www.irvingisd.net
Back

History of the
Irving Independent School District

Compiled by Lynn Conner
Former IISD Director of Personnel and Principal

Irving Independent School District Established

Presented by Mr. E.C. Lively on April 23, 1909, both the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate approved House Bill #10 which formed the Irving Independent School District. The votes were: House – 91 yes, 0 no; Senate – 26 yes, 0 no. On the same day, the bill was signed by Governor Thomas Mitchell Campbell. The legislation meant the merger of the Kit and Lively schools to create the Irving Independent School District with approximately 125 students.  Mr. W.M. King served as “Head Teacher” 1909–1912.


Original Site Marker

The original campus site of the Irving ISD was located on the south side of Second Street with Jefferson Street on the west side and Delaware Street on the east side.  The south side of the campus extended to Fourth Street.  The site is now the location of the new Heritage Square Senior Center.  Mr. Lee Britain, son of Henry Britain, donated the land for this site of the original school building.

A wooden frame building served as the first school at this site. In 1913, a three-story, red-brick building – “Old Red” – was erected at a cost of $15,000. The third floor served as an auditorium. At that time the building was the tallest in town.  Because the building was without water, students had to walk across Second Street to the old water tower for a drink of water. The 40 ft. water tower at First and Main had a common dipper for all until a case of meningitis was diagnosed.  After that everyone had to bring his/her own dipper. A few years later, water fountains were installed on the first floor. Restrooms were built on the outside south wall of “Old Red”.

“Old Red” served as the high school until 1929 when a one-story white brick building was erected just west of it. It contained an auditorium that seated about 250 people and a raised stage with curtains. This served for school plays, assemblies, graduations and for various meetings of civic groups. Classrooms were built around three sides of the auditorium. The new structure allowed for the elementary grades to be housed in “Old Red”. Until 1941, the elementary school grades were one through seven and high school grades were eight through 11. There were no middle or junior high school grades as the Texas public schools were only 11 grades. In 1941, Texas added a 12th grade which meant that all children enrolling in the first grade in 1941 would attend school 12 years.


The "Gym Building"

In 1936, a new high school was built on the southwest corner of the campus. It was built in a horseshoe shape with the district’s first indoor gymnasium surrounded by classrooms. At that time, it was one of the finest gymnasiums in Dallas County. The County held boys’ and girls’ basketball tournaments in the gym. It became known as the “Gym Building”. It had a raised stage at the east end of the gym with a boys’ dressing room and showers on the north side and a girls’ dressing room and showers on the south side. Graduation exercises, assemblies, school carnivals, junior and senior high school banquets, school dances, science fairs, other school activities along with various civic and community meetings were held in the gymnasium.

When the gymnasium building opened in 1936, the auditorium building handled the fifth, sixth and seventh grades while “Old Red” housed grades one through four.

In the 1940's a white-brick, four-classroom building was erected on the east side of the campus facing Delaware Street.

In 1949, a new Irving High School was built on Sixth Street with Lucille Street on the west side of the campus. One wing was a converted Army barracks. When the Irving High School was moved to this new location on Sixth Street in 1949 (now the site of Bowie Middle School), it signaled the end of the entire Irving ISD being located at the old downtown site. The gymnasium building became Irving Junior High School while the remaining buildings on the original campus site – “Old Red”, the auditorium building, and the four classroom building – were Irving Elementary School.
 

 

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Irving Elementary School

Located on the original campus site, West Ward Elementary School served all the elementary pupils in the entire Irving ISD until John Haley Elementary School was opened in the fall of 1950. It originally began in 1909 in the old frame building along with the other grades. It moved into “Old Red” in 1929 when the adjacent auditorium building was erected for the high school students. When the new gymnasium building opened in 1936, it became Irving High School and the elementary school occupied “Old Red” and the auditorium building.  The elementary enrollment grew as the population of Irving increased in the 1930’s. In the late 1930’s usually there were three first grades, three second grade classes, three third grade classes, two or three fourth grade classes, two fifth grade classes, two sixth grade classes, and two seventh grade classes. Until the mid 1940’s, elementary schools in Texas consisted of grades one through seven and high schools were grades eight through 11.

In the late 1930’s a formal graduation exercise was held for seventh graders who would enter Irving High School the following fall. The transition from elementary to high school was an important step in a seventh grader’s life.

