The original white frame county school house in the area, Cook Hill School was located at what is now the northeast corner of Ninth and Oliver. The school had only one teacher and approximately 10 students. In 1924 the county replaced the white frame building with a four-room red brick school house at the northwest corner of Ninth and Oliver. In 1927 the white frame county school was acquired from the county through condemnation and annexation to the city of Wichita. The school was renamed Samuel Adams Elementary School. Joy Steele, later Mrs. J.A. Hendrickson, was the first principal.
Because in 1927 the Cook Hill Rural District had built a replacement just across Oliver Street to the east for the one annexed to Wichita, it became necessary to find a new name for the Wichita school. After considering many names, Samuel Adams was selected by the Board of Education in December 1929. Samuel Adams was an early day statesman from the state of Massachusetts.
The present building at 1002 North Oliver was opened on December 5, 1948 with 500 children in Wichita's first postwar building. The structure incorporated most of the latest improvements in school design and planning. Its 15 rooms, including 13 regular classrooms, one kindergarten, a library and an activity room, were a far cry from the one-teacher school of 1926. By 1949 the enrollment necessitated Adams students to attend in shifts and the old white frame building (affectionately known as the "Little White House") was used as a classroom and a workroom until Carter Elementary was completed. Once again in 1951 the students attended in shifts until the completion of Murdock Elementary school. During that time, portables were moved on the ground.
In 1958 Adams was one of four Wichita elementary schools to receive a grant from the Ford Foundation to participate in an educational TV project. The Foundation paid for the building of a multipurpose room because it was needed to show closed circuit TV to large groups of 60-80 students. The program lasted three years and as a result, Adams had a room for PTA meetings, assemblies, programs and P.E.
The pupil population in the district dropped steadily over the years; however, with the implementation of the integration plan the enrollment was stabilized at approximately 300 pupils.
In 1981 all windows were replaced with thermal pane steel windows. In 1984 the office was remodeled.
At the beginning of the 1988-89 year, sixth grade students were incorporated into the middle school program and boundary lines adjusted, leaving a K-5 enrollment of approximately 225 students.
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.
Adams received upgraded infrastructure, a new addition which included eight classrooms, renovations including a student support classroom, a library and restrooms on the 2nd floor. The total estimated cost was $2,064,000. On November 27, 2000 the Board authorized the district to enter into an agreement with the architectural firm of Jeff Krehbiel & Associates for $177,400 for phase 1B of the bond issue project.
On September 10, 2001 the Board of Education authorized the district to enter into a contract for the amount of $2,749,500 with E.W. Johnson, Inc. to complete the construction project. The Adams' bond project was completed and the dedication ceremony was held May 20, 2003.
In 2014, 2 additional classrooms and a resource room were added to Adams as well as having the main office remodeled and a secured entrance built for student safety. We also received beautiful upgrades to our school grounds with new sidewalks and landscaping.
During the school year of 2009-2010, Adams began the specialization in the area of Economics and Entrepreneurship. We are different from other schools not only in the district, but in the state of Kansas and beyond. There are very few elementary schools in the United States that focus on Economic or Entrepreneurship. Adams Elementary has an Economics teacher who works with all grade levels Pre-Kindergarten through fifth grade. As the economic expert, this teacher collaborates with teachers in developing and implementing lessons that engage students in our 21st Century skills using entrepreneurship and economic concepts. This teacher also incorporates three strands (economics and daily living, career connections, and global communities) while emphasizing state standards and district expectations. Adams Elementary students have the unique opportunity of meeting and working with community members who are entrepreneurs or work in the economics field. Each year our fifth grade students visit the Kansas City Federal Reserve in May.
In 2016, Adams is still located at 9th and Oliver, which is a large residential area in northeast Wichita with access to community resources such as the Wichita Public Library, Wichita State University, parks and recreation centers and the Great Plains Nature Center. This neighborhood school offers pre-kindergarten, all-day kindergarten, a before- and after-school latchkey program, Bigs in Schools through Big Brothers and Sisters, and tutoring partnerships with various neighborhood churches. We have the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program in grades 3 through 5. The building currently has approximately 520 students and there are 22 general classrooms. In addition, Adams has an art room, music room, a beautiful library, and a gymnasium/ cafeteria.
Technology is incorporated throughout the curriculum and we have wireless laptop computers throughout the building available for staff and students. All classrooms have Smart Boards, projectors, classroom computers, and document cameras. The technology-rich program is a focus for the school and the staff.