BRIEF HISTORY OF THE
The following information is based largely upon the research done by Edwina Lynn Wilson in 1972 for her paper Growing Pains: The Irving Independent School District in 1948.
The history of the Irving schools is fairly typical of that of most rural Texas Towns. By the time that the city of Irving was incorporated in 1914, the town had about 300 people, a bank, three churches, a railroad line, a gas line and was part of an independent school district. State representative E. C. Lively, who was an Irving resident, sponsored a bill which created the Irving Independent School District in the thirty-first Texas Legislature, 1909. Governor T.M. Campbell signed the bill into law on April 23, 1909 and the District was officially created.
In 1909, when the first fall term began, 125 students enrolled. Most of these students had come to the Irving schools from the one-room community schools of Kit and Lively. The first Irving Independent School District building had two rooms and was erected on property donated by the founders of the town. The building is often referred to as the "white building" because it was constructed of lumber and painted white.
Four years later, the District erected a three-story red brick building near the former site of the Buddies grocery store in downtown Irving (Jefferson and Delaware). The new building was financed by the District's first bond election which totaled $13,000.
The next 20 years marked a dramatic increase in the Irving population and the student body. In 1927, the District became an affiliated school. This distinction meant that it had demonstrated a certain degree of academic competence to the State Department of Education. On the heels of this accreditation, two buildings were added to the District campus finally allowing upper and primary grades to be housed separately.
In the mid-thirties, probably around 1936, the District constructed its first indoor gymnasium. This building meant as much to the community as it did to the school, as Irving now had a building large enough to house most community functions. During these days when money was scarce, the PTA, the Rotary Club, and the Lions Club are credited with providing extracurricular activities for the students at no cost to the District.
Although the Second World War halted construction in the District, by 1945, the District was able to build a much needed cafeteria and a new athletic field complete with new bleachers.
In the fall of 1941, Irving increased the number of grades offered to 12.
By 1946, the District had more than 1,500 students and 42 teachers and was in need of more buildings. A new Irving High School was constructed in 1949 at the current location of the Bowie Junior High School. By 1953, there were five elementary schools: Central (Britain), Paul Keyes, Schulze, John Haley and Plymouth Park (Lively).
In 1954, some teachers struck over dissatisfaction with administrative changes by the Board of Trustees. The strike lasted from March 1 to August 1, 1955.
Irving was now in a tremendous growth period and the schools had to work hard to provide enough classrooms to meet the demands. In the next 10 years, 10 schools were added: one high school (MacArthur), two junior high schools (Crockett and Travis), and eight elementary schools (Barton, the Gilbert Building, Brown, Farine, Good, Thomas Haley, Johnston and Lee). Also, during this time period, Irving High School moved to its present location.
In 1965, the Irving schools integrated its minority students and white students. This was two years ahead of the mandatory date set by the federal government. While other school districts across the nation experienced turmoil during this transition, the Irving schools had very little difficulty.
A special mark of distinction was awarded to the District in 1978 when it became fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Between 1966 and 1978, the District experienced a new wave of building. In those years Nimitz High School was added, as were Brandenburg, Townley, Elliott and Hanes elementary schools and Lamar, Austin, and Houston junior high schools.
The history of the Irving Independent School District, then, is one of tremendous growth from a small, rural town to a modern suburban city. But throughout its course of development, it remained dedicated to the standards set by the community and to the value of academically sound education.