One wing of West Ward Elementary School (now John Haley) opened in 1950 and the second wing opened in 1951. In 1951, the original elementary school was renamed Central Elementary School. East Ward Elementary School (J.O. Schulze) and North Ward Elementary School (Paul Keyes) opened in 1952.

Early in 1961, the Irving Board of School Trustees sold the original downtown site and the property was to become a shopping center and business development. A three-way move occurred in the summer of 1961 as Irving High School on Sixth Street moved to its new location on O’Connor Road; Bowie Junior High School on Edmondson Street moved into the old Irving High School building; and Central Elementary (now Lee Britain) moved into the former Bowie Junior High School building.

In 1962, the IISD Board of Trustees formally adopted the policy for naming schools: high schools to be named after national figures; junior high schools to be named after Texas heroes; and elementary schools to be named after prominent Irving citizens.

In 1962, the Dr. D.W. Gilbert Special Education building was added to the Lee Britain campus. In the late 1960’s an area school for deaf students was added to the Britain campus.

Lee Britain Elementary School

In 1964, Central Elementary School was named after Mr. Lee Britain, son of Henry W. Britain.  Lee Britain had donated the land for the site of the original campus of the Irving ISD in 1909.

John Haley Elementary School

The first wing of John Haley Elementary School opened in 1950. The second wing opened in 1951. It was initially called West Ward Elementary. After 1962, it was named after Dr. John Haley, a pioneer physician in Irving who also served as Irving’s seventh mayor from 1927-1932. The school is located at 1100 Schulze Drive and MacArthur Boulevard. It had undergone several additions since 1951.

J. Otto Schulze Elementary School

Originally called East Ward Elementary School, the school opened in 1952. Since 1962, it was named after J.O. Schulze, one of the founders of Irving. It is located at 1200 South Irving Heights Drive and Shady Grove Road. A new school building was erected just south of the original building in 1989 on the same campus. The first building is presently used as the Earlie Mae Wheeler Elementary Development Center and also includes a Special Education office.

Paul Keyes Elementary School

Formerly known as North Ward Elementary School, the school opened in 1952. It was later named after Paul Keyes who was a land developer and school board president. Several additions have been made since 1952. The elementary school is located at 1501 North Britain Road and Grauwyler Road.

Otis Brown Elementary School

Opened in 1954 as Southwest Ward School, it was later named after Otis Brown, one of the co-founders of Irving. It is located at 2501 W. Tenth Street, a few blocks west of Story Road. Since 1952, several additions have been made to the elementary school.

M.C. Lively Elementary School

The school opened in 1954 as Plymouth Park Elementary School. It was later named after Mark Callister Lively who was hired in 1890 as the first teacher of a one-room school in a 20ft. by 30ft. building that was located at Britain Road and Union Bower Road. M.C. Lively also served as a justice of the peace in Irving in the early 1900’s.  M.C. Lively Elementary School is located at 1800 Plymouth Drive with Grauwyler Road as its south boundary. The elementary school has had several additions.

Albert Farine Elementary School

Opened in 1956 as Rochelle Elementary School, the school was later named after Albert Farine, a member of a pioneer family who farmed an area near MacArthur Blvd. north of Rochelle Road. It is located at 615 Metker which is between O’Connor Road and MacArthur Blvd. The elementary school has also undergone several additions.

L.B. Barton Elementary School

Named after Lee Bose Barton, the school opened in 1956. Mr. Barton was a landowner and pioneer in the Sowers area. He served as a member of the Irving ISD School Board for 35 years. The elementary school is located at 2931 Conflans Drive between Story and Belt Line Roads. In the late 1960’s, Barton had 1300 pupils enrolled for a few years. Several additions were added to the original building.

T.J. Lee Elementary School

The school located at 1600 Carlisle and Stafford was opened in 1959. It was named after T.J. Lee, a long-time resident of Irving and an American Airlines pilot who served for five years as an Irving I.S.D. School Board Trustee. Mr. Lee operated a small airport in the area where the elementary school is now located.

John R. Good Elementary School

John R. Good Elementary opened in 1960 and is located at 1200 E. Union Bower, approximately halfway between Nursery Road on the west and Irving Heights Drive on the east. It was named after John R. Good, an employee of Dallas Power & Light Company who died at an early age. His wife’s second husband gave the Irving ISD a reduction in price of the land if they would name the school after his wife’s first husband. Mr. Good was a relative of Jacob Good, who settled in the area in the 1870’s. Good Elementary has undergone several additions since 1960.

