Clinton Community Historic Rural Public Schools Exhibit

We have compiled an interactive map showing the location of the rural schools which have been a part of the Clinton community Where available we have included a historic photo of the building, as well as a short history. Click on the map marker to open. For more information see: A brief history of . . .Education in Wisconsinย 

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CLINTON SCHOOLS HISTORY - by Joan M. Waite - 1976

"It a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it from him." Benjamin Franklin.

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Shortly after the election of officers of the newly formed Town of Clinton in 1842, plans were made for a school. A vote was taken upon the question of raising money for school purposes, and the sum of $100.00 was raised and placed to the credit of the School Commissioners.

The first school was erected on what is now the northwest corner of Allen St. and Milwaukee Road. The school opened in 1843 with an attendance of 20 scholars and with Eliza Baker as teacher. After a few years this was not large enough to accommodate all the scholars and another school was built on the same lot.

Some 20 years later the school site on Mill Street was purchased and a two story building was erected at a cost of $3,500.00. This white frame structure was close to the street and was surrounded by many trees. Back of it stretched open fields. Within a few years another part about the size of the former was added. A stairway up through the center divided the building into four large classrooms, which served as such for some 30 years. By this time high school subjects had begun to be added to the course of study, which gave students two years of preparatory work before entering Beloit Academy, which many of them attended. The first class taking the regular four year course, that of 1882, graduated from this building

A new brick building was erected in 1893 on the same lot where the 1863 building had stood. The new building cost $13,000.00. When it was completed everyone thought the young people were well provided for. However, as time went on, up to date equipment had to be purchased and new courses added. Kindergarten was started in 1900. In 1914 manual training and domestic science were added to the course of study to attract young people of the surrounding communities to the school.

Soon this building too proved inadequate and the Village Hall was used for school purposes during the years 1922 to 1924 while a new and much larger building was constructed near the grade school. Jay Green, a member of the building committee, successfully encouraged the inclusion of a gym in the new high school. The building was completed in 1924 at a cost of about $100,000.00. This new high school was a three-story red brick with white trim. It had wide terrazzo corridors and stairs, and fine oak woodwork. A two story addition was made to this building in 1936-37 which included a home economics department, music department, agriculture room, storage space and rest rooms.

A new 15 room grade school was built on the former site of the school athletic field on East Street at a cost of $225,000.00. Ground was broken for the new building in August of 1954; the cornerstone laid the first week of May, 1955. This fine building was dedicated on Nov. 13, 1955. In addition to the 15 classrooms, it had a large kindergarten room, office, health room, kitchen for serving hot lunches to students, and a large multi-purpose room.

Prior to the building of the new grade school, several rural schools petitioned to consolidate with the village schools. The first schools to petition to join the Clinton School District were: Maple Lawn, Conley, Clinton Corners, Clinton District No. 2, Joint Districts of Clinton, Bradford and LaPrairie, Jefferson Prairie, Hofto, Northrup, Maple Grove and Summerville. Two years later petitions were received from Murray, Zilley, part of Lowell, part of Hart, part of Dougan and Hickory Grove. The petitions were all granted and the Clinton Community School District was formed in 1954.

The first Board of Education for the Clinton Community School District No. 10 was comprised of Robert Potratz, Mrs. Janette Kohls, Richard Knutson, Dr. James Welch, Eldon Hahn, Otto Schoenfeld and Roger Hamilton.

A new senior high school building was started in July, 1957, with the building occupied in the fall of 1958. This building was to house the 10th, 11th and 12th grades, and is located just south of Milwaukee Road on the east edge of the village. This building was erected at a cost of $450,000.00, having 10 classrooms, including science rooms, band room, agriculture and shop room, vocational shop, home economics department and art classroom. There was also a general office, Superintendent's office, principal's office, storage space, teachers' lounge, health room, rest rooms, and a large 90 by 95 gym.

The building on Mill Street which had been the high school was adapted to serve as a junior high school and housed the 7th, 8th, and 9th grades. In 1961 a one story addition was built to the south side of this building at a cost of $150,000.00. In this addition are six classrooms, a new principal's office, library, counseling room, health room, teacher's room, rest rooms and storage space.

The Shopiere school district became a part of the Clinton Community School District on July 1, 1961. Kindergarten was started at Shopiere in the fall of 1961, and 7th and 8th grade students were transported to the junior high school in the Village of Clinton.

The number of students attending Clinton Schools in 1961-62 was: Kindergarten thru 6th grade, 519; Junior High (7th, 8th, and 9th) 107; Senior High, 207; Shopiere (Kindergarten thru 6th) 72. Fifty-two teachers, four principals and one superintendent directed the education of the 1037 students.

The Bradford Consolidated School District was joined to the Clinton Community School District by action of the Rock County School Committee June 14, 1962. A portion of the Kemmerer School District was also joined to the Clinton Community District at that same time.

Increased enrollments led to additions to both the grade school and the high school buildings in 1964.

