Iowa Heritage Digital Collections
State Library of Iowa

054_Perkins and Phillips Schools


054_Perkins and Phillips Schools


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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52 After exhaustive efforts, traffic lights were installed at 44th and Franklin, our present pre-school mothers group was formed and Perkins was bulging with 656 children. Petitions were signed for the new Northwest and South town swimming pools in 1957. A Civil Defense program was set up for the city during some crucial months of world conflict and Perkins was designated as an Air Raid shelter and properly equipped. A record number of 720 pupils were enrolled at Perkins in 1958-59. The Central Library was formed and the P.T.A. contributed $500.00 to this library fund. Mrs. Kathryn Christian joined the staff as the new principal, replacing Erma Anderson who retired that year. The first television (portable) set for the school was purchased. The Central Library was growing rapidly when 160 books were given to it in 1960-61, which brought the total up to 2,491 books, P.T.A. gave $200.00 to buy more books that year. Also, beginning the school year 1960- 61, Perkins was chosen to be one of the first schools in the city of Des Moines to take part in an experimental program using large-class viewing of educational television. This program was limited in the beginning to Social Studies and Science in grades 4-5-6. In the school year 1963-64^ Mr. Paul Pace became principal of Perkins. A Polio Clinic was held at the school for the city in March and again in May of 1964. Through the efforts of the P.T.A. Safety committee and Mr. Pace, a pedestrian cross-light was installed at 44th and Hickman. In the fall of 1963 a before and after school gymnastic program was initiated at Perkins and was well received by the patrons. A Swedish Gym was also installed on the 6th grade playground. In 1968 Perkins was one of a number of high achieving schools selected to be receiving schools for the "Equal Educational Opportunity" program (later to be called the "Voluntary Transfer Program"). In 1974-75, Perkins received 10 black students and sent 4 white students to Edmonds. School. In 1968, Perkins became involved in the Follow Through Program. Two classes were formed of kindergarten and 1st grade children. Half of each class was composed of disadvantaged children from Moulton and the other half was made up of volunteers from Perkins. The program was successful but lack of space prevented it from expanding and it was discontinued after 3 years. In 1971, a library and media center was established in the annex. By 1975 the library contained slightly less than 10,000 books, plus a wide variety of A.V. materials and equipment. In 1971, Perkins became part of a pilot program in Career Education where self-concepts are developed related to "Who Am I"? and an awareness of careers available is also developed. These are not separate programs but are integrated into the existing curriculum. In 1973, Perkins became involved in the "Learning Disability" program and by 1975 an "L.D." resource teacher was in the building one-half day every day. In the Fall of 1974, Martha Campney, a second grade student, was struck and injured fatally in the crosswalk at Beaver and Franklin. As a result, the city was persuaded to hire an adult crossing guard for the corner. Fellow students donated $230.00 to a memorial fund for Martha and books were purchased and placed in the library. On March 4, 1975, the Board of Education awarded a bid for a cafetorium to be added at Perkins. Construction began in May of 1975 and completion will be in late July, 1975. The library and media center will be moved to the old gym and the annex torn down. In the Spring of 1975, Community Education was initiated at Perkins. Classes such as self-defense, gymnastics, painting and drawing, puppetry, weaving, etc. were offered. Our combined enrollment was 150. Perkins has a modified eight-unit program for grades 4-6 with special teachers in art, music and physical education. The present enrollment is roughly 500. In 1975 we are using Career Education as a vehicle to implement the study of Mult-Ethnic groups, the Bicentennial and Equal Rights for Women. The foregoing pages are but a brief resume of the many events of Perkins School from its beginning. Principals who have adminstered Perkins School are: 1918 - 1923 W. Lee Jordan 1923 - 1930 Mr. H. D. Eickelburg 1930 - 1943 Georgia Quigley 1943 - 1960 Erma Anderson 1960 - 1963 Kathryn Christian 1963 - Paul Pace PHILLIPS SCHOOL 1701 Lay Street Grades K-6 Dates of construction- Site—6.7 acres -1914 Two-fifths 1916 One-fifth 1925 Three-tenths 1951 One-tenth 1975 New gymnasium. There is little information available at this writing in regard to the history of Phillips School. Judge William Phillips for whom the building was named was a lawyer, business man and prohibitionist, member of the D,es Moines Coal Co., organized in 1865, original stockholder of Hotel Savery 1886, and vice president at prohibition meeting 1887 at Foster's Opera House. Phillips school in the mid-1970s is suffering some declining enrollment. They still maintain 19 teachers and an associate. They have the six-unit program for grades 5 and 6 with the special teachers of music, art, and physical education.