The End of an Era

Prairie Students working on the newsletter, 1965

On July 1, 1969, Prairie School District #44 was officially dissolved, and Prairie School became one of 65 schools in the new Shawnee Mission Unified School District #512. This new district contained 45,422 students, kindergarten through 12th grade, in September 1969. Dr. Arzell Ball was superintendent of the new district.

Wayne Morris took over as principal for the first year of unification. Foreign language was dropped from the curriculum. With a high student-teacher ratio, volunteer help was of prime concern to the PTA. Mothers assisted in the library media center, in the classrooms and supervision on the playground. The Picture Lady Program, started in 1968-69, continued with volunteers giving illustrated talks in the classrooms about art and artists.

For several years, Prairie students participated in exchange days with African American students attending the Mary Harmon Weeks School in Kansas City. In 1970, Miss Donna Knoell taught a vocational arts pilot program in her 5th grade room. Her curriculum included stitchery, cooking and wood-working.

History took on a new meaning at Prairie as the “Heritage Wall Collection,” framed pictures of Prairie students and the school, was mounted for display as a permanent exhibit in 1970.

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Research conducted by Mrs. Jeanne Tapp, May 1972 (sources cited here).