The year 1967 marked a change in leadership of the Clinton Schools. Edward W. Johnson retired after serving twenty years first as high school principal and then superintendent, and Dallas E. Briggs assumed the superintendency. Mr. Johnson was honored by the community on May 18 at the high school, the excitement of the evening being heightened by a tornado alert.

Highlighting the 1970-71 school year was the Clinton Cougars Basketball team, under the direction of Coach Tom Webster, winning the sectional championship. Starring on that team were Tom Gilbank, Gene Hiemstra, Vernon Johnson, Steve Knueppel, Danny Lee and Larry London.

A relocatable classroom was purchased in 1972 to solve the immediate classroom needs for the Junior High and is housing the German and 8th grade science classrooms. Another addition to the Junior High building was completed in the fall of 1974 at a cost of $310,000.00. This addition included 7th grade science and home economics classrooms on the south end of the existing building, and instrumental music classroom, gym and rest rooms on the north end. The library was enlarged at this time, and a cafeteria for the junior high was established in the former gym.

Changing educational needs and legislation of the 1970's necessitated the building of another addition to the senior high school in 1975. This addition, started in November of 1975, is a separate metal building costing $590,000.00 and is located immediately south of the older building. It will have a gym and locker rooms, vocal and instrumental music classrooms, and vocational education shops and classrooms. The addition will be ready for occupancy in the fall of 1976.

The education program of Clinton Schools has experienced marked changes in the 1970's. Individualized instruction in the elementary grades is well established, especially in the areas of reading and mathematics. Implementing Chapter 89, the Special Education law, has fostered the education within the local school of all children, whatever any physical or mental handicap they may have, thus adding new classes and staff members. Evaluating students as to their special needs is now done routinely. Fulfilling the 13 Standards of Chapter 90, defining certain minimum school requirements, has caused the establishment of new courses including Health Education and General Music adding new teaching positions including Kindergarten-third grade remedial reading; improvement of school facilities including enlarging Instructional Media Centers; and policy development in areas of teacher In-service programs, emergency nursing care, and safe and healthful facilities, among others.

The high school is developing several innovative changes in its program. The light building class of 16 students under the guidance of instructor Roy Windhorst began building a house on Hart Drive in the fall of 1975 which should be ready for sale in the spring of 1977. The vocational education departments are offering students the opportunity to enroll in cooperative education programs, where the instructor and employer develop a learning job experience for the student, with the student being excused from school to participate. Many of the high school courses are now semester courses, enabling the student to select a greater variety of both subjects and teachers. Girls are increasingly participating in interscholastic sports, both by law and their own inclination, the Clinton Cougarettes Basketball team winning second in state competition in March, 1976. The high school library will be expanded into an Instructional Media Center with the added space available when the new building is completed.

School enrollment for 1975-76 includes 601 elementary (kindergarten thru 5th grade), 355 junior high (6th thru 8th grade) and 476 high school students for a total of 1432. There are 90 certified staff members (teachers and administrators) and 65 non-certified staff members (cooks, bus drivers, secretaries, custodians). Twenty-two buses are required to transport the students to school. The district is comprised of the Village of Clinton, Town of Clinton, and portions of the Towns of Bradford, LaPrairie, Turtle and Sharon and is 114 square miles in size.

The total debt of the districtย  as of Nov., 1975, (includes the high school addition) is $1,052,982.00; the equalized value is $89,836,800.00; the levy for 1975-76 is $1,220,000.00 with a mill rate of 13.58.ย 

Serving on the Board of Education are: President Merrill Paynter, Vice-president John Hacklander, Clerk Joan M. Waite, Treasurer Robert Gretschmann; members, Ivan Risseeuw,, Tony Gracyalny and Don Desing. The schools are additionally served by the active Home and School Associations of the elementary buildings, the Club, the Athletic Booster Club, the many community service clubs, and the community at large. Education continues to have a high priority in Clinton in 1976 as it did in 1842.

Town of Turtle Schoolsย  - Turtle Township Guide

Compiled by June Voge and Joyce Splan & Published by the RCGS

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Early town records state that a school was built in Turtleville around 1848 and it is a matter of record that the first town meeting of the Town of Turtle was held at the stone schoolhouse in the Village of Turtle on April 7 1846. There is also public record of a Town meeting held in April 6, 1847 at a schoolhouse in Waterloo.ย 

In 1847 nine school districts were established near well known settler homesteads or groups.ย 

โ€ข No. 1 - CHAMBERLAINโ€™s School, joint with Bradford Twp.ย 

โ€ข No. 2 - Waterloo School, most likely became Shopiere Schoolย 

โ€ข No. 3 - Turtleville School in Section 4 on Lathers Road between E. Creek Road and Turtle Creek. It is not on the 1917 list of schools

