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History of the District

Year Event
1838 Wilder Schoolhouse opened on Cedar at Lake Street
Known as West Division District No. 4
1852 Old Stone School opened on Oak at Spruce Street with two rooms
1861 W. W. Wilke was named Superintendent of Schools 1861 - 1867.
1864 The Branch School opened on S. Lake Street near Gale Street.
1865 The first additions to Old Stone School were a south wing and third story.
1868 Frank H. Hall was named Superintendent of Schools 1868 - 1875.
1870 First high school graduating class, containing only five pupils
1875 L. M. Hastings was named Superintendent of Schools 1875 - 1879.
District consisted of eight teachers at Stone School and two at South Branch
655 students were enrolled in the district
1879 J. H. Freeman was named Superintendent of Schools 1879 - 1886.
1884 Stone School is burned
1885 Oak Street School opened with two stories and 11 classrooms
1886 Charles Riley was named Superintendent of Schools 1886 - 1887.
1887 Frank Hall returned as Superintendent of Schools 1887 - 1890.
Due to overcrowding, students went to school part-time
1888 Pennsylvania Avenue School opened as a two room school house at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Illinois Avenue.
1890 A.V. Greenman was named Superintendent of Schools 1890 - 1909
Branch School was destroyed by a fire
1891 South Lake Street School was dedicated
Montgomery School was opened
1892 Fire in the attic of Oak Street School
1894 First 4-year class to graduate from the high school with 11 students
24 teachers in the district
1895 A group called Kindergarten Association was given permission to use one room in the Oak Street School for a kindergarten class.
1901 14 of 32 graduates went on to continue their education
1902 School District became known as West Aurora School District 129
1906 The first stand-alone West Aurora High School building was dedicated at Galena Boulevard and Blackhawk Avenue.
One story, two room grammar school built on Galena, west of the high school
Fire destroyed a chemistry lab at Oak Street School so the children used an empty classroom at the high school until their school was habitable
1907 There were seven teachers at the high school. They taught the following subjects: science, drawing, English, history, math, Latin, and commercial.
Nancy Hill was principal at Oak Street School with 11 rooms
K. Thompson was principal at South Lake School with five rooms
M. Prince was principal at Pennsylvania Avenue School with three rooms
1909 A. V. Greenman died - served 19 years as Superintendent
1472 Students in district with 245 at the high school
Carlton Douglass become Superintendent of Schools 1910 - 1913.
Schools were overcrowded with an average of 50 students in a classroom
1910 West Aurora High School PTA was organized
1912 Eight rooms were added to Pennsylvania Avenue School
1913 Voters approved the establishment of kindergarten classes for 4-6 year olds
The Pennsylvania Avenue School was enlarged, dedicated, and renamed Illinois Street School.
A. S. Kingsford was named Superintendent of Schools 1913 - 1915
1914 1,527 students, 331 of theses were high school students
1915 S. K. McDowell named Superintendent of Schools 1915 - 1920
1916 Galena Street School was renamed A. V. Greenman School - Named for a man that served as superintendent for 19 years and described as being pensive and having a good-natured sense of humor. The district saw growth during his leadership having 18 teachers in the beginning and ending with 35. There were 80 students at the high school at the beginning of his tenure and 260 at the end.
1920 H. T. McKinney was named Superintendent of Schools 1920 - 1923.
1923 Oak Street School renamed Mary A. Todd School - Named for a member of the 2nd graduating class, principal, math teacher, and drawing teacher
1923 James Smith was named Superintendent of Schools 1923 - 1934.
1924 First building trades program in the state of Illinois begins at West High
1926 Farm land was purchased on West Galena Boulevard, following a community fund raising campaign, in order to construct a football field in the middle of the cornfields. That land is now the site of West High School.
1927 Fire destroyed Mary Todd School
1928 After completing an addition to Illinois Avenue School it was renamed Nancy Hill School - named for a woman who taught for 26 years and was the principal at South Lake School and Oak Street School.
South Lake Street School is renamed Abraham Lincoln School - Named for President of the United States
1929 Joseph Hewitt Freeman School is dedicated - Named for a man that served as superintendent from 1879 - 1886. Also was Assistant Superintendent for Public Instruction in Springfield, Superintendent for East Aurora Schools, Superintendent for Public Instruction, Assistant State Superintendent , Superintendent at School for the Blind in Jacksonville
1933 2,735 students in the district
1934 Mary Todd School was rebuilt and opened
Daniel B. Heller was named Superintendent of Schools 1934 - 1935
1935 Carl E. Larson was named Superintendent of Schools 1935 - 1950
1950 Wayne McCleery was named Superintendent of Schools 1950 - 1953
1952 A major ten room addition to Freeman School was approved overwhelmingly (by 85% of the voters) on 9/20/1952. Groundbreaking for the $395,000 bond issue occurred 9/26/1952. Freeman's enrollment stood at 580 and the average class size was 34.
