Calamus Consolidated School

This is an article from the Clinton Avertiser, November 1920

(This is the third of a series of articles on Clinton county's new consolidated schools.)

For the past five or six years there has been a strong sentiment in favor of consolidated schools in Olive township. The point on which there was a difference of opinion was whether the school should be located in Calamus or in the country south of town. Petitions had been circulated twice and this question each time came up and sentiment was so much divided that the question was not put to a vote. In the spring of 1919 those who favored the rural site called a meeting and after discussing the matter it was decided that their proposition of locating the school in the country was wrong. The main objections to a strictly rural onsolidation are expense of private electric and water plants, expense of building special home for superintendent and teachers, dificulty in securing drivers, the general added expense for everything that must be hauled from the railway. The wealth is more scattered and large areas are required to support a school than in districts where considerable wealth is centered in a town. The greatest disadvantage to the strictly rural consolidation is the lack of scholars. The first essential to a good school is scholars to teach. To secure the best results 150 or more pupils should be enrolled. The small town with its quota of children supplies a considerable number of pupils so that the district is not required to take in so large an area that the transportation routes will be too long. Considering these and other questions the people of the township took up the matter and an election was called July 15, 1919 to vote on the question of establishing a consolidated district with Calamus as the center. The election carried with a five to one majority. Only eleven votes were cast against the proposition by the voters residing in the territory outside of the town of Calamus. In less than a week petitions were received by persons from territory outside of the district asking to be taken into the district. As a result, to the twenty-three sections comprising the original district, twelve more have been added by concurrent action of the school boards. Eight of these twelve sections came from Grant township and for from Olive. A splendid spirit of cooperation is manifested by the patrons of the district and all are boosters for their school.

Is Admirably Located.
The new $100,000 school plant now under construction is admirably located in the south part of the town of Calamus, the building being so situated as to have one entrace facing the main street of the town. The porte-cochere will be at the east entrance of the building. The site of five acres is almost square in shape and it is planned to have the grounds laid out by a landscape architect with walks, drives, shrubbery and trees arranged to make the grounds as useful and beautiful as possible for school purposes. Adequate space will be provided for play and athletic grounds, also for experimental agricultural plots. The building will be completed some time during the present year and will be modern in every respect. The building has a capacity of from 250 to 300 pupils with six class rooms having separate cloak and toilet room in each and gymnasium, domestic science room, manual training room teachers' room, principal's office, dining room, laboratory, library, assembly room and two recitation rooms. The library is shut off from the assembly room by a porable partition and is about three feet higher than the assembly room. By this arrangement the library can be used as a stage for entertainments. The recitation rooms are also separated from the assembly room by movable partitions. This plan makes it possible to seat a large audience and have speakers in view of all. Rest rooms and consultation rooms are also provided for on the upper floor. A special feature of the gymnasium is the abundant space for spectators and the showers and locker rooms at either end of the room. The primary room is larger than the other class rooms and is provided with a kitchenette as an extra feature. The school is equipped for visual instruction now coming to be a very popular method of presenting school work. The transportation of the children from the country is provided for by seven one-ton Ford trucks. Patrons of the district are well pleased with this sort of transportation and children prefer riding in the busses to going in a any other way One hundred sixty-one pupils are transported in these busses and no child is on the road more than one hour.

Has Large Enrollment.
The school, which is approved for twelve grades of work, has an entire enrollment of 228 with only seventy-seven pupils from the town of Calamus. The enlistment by grades is: First 28, Second 30, Third 26, Fourth 23, Fifth 16, Sixth 21, Seventh 21, Eighth 24, and High School 49.
The boys and girls had basket ball teams last year, also High school and grade base ball teams. In basket ball the boys won 50 percent of their games and in base ball 100 per cent. A fine showing for the first year of interschool games. A community scrap paper collection, Oct. 4 to 9, netted the school $34.10. The teachers are James I. Baliz, superintendent; Daisy Marston, High school assistant; Louise Harding, home economics; Svanhild Pedersen, Elizabeth Boyd, Grace Christensen, Hilda Copp, Rosa Pousselot, grade, and Ina Cruise, primary. The average training beyond High school of all teachers is one year and five months, their average salary of $1,255 per year. The average number of years of experience for all of the teachers is three and two-tenths years. There is a full equipment throughout the grades with state list of high school laboratory apparatus for physics and agriculture.

From present indications the Calamus district bids fair to become one of the most efficient consolidated schools in Iowa.