Union Bower Elementary School / L.G. Smith Elementary School

Union Bower Elementary School opened in 19__ and was renamed L. G. Smith Elementary School in 1963. The facility was closed in 1970 and the students were assigned to John R. Good.

Thomas Haley Elementary School

Located at 3601 Cheyenne and Northgate Drive, the elementary school opened in 1960. The school was named after Thomas Haley, a son of pioneer William Haley who settled in the Sowers area in 1857. Thomas Haley was a farmer in the area and later worked as a Dallas County road supervisor and for a time the Rock Island Railroad. As a boy, Thomas Haley attended Sowers School. He served as president of the Irving ISD Board of Trustees for four years including 1913 when the three-story red brick building, “Old Red”, was built. He later served as a trustee in Estelle. He donated four acres, with Irving ISD purchasing another eight on which the school was built. Three of his daughters taught elementary school in Irving for many years – Mrs. Bess Parker, Mrs. Flora Easter, and Mrs. Vera Anderson. Dr. John Haley, a beloved physician and early mayor of Irving, was a brother of Thomas Haley. 

A.S. Johnston Elementary School

Opened in 1963, the elementary school was named after Mr. A.S. Johnston who was superintendent of the Irving ISD from 1927-1946. During his tenure, the school district grew from 13 teachers and 400 students to 42 teachers and 1,500 students. The depression years – late 1920’s through the early 1930’s – were difficult financial years for the school district. Often times Mr. Johnston had to go out in the district to collect school tax money from residents in order to pay the teachers’ salaries. He was active in community affairs and a most respected educator in Irving. The school is located at 2801 Rutgers just a few blocks south of Rochelle Road.

John J. Brandenburg Elementary School

Opened in 1966, the elementary school is located at 2800 Hillcrest and Rochelle Road. It was named after Mr. John Brandenburg, a well-known civic leader in Irving who worked 46-1/2 years with the Irving State Bank and Trust Company.

Sally B. Elliott Elementary School

Located at 1900 South Story Road and south of West Shady Grove Road, the school was named after Sally B. Elliott who taught elementary school in Irving for 26 years. The school was constructed on land that was purchased from Mrs. Elliott. It has had additions and remodeling since it opened in 1969.

W.T. Hanes Elementary School

Located at 6000 Cheyenne in northwest Irving, the school opened in 1969. It was named after W.T. Hanes who served as IISD superintendent from 1956-1969. Mr. Hanes accepted the position in 1956, a year after the teacher strike in the spring of 1955. The Texas Education Agency had placed the district’s accreditation on probation. Accreditation was restored in 1957 and the school district experienced a phenomenal growth in the mid 1950’s through the 1960’s. During Mr. Hanes tenure the school district built seven new elementary schools, one new junior high school, three new high school buildings, and a new school administration building along with some additions to existing buildings.

John F. Townley Elementary School

The school is located at 1030 Vilbig Road and South MacArthur Blvd. It opened in 1976 and is named after Dr. John F. Townley, who served as IISD superintendent from 1970–1985. In 1977, all IISD schools – elementary, junior high school and senior high school – were accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. During his tenure, central libraries were added to all elementary schools; physical education and art teachers were employed in each elementary school; one elementary school and three junior high schools were built; and several new curriculum programs were added to the secondary schools.

J. O. Davis Elementary School

After extensive additions and remodeling, J.O. Davis School (described later in the Other Schools section) re-opened in 1993 as J.O. Davis Elementary School, serving kindergarten through fifth grade students.

Franklin Monroe Gilbert Elementary School

Named for one of Irving’s beloved physicians and city leaders, Dr. Franklin Monroe Gilbert Elementary School is located at 1501 East Pioneer Drive, opened for the 1996-97 school year.

Townsell Elementary School

Named for former Irving City Council member Jackie Mae Townsell, the school opened for the 2003-04 school year.

Stipes Elementary School

Named for John and Margie Stipes, the school opened for the 2006-07 school year. Mr. Stipes served as a member, secretary, vice president and president of the IISD Board of Trustees during his 15-year tenure. Mrs. Stipes has been very active supporter of Nimitz High School and several other schools in south Irving, Nimitz PTA and IISD Council of PTAs, and Irving Schools Foundation Board of Directors.
 

