LearnBoost welcomes Percy L Julian School
The Roosevelt Elementary School District sits in the Phoenix, Arizona area. It has 21 schools.
The Roosevelt School District #66 was established in Phoenix Arizona in 1912. The first Roosevelt School District School was located south of the Phoenix City Center on the corner of what is now 7th Street and Southern.
One of the community’s first schools was the Broadway School, a small, one-room brick building; the typical “little red school house.” The other was the Heard Ranch School. The Heard School was the namesake of Dwight B. Heard, an influential resident of the area. Shortly after the District was organized in 1912, it was offered two sites for a new consolidation school by the Bartlett-Heard Estate. The site at what is now Seventh Street and Southern was chosen over a site that became Central and Southern for the building, formally named the Consolidated School.
The area’s rapid growth made it apparent the Consolidated School would have to be expanded beyond its three classrooms, which already were taxed to their limits by the school’s 150 students. Arrangements soon were made to house students in the Neighborhood House across the street, and construction was begun on expanding the original school and two new school buildings. The naming of the District is further indication of how the Roosevelt District was woven into the fabric of the state’s history.
As told by Jas. R. Wilson, the District’s founding principal; he and school board members Mr. Gould and Mr. Larsen were discussing naming the District outside the Neighborhood House after church services on Sunday in late spring 1913. Wilson wrote that even though a third board member, a Mr. Townsend, was not present, the discussion continued... “all four of us were good Republicans at the time, and Teddy Roosevelt was the top man of the times and had just dedicated the Roosevelt Darn, so no one objected to naming the school Roosevelt’.”
There were very few roads in the District’s early days. Southern Avenue did not exist and students reached the school by walking or riding horses or burros along the bank of “San Francisco Ditch” from Central Avenue. Homesteaders of Anglo and Hispanic descent were the District’s original population. Mexican laborers came later to work the farms. The population increased rapidly and a twelve-room addition was built in 1921.
The burgeoning population made it necessary to provide more classrooms. This was done when schools were built on the east and a west end of the District, but this accommodation was minimal and short-lived. When the East End School burned down, the West End School was abandoned and buses were bought to transport all students to Roosevelt School.
The 1930’s saw the District’s cultural diversity broaden as the African-American population grew as workers attracted by the Valley’s growing cotton industry. However, the growing number of African-American students created a logistics problem for District officials who followed the state’s segregation laws that required African-American children to be educated separate from other student Two small facilities were provided for African-American students 1938. Ten years later, Julian Elementary School was built to accommodate the District’s African-American student population.
Although Arizona amended segregation laws in 1951, the Roosevelt School District opted to continue educating African-American students separately. The assimilation of African-American students into classrooms throughout the District did not begin until May 21, 1954, four days aft the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Brown vs. Board of Education.
The original Roosevelt School, located at 6000 S. 7th Street, Phoenix, AZ, was destroyed in a fire on April 5, 1985. The classroom wings we demolished in 1986, and the new administration’ center opened in December 1987 on the old Roosevelt School site. The school bell that hung in the tower of the original school building survived the fire and now sits on bricks salvaged from the 1985 fire in the vestibule of the District Office Building.
The District boundaries are the Salt River the north, South Mountain to the south, 40th Street the east and 35th Avenue on the west. What began a 15-pupil district in the late 1800s grew into a district serving more than 12,000 students and 1,200 employees in 21 schools by 2008. In 2008, Roosevelt is one of the largest employers in south Phoenix.
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- Bernard Black Elementary School
- Brooks Academy
- C O Greenfield School
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