โ€ข No. 4 - Name unknown-later named HART School.ย 

โ€ข No. 5 - Joel MINER School on Milwaukee Roadย 

โ€ข No. 6 - E. P. LACY Schoolย 

โ€ข No. 7 - D. D. EGERY School later named ZILLEY Schoolย 

โ€ข No. 8 - Name Unknown in section 1 built in 1867 - later named MURRAY Schoolย 

โ€ข No. 9 - Hiram RAYMOND Schoolย 

A 1917 record lists these schools in the Town of Turtle: NOTE: road names are modern road names:ย 

โ€ข Clinton-Turtle joint district school (Northeast corner of Section 1) built in 1867 by 11 farm families in the town of Turtle. Families who attended school there were HAHN, BRUCE, GILBERT, MILNER, KEMMERER, EDDY, SMITH AND WAITE.ย 

โ€ขShopiere School (in Section 3 on E. Buss Road south of Church Street, in Shopiere). Shopiere School was originally held in a building that housed the Congregational Church in one half of the building. A two room school house was built in 1856. When it burned in 1927 it was replaced by the current brick building which served as the Shopiere School. It was consolidated into the Clinton School District in 1961 and remained a school until it closed in 1982 and all students were bussed into Clinton Elementary School. It is currently (in 2007) a private residence.ย 

โ€ข Name Unknown (in Section 14 on County X just east of Walker Road), most likely was Maple Lawn School which closed in 1954ย 

โ€ขHart School (in Section 17) from 1845-1957. Later a new building was built on MURPHY WOODS Road and it became SCHUSTER School until 1957 when it was discontinued and divided with some students going to Beloit [Turner] and some to Clinton.

โ€ขName Unknown (in Section 20 Hwy 81 west of I-90) Possibly MORGAN School Farm which covered parts of Sections 20,21,28,29.ย 

โ€ขMurray School (Section 25 County P west of Clinton Corners Road) Building still exists as private residence. โ€ข Name Unknown (Section 32 Colley Road-between I-90 and Spring Creek)ย 

โ€ข Name Unknown (Section 34 Stateline Road and County P-SE side of intersection) most likely was Zilley School. The last school building on this site was built in 1869 and closed when it consolidated with Clinton in the 1950โ€™s.

โ€ข Clinton Corners School, a Clinton-Turtle joint district school (Section 7 just northwest of County J on County X)ย 

Most of the above schools consolidated with Clinton in the 1950โ€™s. Shopiere was consolidated with Clinton in 1961ย 

The school districts that exist within the Town of Turtle in 2007 are: Clinton Community School District, School District of Beloit, School District of Beloit Turner and Blackhawk Technical College.ย 

There were many โ€œJoint School Districtsโ€. The implication for genealogists seeking school records of ancestors is that their ancestorโ€™s school records may not be found in the archives of the township in which their ancestors resided, but rather in neighboring townships which, for reasons of distance and economy, opened their schools to families of border farms from adjoining townships.ย 

ย Rock County Public Schools Forward to the

1965 Report of the Superintendent

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April 11, 1861ย 

AN ACT to create the office of County Superintendent of Schools. The People of the State of Wisconsin, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:

SECTION 1. There shall be chosen at the general election held on the Tuesday next succeeding the first Monday in November, of the year 1861, and biennially thereafter, a county superintendent of schools for each county of the state.

June 10, 1964ย 

AN ACT to repeal all statues from 39.05 to 39.20 referring to the County Superintendent of Schools.

One-hundred three years have elapsed since the creation of the county superintendency in Wisconsin and during that time, a great many changes have taken place in the field of educational progress. Two of the greatest changes, however, have occurred within the past three years.

The greatest impact on the Wisconsin school system occurred with the passage of a bill making it mandatory that all school districts become a part of a larger district operating a high school. With the great number of small rural districts in the state, it was natural there would be some opposition to the new law. To comply with the law, county school committees were formed, hearings held and school consolidations affected. With improved roads and transportation, the one or two-room school was no longer needed to fulfill the educational needs of the community. This need was met by providing educational opportunities in large multi-roomed schools, with the best in heating, lighting and new equipment.

The second greatest impact on the educational pattern of Wisconsin schools, came with the passage of a bill abolishing the county superintendency and creating 19 Educational Agencies [CESA]. All of these agencies have now been formed and the Board's of Control are presently organizing, hiring coordinators, establishing procedure, policy and making provision to provide various services requested by the participating schools within each agency. Although the state provides the major expense for the administration of each agency, complete control of the agency is in the hands of the local Board of Control

The 1965 annual report pictures many of the rural and village schools in Rock County. For many, it may recall over-crowded classes, poor heating systems, and inadequate books and equipment.

The small rural school met the educational and community need for many years. Families and communities were never closer, nor were the individual needs of children ignored. There was some unidentified togetherness that has not been captured by the new consolidated schools.

With the passing of the rural schools, county superintendency and their replacement with well-equipped new buildings and a new administrative structure, the people in most Rock County school districts look forward to a different, but bright future.