 

MIDDLE SCHOOLS

Bowie Middle School

Located at 631 Edmondson and Lucille, the Bowie Junior High School opened in 1951 and was named after James Bowie, one of the Texas heroes of the battle at the Alamo. It is the only IISD school building that was built with federal funds. The school originally housed seventh, eighth and ninth grade students. When the new Irving High School, located at 900 North O’Connor Road, opened in 1961, Bowie moved to the vacated Irving High School building at 600 East Sixth Street and Lucille. It was on the same campus area just north of the old Bowie location. It became only seventh and eighth grades in 1961.

On Saturday, December 2, 1972, Bowie suffered a $750,000 fire which destroyed the eighth grade wing. It was caused by arson. On Monday, December 4, the seventh grade students were transported by bus to a completed wing in the new Lamar Junior high School which was under construction. Bowie eighth grade students remained at the old campus wing which was not damaged by the fire. A new addition to Bowie was begun in 1973 and opened in 1974. Bowie changed to house sixth, seventh and eighth grades in 1976.

Crockett Middle School

Named after David Crockett, another Texas hero of the Alamo, the Crockett Junior High School opened in 1956 and is located at 2431 Hancock and Story Road.  Like Bowie Junior High School, Crockett began with grades seven, eight and nine. Since 1956, Crockett had been remodeled and new additions have been built. In 1961 it changed to seventh and eighth grades only. Crockett changed to house sixth, seventh and eighth grades in 1976.

Northeast Junior High School

The new Irving High School building served two years, 1959-1960 and 1960-1961, as Northeast Junior High School which originally was referred to as Crockett Annex. It occupied the center wing of the new school while the remainder of the building was under construction. Located at 900 North O’Connor Road, Northeast Junior High School ceased to exist in the fall of 1961 as Irving High School opened in the completed building.

Travis Middle School

Located at 1600 Finley Road, Travis Junior High School opened in 1965 as a seventh and eighth grade junior high school. It was names after William Barrett Travis, commander of Texas forces at the Alamo. Travis changed to house sixth, seventh and eighth grades in 1976.

Lamar Middle School

Named after Mirabeau B. Lamar, President of the Republic of Texas from December 10, 1838 to December 14, 1841, and the Father of Education in Texas, the Lamar Junior High School opened in 1973 as a seventh and eighth grade junior high school. The school is located at 219 Crandall south of Rock Island Road. Lamar changed to house sixth, seventh and eighth grades in 1976.

Stephen F. Austin Middle School

Stephen F. Austin Junior High School opened in 1976 for sixth, seventh and eighth grades. It was named after Stephen Fuller Austin, the “Father of Texas”. The school is located at 825 East Union Bower and Nursery Road.

Sam Houston Middle School

Sam Houston Junior High School opened in 1976 for sixth, seventh and eighth grades. The school is located at 3033 Country Club Drive at Pleasant Run. The school was named after Sam Houston, General of the Texas Army and victor in the Battle of San Jacinto. He was President of the Republic of Texas 1836-1838 and 1841-1844. He later served as a United States Senator from Texas and was Governor of Texas from 1859-1861.

All IISD junior high schools were changed to middle schools in 19____.

Lorenzo de Zavala Middle School

Opened in 2002, the school, located at 707 West Pioneer Drive was named after Lorenzo de Zavala, a Texas patriot and critic of Santa Anna. He was a member of the Convention of 1836 which met on March 1, 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos. Lorenzo de Zavala was one of the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence drawn up at the Convention. He served as vice president of the Republic of Texas on an interim basis from March 1836 until October 1836 when Sam Houston was inaugurated as President. The school serves as a sixth, seventh and eighth grade middle school.
 

 

HIGH SCHOOLS

Irving High School

With the formation of the Irving ISD by the Texas Legislature on April 23, 1909, the first year enrollment in the fall of 1909 about 125 students from the Kit and Lively schools. Most of these students were in grades one through seven. High school consisted of grades eight, nine, 10 and 11. The first school building was a wooden one located on the original campus site on Second Street with Jefferson Street on the west side and Delaware Street on the east side. The three-story red brick building, affectionately called “Old Red”, was opened in 1913 and served as Irving High School. The first Irving High School graduating class took place in 1914 with four graduates – three boys and one girl.

