Iowa Heritage Digital Collections
State Library of Iowa

057_Rice and Samuelson Schools


057_Rice and Samuelson 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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The educational program for Rice elementary school in the mid-1970s continues to be that of a six-unit program for grades 5 and 6. This means that they have special teachers for art, music, and physical education. They also have educable mentally retarded rooms. Rice serves as a voluntary transfer program receiving school with black students bused in from the inner city. They have a resource person for learning disabilities. Career Education will be added to the curriculum on all levels in 1975-1976. Rice P.T.A. established a media center for Rice School in 1967 in memory of Feme Thorne who was principal of the school from 1957-1968. Since that time the P.T.A. has made annual contributions for media for the center. They also provide volunteers, on a twice-weekly basis, to keep the center open and its materials available to students. New P.T.A. Committees reflect the interest of parents in their children and their school and also the changing times: Blue-Star - late 1960's Volunteer - 1973 Ecology - 1974 Great Books - 1974 During the 1974-1975 school year more than fifty volunteers helped individuals and small groups of children at Rice. The P.T.A. has given generously to support and enrich programs at Rice. In 1973 they provided fine stereo equipment for the music program. In 1974 they provided supplemental materials for reading on all levels and in 1975 they provided materials for all grades in the area of mathematics. In 1975 four parent volunteers began a Great Books program for children in grades five and six. In 1974 Rice parents and teachers joined together in a study program: "How to Become a More Affective Adult in the Life of Your Child." In the Fall semester of 1975 the parents will hold a series of meetings with the theme: "How to Help Your Child Learn Better in School." The teachers have organized a study program in mathematics. The Rice Advisory Council has been particularly active in the 1970's. One of their more notable efforts has been to organize and carry out an annual program of summer activities for children in the community. In 1974 sixth graders at Rice under the sponsorship of the Advisory Council interviewed many of the older residents of Beaverdale regarding the history of this area. They recorded their findings which were later used to build a program: "Beaverdale, a Proud Past" with which the children began the school's bicentennial observance. Principals who have served at Rice School are: 1910 - 1921 Anna Hartingan 1942 - 1945 Gerald W. Cron 1921 - 1923 Laura Moulton 1945 - 1957 Frances Meneough 1923 - 1930 Herman Eickelberg 1957 - 1968 N. Feme Thorne 1930-1941 Georgia Quigley 1968 - 1972 Patience Guthrie 1941 - 1942 George W. Hohl 1972- Mildred Kaisand 55 SAMUELSON SCHOOL 43rd and Bel Aire Grades K-6 Dates of construction—-1965 Site—8.8 acres This building was opened in September, 1965. It was named to honor Agnes Samuelson, long time superintendent of schools in Iowa. Samuelson is located in the Debra Heights area which had the unique distinction for several years of being in the City of Des Moines but not in the Des Moines School District. It was a part of the Johnston School District. As of July 1, 1962, Debra Heights was one of four areas that joined the Des Moines Independent Community School District. For the past three years the pupils from this area have been bussed to Rice, Hillis and Cowles Schools. AGNES MATHILDA SAMUELSON was born at Shenandoah, Iowa, April 4, 1887 and died May 12, 1963. Her parents, Sven August Samuel son and Alvina (Johnson) Samuelson, were of Swedish ancestry. Agnes, the eldest daughter in a family of seven children, was determined to be a teacher early in life. From 1923 - 1926, Miss Samuelson served as Extension Professor of Rural Education for Iowa State Teachers College, traveling throughout the state and working tirelessly to improve teaching and to secure up-to date instructional materials. It was during this time that she received her B.A. degree from the University of Iowa in 1925 and three years later was awarded an M.A. degree. When she became State Superintendent of Public Instruction for Iowa in 1927, she was equipped with a wealth of administrative and teaching background for her work with governors, legislators, community citizens, and many agencies. Great educational progress was realized in the years between 1927 and 1938 under her capable leadership. Miss Samuelson was recruited in 1939 by the Iowa State Teachers Association to serve as its executive secretary. She continued in this post until 1945, when she returned to Washington, D. C. as a staff member of the National Education Association until her retirement in 1952. Agnes Samuelson was a distinguished leader and a dedicated educator who devoted a lifetime of service to children.* Customarily, the building holds a yearly Ice Cream Social in September, an Art Exhibit and a Music Festival in April and a Field Day in May. A tenth year birthday anniversary was celebrated in February, 1975 honoring ten original staff members still assigned to Samuelson and ten past P.T.A. presidents who received recognition plaques and scrolls for their service to children, the school and the community.