• School History

    Jessie L. Clark Elementary School was opened February 9, 1953 with 212 children and six teachers. A new school, the pride of the community, was destined to grow for the next few years.

    The school was named for Miss Jessie L. Clark, a pioneer in the Wichita Public School system. From 1887 to 1891, Miss Clark was the only traveling music teacher in the city, and in 1891, she became the first music supervisor for the school system. She held the position until her retirement in 1923. Miss Clark not only built an enviable reputation as a music teacher but was also recognized as a leader in civic music circles. In fact, present day musical Wichita owes much to this dedicated teacher.

    An enrollment of 395 pupils in September 1953 made necessary an increase in the teaching staff to nine. In September 1954, there was a faculty of 14 with a steadily increasing number of pupils. By the end of that year 551 pupils were enrolled.

    Four portable units were added for the 1955-56 term; 17 teachers taught the 615 pupils. The next year relief came when Stearman Elementary School opened, and the pupil enrollment dropped to 553.

    In 1958-59, the decline in enrollment began; 478 pupils answered the September roll call, but only 345 were present in September 1959. In the following years enrollment declined again and the school was eventually paired with Booth Elementary. The two schools shared a principal but had grades K-6 on each campus. In 1990-91, Booth became an Early Childhood Center serving prekindergarten and kindergarten students and each campus had its own principal. Clark became the attendance center for students in grades 1-5 from the Booth attendance area as well as grades K-5 in its neighborhood. With this pairing, the attendance at Clark rose to 315 students in 1991. Following that year there has been a steady decline and it was decided to pair Clark and Stearman at the beginning of 1995-96 and share one principal because of low enrollment in each building. When this decision was made Clark was serving 245 students.

    In the fall of 1967, temporary partitioning was installed in Room 115 to establish private areas for the school psychologist, nurse and speech clinician. A permanent addition consisting of a new media center, a multipurpose room, kitchen, restrooms and an office was completed in 1976-77. The existing library was converted into two classrooms. The boiler was replaced in 1989.

    In April 2000, the voters of the Wichita School District approved a $284.5 million bond issue. The projects began in the fall of 2000 and were completed over the next five years. The plan built 19 multipurpose rooms, upgraded science labs, replaced portable classrooms with permanent construction, improved handicap accessibility to all buildings, rebuilt five existing elementary schools, added a new elementary and middle school, expanded seven other elementary schools and provided nine new libraries as well as the expansion of nine others. Building infrastructure in 82 buildings was also upgraded, including the replacement of antiquated plumbing, updates and expansion of electrical systems, replacement of inefficient or broken windows and doors, upgrades of heating and cooling systems, and asbestos abatement when required.

    Clark received an addition including five classrooms and a new student support area. Agreements were made with Spangenberg Phillips Architecture and Simpson & Associates Construction Co. to complete the project. The remodel and addition cost $1,354,770. The Bond project dedication ceremony was held September 16, 2004.

    In the 2010 Bond Issue, Clark recieved a new Music room, two 5th Grade rooms, a conference room and a new teacher work area. This new addition was built to FEMA standards for disaster shelter.