“Old Red” served as the high school building until 1929 when a one-story white brick building containing an auditorium with a stage was erected and served the high school classes. Graduation ceremonies, assemblies, school plays, and other functions were held in the auditorium. The building was located on the west side of “Old Red”.

In 1936 a new horseshoe shape gymnasium building was erected on the south side of the old campus facing Jefferson Street. It served as Irving High School for 13 years until a new high school was built and opened in 1949. It was located at 600 East Sixth Street and Lucille Street.

The present Irving High School at 900 North O’Connor opened in September 1961 as Irving High School moved from its old location on East Sixth Street to the new building. Since 1961 the school has undergone remodeling and new additions. It served as Irving’s only high school for 54 years until 1963.

Historical information on Irving High School:

  • 1909 – First year to serve high school students

  • 1913 – Moved into “Old Red” building

  • 1914 – First high school graduating class – 3 boys, 1 girl

  • 1914 – First high school baseball team

  • 1918 – No graduating class because of World War I

  • 1922 – First girls’ basketball team

  • 1924 – First football team

  • 1929 – Irving High School received accreditation

  • 1936 – Irving High School Tigers’ Football team won district Class C regional championships and were undefeated

  • 1938 – First high school band organized

  • 1939 – First high school student council

  • 1940 – First high school annual published – “The Lair”

  • 1940 – January 5 – first edition of the high school newspaper, “The Tiger Rag”

  • 1941 – High school National Honor Society organized

  • 1941-1942 – Students beginning in grade 1 will have 12 grades to complete

  • 1943 – First full-time librarian

  • 1949 – November 23, First Homecoming

  • 1959 – Toy Tigers Girls’ Drill Team organized

  • 1974-1975 – Air Force Junior ROTC began at Irving High School

Irving High School colors – Black and Gold

Name for its teams and student body – and mascot – “Tigers”

In 1938-1939 the first high school band was organized by a Mr. Kelton of Dallas. It was not part of the curriculum program for that year. It became an integral part of the high school program in the 1939-1940 school year with Mr. Charles E. Flanagan as band director. There were 18 members in the 1939-1940 band. Mr. Flanagan also taught Chemistry.

Mr. Flanagan joined the U.S. Armed Forces at the end of the 1940-1941 school year. He was replaced by Mr. Gross in 1941-1942. Mr. Gross wrote the words to the Irving High School Alma Mater, “Hail to thee, our Irving High School”. The music was taken from the Cornell University Alma Mater in Ithaca, New York.

MacArthur High School

MacArthur High School, located at 3700 North MacArthur Blvd., was named after General Douglas MacArthur. Opened in 1963, the school began with grades seven, eight and nine in the 1963-1964 school year; grades eight, nine and 10 in 1964-1965; grades nine, 10 and 11 in 1965-1966; and grades nine, 10, 11 and 12 in 1966-1967. Mr. Arthur Casey was the school’s first principal. MacArthur chose red and white as its colors and the Cardinal is the school mascot.

A vocational class print shop was begun in the 1965-1966 school year. An Army Junior ROTC program began in 1973-1974.

Several additions have been made including a second gymnasium since the school opened in 1963.

Nimitz High School

Nimitz High School, located at 100 West Oakdale Road at Senter Road, and was named after Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander of the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet during World War II, and a native of Texas. Opened in 1968, the first principal of Nimitz was Mr. Tom Chandler. The school’s colors are silver and blue and the Viking is the school mascot.

In 1969-1970, the IISD planetarium was built and opened on the Nimitz campus. Mr. Joe Tunks was the first director and teacher for the district’s planetarium curriculum. A Navy Junior ROTC program began at Nimitz for the 1971-1972 school year.

Several additions including a new auditorium have been made to Nimitz since 1968. The Nimitz High School Academic Decathlon Teams have won numerous honors during the past several years.

The Academy of Irving ISD

Located at 4601 North MacArthur Blvd., The Academy of Irving ISD opened for the 2001-2002 school year: Academy students choose from six areas of specialization where they get hands-on instruction and real-world job experience. Using the latest techniques and technologies, students pursue a diploma that represents in-depth learning, broad understanding, and specialized expertise. Through internships, job shadowing partnerships, and an integrated curriculum, many Academy students gain valuable marketable skills before they leave high school.

The six areas of specialization include:

Advance and Applied Technology Studies
This specialization provides students with the knowledge, skills and experiences needed to work new and emerging technologies. Students maintain a “cyber zone” and technology repair service.

