MORNINGSIDE SCHOOL By: Marguerite W. Wright
A record of achievement rivaling the honors acquired by other schools with generations of history has made Salem’s four-year-old Morningside School the pride of its teachers, parents and pupils. In its first try in 1957, Morningside School won the Freedoms Foundation’s highest award for a project contributing to a “better understanding of the American way of life, and sent Teacher Margaret Pierce and Student Jeffrey Hogensen to Valley Forge to receive the honors.
Morningside students have won many blue ribbons in the annual Nor three st Science Exposition for outstanding work on science projects. The school was chosen to launch a successful experiment in a new method of teaching reading, using colored slide projections of book pages — a technique later adopted by other Salem schools.
Also adopted by the Salem school systern was a new report card form originated by Morningside is first Principal, Marion Miller, who was later promoted to director of the 13 suburban schools. Walter Beck replaced Mr. Miller as Morningside principal, after a long and successful tenure as principal of Bush School. The scholastic and professional achievements of the school’s f acuity and students have been matched by the activities of the parents. Through the Parent-Teachers Association, fathers and mothers of the young student body have taken an active and enthusiastic interest in school affairs and welfare. Even before the school building was begun, parents of the future pupils organized to ask the school board to provide adequate safety precautions — a move which resulted in petitions that secured construction of footpaths along 12th Street.
Organizational chairman and First president of the PTA was Paul W. Harvey, Jr. , followed by O. K. Nielsen and E. A. Barnford., who served two terms. Ronald Blundel is 1957-58 president-elect. A $1, 000 intercom and loudspeaker system was financed by the PTA , and funds were raised for other major projects including playground equipment, an opaque projector and ceramics kiln. Directories of Morningside parents and teachers, financed by advertisements, and family dinners held annually in the all-purpose room were money-raising projects sponsored by the PTA. Morningside School at 3113 South 12th Street, whose lovely name was originated to identify the building with the area it represented, was officially dedicated on February 24, 1954 with School Superintendent Walter E. Snyder officiating at the ceremonies.
Opening of the school had been delayed until January-because of unusual construction difficulties. Huge basalt boulders, the result of pre-historic volcanic flow, hampered excavation by Contractor Robert D. Morrow. Architect was William I. Williams. The bid for the 24, 000 square foot structure was $268, 972. 00. When the school opened there was 160 pupils and 7 teachers, with the principal sharing his time between Morningside and Salem Heights schools. By January 1956, popular lion in the Morningside area had increased to the extent that the school board was planning a five-room addition to the school. That fall, with a record enrollment of 433, classes were being held in the library, in the cafeteria, on the stage and in the hallways.
Before long the new rooms were completed and the school, with a teaching staff of 16 and 442 pupils in the spring of 1957, was looking forward to more expansion — and added achievements — in the future. Early problems of schools included the need for textbook uniformity, adequate tax support, compulsory attendance laws. The meeting of 1855 in Salem emphasized need for solution to these three problems. Subsequent action of the Oregon Education Association has led to laws covering all three areas and hundred of other school matters as well.