Northwest Independent School District stands today as a symbol of educational progress and cooperative democratic achievement. Born of a desire to provide the children of five communities with the best educational program possible, it is already a successful laboratory for the future in Texas education. The beautiful streamlined high school being opened formally today is its first major achievement ~ the successful embodiment of a dream in the minds of the leaders of the communities of Roanoke, Rhome, Haslet, Justin, and Fairview.
The dream was the energetic answer of an aroused citizenry, faced with a crisis in their respective schools. Public meetings, held in the first four of these communities on the night of November 18, 1948, approved a consolidation program by overwhelming majorities. On November 22 the boards of education then met at Rhome with the superintendents of the respective high schools, the county superintendents of Wise, Tarrant, and Denton Counties, the boards of Fairview and Newark, and architects representatives. A steering committee composed of the chairmen of the boards and the school superintendents of each district was set up, with Mr. O.A. Peterson as chairman, and Mr. John D. Faught as secretary.
At a Dallas meeting on November 26 Mr. Terrell Trimble of the State Department of Education approved the proposed consolidation program and assured the steering committee of the wholehearted support of the State Department of Education, declaring that the proposal was the sort of program for which the State Department was working throughout Texas.
On the advice of Mr. Trimble and of Mr. George W. Sparks of the Attorney Generals office, as reported by Senator Proffer, counsel was employed at this time to steer the group through the legal complexities of consolation.
BOARDS CHOOSE NEW NAME
"Northwest," the name of the new high school, was chosen on December 1 at a meeting of the boards of education and their superintendents in the Roanoke school lunchroom, where Secretary Faught records a "scrumptious fish dinner" was served by the lunchroom staff and the Roanoke High School girls. "Northwest Center" and "Tri-County" were also suggested, but Mr. Ned Calvert, superintendent of the Haslet system, made such an eloquent plea in behalf of "Northwest" that the motion carried unanimously.
Election plans were worked out at this meeting and on December 8, 1948, at elections held simultaneously in Roanoke, Rhome, Haslet, and Justin, consolidation was voted in almost unanimously. Later, Northwest and Fairview voted to consolidate in a special election held January 22, 1949. First trustees named by the County Commissioners Court of Denton County on May 9, included C.C. Calvert, V.R. Eaton, J.C. Thompson, F.A. Cowart, John D. Faught, Leo Adams, and O.A. Peterson.
In a special election July 9, voters approved a $275,000 bond issue for construction of the districts new high school. Bonds were awarded to the Dallas Union Trust Company of Dallas and Fort Worth and to the First Southwest Company, investment brokers in Dallas. Wilton and Patterson, Fort Worth architects, were given the contract for designing the new building. Its site was to be a 40-acre tract on the Northwest Highway, for which the new school was to be named, near the center of the district. Situated on a hill one mile west of the intersection of State Highway 114 and Farm Road 156, the new school would overlook much of its district and become the embodiment of its new unity, carved from areas in three adjoining counties.
Drilling of a deep well and installation of a 10,000 gallon storage tank on a 50-foot tower insured the school an adequate water supply.
CONSTRUCTION GETS UNDERWAY
On February 22, 1950, O.A. Peterson, president of the district, turned the first spade of dirt in formal ceremonies held appropriately on the birthday of the Father of Our Country.
"This new school is being watched all over the state. This is the true American spirit," Dr. A.W. Blair, assistant dean of the School of Education at North Texas State College, declared in the principal address of the day to an audience of 500.
On the following Monday, N.O. Finch, Dallas contractor, moved equipment on the site, and construction actually began. But Northwest had already begun operation the preceding September under the direction of its first superintendent, J.L. Hughes. Its high school found a temporary home in Justin with Mr. E.G. Lum, Jr. as its first principal. An expanded athletic program provided students and fans with the schools first football team. A school band was created and new courses were organized. Board members and school officials worked long hours to solve transportation, maintenance, equipment, and financial problems. Without the unselfish loyalty and labors of these men, the new school might still never have become a reality.
For difficulties had to be overcome. There were long delaying summer rains, labor problems, and a costly fire that blackened the walls of much of the interior. A new contractor, C.E. Fritch, was employed to complete the structure.
SCHOOL CURRICULUM STREAMLINE
But the finished school is monument to the tireless efforts of the cooperating communities and the men who represented them. Constructed of Haydite, with brick trim and steel sash, its streamlined modernity suggests its progressive curriculum.
Long, low lines harmonize with a rambling semi-T design. This in turn gives maximum exposure to light and ventilation and an opportunity to separate "quiet" and "noisy" sides of the building. Features include a 400-seat auditorium on the left and the 600-seat gymnasium and the cafeteria on the right.
Behind the auditorium in the east wing is the Home-making Department. Here the latest equipment available includes four model kitchens, one electric and three gas equipped units. Each of these is designed to show the best in design for a different income level.
A science room offers a modern darkroom for student photography and annual work. The principals office, a first-aid room to take care of emergency injuries and sickness, modern rest rooms, and a beautiful trophy case are in the center section with the classroom and library areas. The Junior High School and Cafeteria are on the right, opening into the Gymnasium which forms the rear right wing. Here dressing room lockers are available to individual students.
Specially designed sectional doors have been installed to deaden the sounds between the "noisy" and "quiet" building areas. Acoustical board on ceilings, Hydite walls, and floors of inlaid rubber tile also help prevent noise. Heating is by hot water ceiling radiators. Restful pastels of blue, turquoise, green, yellow, rose, and buff are used throughout.
Behind the building proper, frame structures house the shops, classes in agriculture, and the bus garage.
In short, Northwest High School offers its students facilities that shame many larger school system facilities that are easily among the best in the state.
The citizens who have supported the creation of the Northwest Independent School District and the erection of Northwest High can be justly proud of their contribution to their children and to the educational system of Texas.
The Scope of Your School
Junior-Senior High 1
Junior High 6 *
Senior High 10
* The ninth grade will have use of the science laboratory,
home making laboratory, and agriculture and shop buildings.
School Buildings $396,500.00
School Sites 20,175.00
School Furniture 29,600.00
M. A. Degree 1
M. S. Degree 8
B. A. Degree 3
B. S. Degree 19
B.S. Degree 1
Debt Service .50
Salary Costs $103,299.50
Operation and Maintenance
Of school plants 10,400.00
What Do Your Schools Teach?
READING is taught as a subject by direct instruction in grades one to eight of the Northwest Public Schools. Above grade eight the development of reading skills is a major responsibility of English teachers.
SPELLING is taught in grades two to eight. Above grade eight the teaching of spelling is a responsibility of all teachers and especially the teachers of English.
ARITHMETIC is taught in grades two to eight. Above grade eight the student must elect two years of mathematics from general mathematics, Algebra I and II, and Plane Geometry.
HISTORY and GEOGRAPHY make up part of our "social studies". American History is required in grades five and eight. American History is an elective in high school. Texas History is required in grade six, and is an elective in high school. High school students are required to have two units in history. All high school students are required to take civics.
PUPILS ARE REQUIRED to study English in all grades of the Northwest schools. In addition to this requirement there is elective work in speech and journalism.
STUDY OF HEALTH is a major aspect of the Northwest program.
A VARIED PROGRAM OF ELECTIVE SUBJECTS is offered in Northwest Public Schools. The pupil has a choice among more than forty units of work, including industrial arts, home making, agriculture, and commercial subjects.
CITIZENSHIP, THRIFT, SAFETY, FIRE PREVENTION, KINDNESS TO ANIMALS, CONSERVATION, and similar board, general objectives are recognized in the program, and content for achieving them is scattered in all courses and subjects as it applies.