1953 John Wredling was named Superintendent of Schools 1953 - 1954
West High moved to its present location at Commonwealth Avenue and New York Street
The former West High was converted and became West Aurora Junior High
1954 Harold Fearn was named Superintendent of Schools 1954 - 1972.
1957 Wayne McCleery School was built and opens - Named for a man that was Superintendent from 1950 -1953. He undertook and completed the new West High and renovated the former West High to a Junior High School.
1958 Jefferson Middle School opened - Named for President of United States
West Aurora Junior High was renamed Benjamin Franklin Junior High School. Stadium at West Aurora was renovated with concrete stands.
1960 Addition was added at West High on the west end.
Frank Hall Elementary School opened - Named for the man that was superintendent from 1868 to 1875 and again from 1887 to 1890. He also invented the Braille typewriter and saw the first class of West High graduate.
1962 Montgomery becomes part of the district and Montgomery School is renamed Grace M. Nicholson Elementary School - Named after a graduate of West High School.
1964 John P. Schneider Elementary School opened - Named for an earlier settler of Schneider's Mill or Schneider's Crossing. The name of the village was changed to North Aurora later.
Gertrude Scott Smith Elementary School opened - Named after a woman who taught at Oak Street School and became principal of South Lake Street School. She later taught at West High and become the assistant principal in 1927 and the Dean of Girls in 1933.
George Washington Middle School opened
1965 Addition was added at West High that included a field house, expanded cafeteria and, northern classrooms.
1967 Auditorium at West High is completed.
1968 Goodwin Elementary School opened - Named for a woman who taught math for 33 years and retired at the age of 71, the oldest living instructor in Aurora
Randi Ochsenschlager was named Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent of Schools, May 1, 1968
1971 Hope D. Wall School opened for children with special needs - Named for a woman who taught at an eight student school for the mentally retarded. This school is a joint venture with the East Aurora School District.
1972 Dr. Frank Brown named Superintendent of Schools 1972 - 1979.
1977 West High North Campus and Franklin Middle School open at the corner of Sullivan and Edgelawn.
1979 Gary D. Jewel named Superintendent of Schools 1979 - 1993.
1981 West High North Campus and Franklin Middle School close.
1985 Illinois Math and Science Academy opens in the former North Campus.
1993 Dr. Sherry Eagle named Superintendent of Schools 1993 - 2005.
The stadium press box and lighting system at West High was renovated
1998 Gary D. Jewel Middle School opened - Named after a man who was a teacher, principal, Assistant Superintendent, and then Superintendent for 14 years.
Addition at West High added the library, technology center, administrative offices, cafeteria, gym foyer, athletic training facility, weight room and classrooms
2001 Harold G. Fearn Elementary School opened - He was superintendent for 18 years building many buildings and adding additions to several as well. He also developed a strong relationship with the Fox Valley Park District.
2004 Greenman Elementary School reopens in a new building relocating a block north of the former building that was demolished
Addition at West High added a second field house and northwest classrooms
2005 Dr. James Rydland was named Superintendent of Schools 2005 -2014.
Robert L. Herget Middle School opens - Named for a man who served at Lincoln, Jefferson, Franklin, and West High. He became the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum
2006 Transportation Center relocated from the High School to North Aurora.
January 2006 the Aurora University Partnership School moves into the new Institute for Collaboration building.
Vision 129 - A Future for Excellence is developed to address improved student learning. The four areas of focus are: Powerful Teaching/Learning Process, Safe, Secure School Buildings, Financial Responsibility, and Active Community Involvement.
In April taxpayers approve an Operating Rate Increase via referendum.
2007 Mobile classrooms added at Hill, Fearn, and McCleery schools due to overcrowding.
SCAC (Superintendent's Community Advisory Committee) was formed with a parent representative from each building.
New buses and cameras in buses were purchased.
Cameras and keyless entries were added to Greenman and West High
Pathways to Transition (special education 18-21 program) was located at the Vaughn Center
2008 Mobile classrooms added at Jefferson due to overcrowding.
Lincoln School closed
2010 Implementation of Pre-K-12 Writing Curriculum.
State of Illinois budget crisis.
2011 Implementation of all day kindergarten
2012 West Aurora expands dual-credit courses with Waubonsee Community College
2013 West Aurora adds additional dual-credit courses.
District expands options for Gifted and Talented Students
District expands World Languages Offerings to Students
Working with local businesses and educational institutions, District begins developing Information Technology Pathway for students
District expands implementation of collaborative Professional Learning Communities
2014 Dr. Jeff Craig is named Superintendent of Schools from 2014-Present.
  • Special thanks goes to Jean O’Brien, Neal Ormond, and Randi Ochsenschlager and many others who shared their knowledge of the history of the school district.

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