play area or dramatic activities. It is equipped with flood lights and sound system. Each class room on the first floor has its own outside entrance as well as toilet facilities. Most of the classrooms have folding partitions between two rooms for large class use which is desireable in a multi-unit school. On the top floor, the class rooms are located in the center, with the hall corridors on the exterior of the north and south sides of the building. The east entrance of the building is finished completely as a glass enclosed stairwell. Future plans call for an addition of six rooms, three upper and three lower, to be attached to this east entrance. The entire school contains thirteen class rooms, art room, central library, media center, service kitchen and a gym, which serves as the lunch room and multi purpose room. It includes office and nurse's space as well as teachers' lounge and work rooms, a speech therapist office and two music practice rooms. Construction of the building was done by W. H. Breiholz Company at a total cost of $489,994.00. The parents, teachers, and children take great pride in the fact that the school bears the name of Horace Mann, who is known as the "Father of the . American Public School". It was he who pioneered the concept that education should be univeral, non-sectarian and free. Through his influence, the first teacher training normal school was established 1839. He was an ardent champion of free speech, labor and women's rights. He often defended negroes in the courts. He enthusiastically believed that education was the basis for democracy and said "The common school is the greatest discovery ever made by man".