Education and Early Childhood Studies
This specialization encourages students to explore the wonders of learning, and receive training in the areas of education and child development.

Entrepreneurship and Tourism Studies
The entrepreneurial spirit is embedded throughout this specialization. Students study industry theory and practices, marketing skills, and the latest trends in travel and hospitality industries. Students also manage an on-site store and conference center.

Legal Studies
This area of study will prepare and encourage students to continue their education in the fields of law, political science, government, legal services and public service. As part of their studies, students are involved in courtroom proceedings and other legal procedures.

Medical and Dental Studies
This specialization prepares students to continue their education toward a career in medicine. The curriculum provides proficiencies in basic medical services so that students can provide medical and dental screenings for community members at the Academy’s health labs.

Visual Arts and Communication Studies
This specialization provides students the opportunity to develop creative skills applied in traditional visual arts and today’s electronic media. Areas of study range from drawing and sculpture to architecture and advertising. Students will demonstrate their work via an on-site art gallery, radio station and a fully-equipped television studio with access to a community cable channel.

The Academy experience is open to every IISD student in grades nine through 12 by application and selection is by lottery. Students can attend the Academy full-time or part-time and all Academy students maintain a relationship with one of the district’s three comprehensive high schools where they can be involved in clubs, athletics and other extracurricular activities.

While Academy students delve into specialized curricula as electives, they still meet all the basic requirements in the core subjects. Students are required to complete courses in mathematics, history, science, literature and the like, but they do so in integrated classrooms where their classmates share their interests and their teachers make the lesson relevant.

Each Academy student is issued a laptop computer for use at home and in the classroom. Students email course work to their teachers and check for assignments on class websites. Classrooms look like business meetings complete with conference table and Power point and like a business, students are responsible for their work, their computers, and their schedules. There are no bells at the Academy.

In 2003-2004, students at Irving High School, MacArthur High School, and Nimitz High School began receiving laptop computers for use at home and in the classroom.

Union Bower Center for Learning

Alternative high school opened in 19___ at 101 East Union Bower. In addition to offering course modules which allow students to work at their own pace, the facility also houses Vocational Education for Handicapped or VEH. This program is designed for non-college-bound high school students who will work in restaurants, grocery stores, janitorial services, etc. A kitchen with modern appliances teaches students actually prepare a lunch one day each week.

Secondary Reassignment Center

Secondary Reassignment Center is located at 3207 W. Pioneer Drive. This school is an alternative school which provides classroom instruction for high school students who have been reassigned there from their regular high school for disciplinary reasons.

Ratteree Career Development Center

Ratteree Career Development Center is located at 2121 S. MacArthur Blvd. This facility houses the Career & Technology classes for vocationally-oriented high school students. Classes taught there include Cosmetology, Auto Mechanics, Auto Paint and Body, TV Repair, Air Conditioning, and Building Trades.
 

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD SCHOOLS

Clifton, Kinkeade & Pierce Early Childhood Schools

IISD early childhood schools opened for the 1999-2000 school year. The three schools are at the following locations:

  • Clifton Early Childhood School, 3950 Pleasant Run Road

  • Kinkeade Early Childhood School, 2333 Cameron Place

  • Pierce Early Childhood School, 901 N. Britain Road

The schools provide and early childhood educational program for four-year-old children who have English-speaking language problems and/or those who are from economically-disadvantaged homes. Depending upon their educational needs, some children attend the early childhood program a full-day while others only attend a half-day program. The building facilities have been designed and equipped for children this age.
 

 

OTHER SCHOOLS

Trinity Farms Schools

From the 1930’s until 1946, the Irving IISD operated two non-Anglo schools in the Trinity Farms area – one for Hispanic students and one for black students. These schools were next to each other in an area east of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River between Irving Blvd. and the Rock Island Railroad tracks. These children’s parents worked on the farms and were provided housing by the owner of the Trinity Farms. The school for black children was taught by Ms. Earlie Mae Wheeler, who had been at the school since 1931. She had 67 students in grades one through seven. She lived on the Trinity Farms and stayed there until 1946, when the farms were sold and the children moved to other areas. She moved to the Bear Creek area and taught at Sowers School Number Two until it was annexed by the Irving I.S.D. in 1955. Ms. Wheeler finished her career teaching in the Special Education Department of the Irving ISD.

The Hispanic school in the Trinity Farms was taught by Evelyn Lawler Gleghorn and she had 32 students in 1941. The school also closed in 1946.

Ledbetter School

Until the 1951-1952 school years, between 15 to 25 black students living in the Ledbetter Gardens area of West Dallas attended Dallas ISD schools with the Irving ISD paying their tuition. This area was in the Irving ISD originally because of the boundaries of the Trinity River where the Elm and West Forks merged. A new channel was dug changing the route of the river going east toward Dallas.

In August 1951, the Irving ISD appealed to the Dallas ISD to annex the area. Dallas refused to annex the area. Irving lost further appeals to the Dallas ISD School Board, to the State Commissioner of Education, and the State Board of Education.

In the meantime, the black elementary students of Ledbetter Gardens were taught at the Ledbetter Baptist Church facility while the black high school students continued to be transferred to Dallas schools with the Irving ISD paying their tuition. The Dallas County School Superintendent, Dr. L.A. Roberts, recommended a co-op arrangement between Irving and the county schools to solve the problem. Irving accepted the proposal and spent the following in preparation for their part of the co-op arrangement: land, $11,500; building costs, $84,736; and lunchroom equipment, $4,012.89.

The Ledbetter School was opened in September, 1955, and was located at 4116 Gentry in West Dallas. It began offering grades one through nine during the 1955-1956 school year which extended to grade 10 for 1956-1957.

Irving continued to pay the Dallas ISD $228 per month for the district’s black high school students to attend the Dallas schools in 1952-1955. In the 1955-1956 school year black high school students in grades 11 and 12 from the Ledbetter were transferred to the Grand Prairie ISD’s high school. This transfer concluded Irving’s ties with the Dallas ISD.

By 1958-1959 Ledbetter was a grade one through 10 school. Ledbetter continued to be a grade one through 10 school during the 1959-1960 and 1960-1961 school years. In 1960-1961 school year, the 11th and 12th grade high school students from Ledbetter area were assigned to J.O. Davis School in Bear Creek. For the 1961-1962 school year Ledbetter became a grade one through nine school with their students in grades 10, 11 and 12 attending J.O. Davis.

In the school years 1962-1963, 1963-1964, and 1964-1965, Ledbetter served students in grades one through eight with grades nine, 10, 11, and 12 attending J.O. Davis. For several years Mr. Marvin Hardeway was the principal at Ledbetter.

Effective September 1, 1966, Ledbetter was closed with the elementary pupils in grades one through six being integrated with Schulze Elementary School. The seventh, eighth, and ninth grade students were assigned to Bowie Junior High School. The 10th, 11th and 12th grade students were assigned to Irving High School.

The Ledbetter property was sold to a private individual in September 1968 and the teachers were assigned to various elementary schools in the Irving I.S.D.

J.O. Davis School

J.O. Davis School, located at 310 Davis Drive and Jackson Street, was part of the Sowers Common School District until 1955-1956 when it was annexed with Sowers to the Irving I.S.D.

1955-1956 –  J.O. Davis offered grades one through seven with grades eight and nine going to Ledbetter and grades 10, 11, and 12 going to Grand Prairie with Irving paying their tuition.

1956-1957 –  As a result of a $38,340 enlargement, J.O. Davis offered grades one through nine; however, students in grades 10, 11, and 12 continued to attend high school in Grand Prairie.

1957-1958 –  J. O. Davis offered grades one through 10 with grades 11 and 12 going to Grand Prairie.

1958-1959 –  J.O. Davis continued to offer grades one through 10 with 13 students in grades 11 and 12 still going to Grand Prairie.

1959-1960 –  J.O. Davis offered grades one through 11 as a result of a $118,536 expansion; however, grade 12 still went to Grand Prairie.

1960-1966 –  J.O. Davis offered grades one through 12. Mr. L.N. Walton was the principal.

1966-1968 –  J.O. Davis offered grades one through six with grades seven through 12 integrated with Irving junior and senior high schools. The faculty at J.O. Davis became integrated.  The J.O. Davis secondary teachers were integrated into the IISD junior and senior high school facilities.

1968-1969 –  J.O. Davis was closed and all elementary grades were integrated in Otis Brown, Barton, Elliott and Hanes elementary schools.

After extensive additions and remodeling, J.O. Davis School re-opened in 1993 as J.O. Davis Elementary School, serving kindergarten through fifth grade students.
 

Back