KLAY Community Conversations
Jan. 5, 2018
Topic: CPSD’s 90th anniversary
Interviewees: Kim Prentice and Becky Huber
Kim Prentice is Clover Park School District’s director of community relations and a graduate of Clover Park High School. She has more than 25 years of experience in educational public relations and received her bachelor’s degree from Washington State University.
Becky Huber and her husband John have lived in Lakewood since 1983. Both are active community members and Becky served as the board president of the Lakewood Historical Society for ten years. During her tenure the Society opened the Lakewood History Museum in the historic Lakewood Colonial Center.
Topic: Clover Park School District’s 90th anniversary
- So Clover Park School District is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. Can you tell us a little about that?
Kim—Yes, that’s right. Our district was originally established in 1928 as Union High School District No. 204, which makes 2018 our 90th anniversary.
- Can you share a little bit about Clover Park School District’s history?
Becky—Like Kim said, Clover Park School District got its beginning in February 1928 with the consolidation of five elementary (grades 1 - 8) school districts—Custer, Park Lodge, American Lake South, Lake City and Lakeview.
Junior and high school students from the area went Tacoma schools, which became overcrowded during this time.
Once the new high school district was established, a modest, T-shaped junior high school was commissioned for the cost of $65,000.
The first school bond issue for a new junior high school passed 750--yes to 37--no. Construction began on May 10, 1928.
Clover Park Junior High School opened in September 1928 with an enrollment of 139. In 1937, it became the Senior High School with the first graduation class in 1940.
The name “Clover Park” was adopted unanimously by the school board as Clover Park was the historical name of the vicinity on the earliest plats.
- When did Union High School District No. 204 become Clover Park School District No. 400?
Kim—In 1937, there were more than 1,600 school districts in Washington state, which included Union High School District No. 204.
Then in 1941, the Washington state legislature passed a major law concerning reorganization and consolidation of school districts.
On July 1, 1941, voters approved the consolidation of all the schools of Union High School District No. 204 into a new Clover Park School District No. 400.
Clover Park was the first school district in the state to be reorganized under the law.
- Can you tell us a little about some of the people who really helped to start Clover Park School District?
Kim—Sure, probably the two most important players were Arthur G. Hudtloff and Iva Alice Mann…I call them the dynamic duo because they were two individuals who really worked for consolidation of the first five elementary school districts and the later development of a junior and senior high school.
Their names may be familiar because we have two middle schools named after them. Hudtloff Middle School and Mann Middle School.
Becky—Arthur G. Hudtloff was the first superintendent of Clover Park School District. He served as superintendent from 1928 to 1955 and had five simple rules:
- Recognize the needs of your community;
- Educate the community to the value of sound education;
- Realize that a fine building without good teachers is empty;
- Cooperate to the fullest extent with your state and national governments; and
- Don’t be afraid of hard work.
Iva Alice Mann is considered the mother of Clover Park School District. She was known for her spunk and determination.
In the 1920s, junior and high school students rode the streetcar to Tacoma to attend high school. The streetcar quit in 1926 and was replaced by an inadequate bus line. Soon, school after eighth grade was out of reach for Lakes area students.
Iva Alice and her husband Julius had two daughters. The daughters rode with their father to Lincoln High School, where he taught electronics. Other students weren’t as fortunate.
Iva Alice used a series of tea and cake parties to work with the area’s five elementary school districts staff to convince them to support the High School District.
She was quoted as saying, “Children can’t get out to lobby and administer schools. So, adults have to look after their interests.”
Iva Alice Mann retired from the Clover Park School District in 1948 and passed away in 1983 at the age of 95.
- What are some of the significant changes between when the district first started and now?
Kim—Interestingly enough while some things have changed significantly there are also many things that have stayed the same. In some of the historical files, we found documentation of a community newsletter that the district sent to local residents to keep them updated on what’s happening in the district. The first community newsletter was called Hi Lites and was published in November 1946. We continue to publish a community newsletter. It’s called Inside Schools and it is published six times a year.
Certainly costs have changed…. In 1928, the average cost for educating student was $1.08 per student per day.
In 1944-45, Clover Park School District had 104 employees, 30 of which were non-certificated staff. Teacher salaries ranged from $1,750 to $2,840 with a provision for teachers with master’s degrees.
Now, Clover Park School District has more than 1,600 employees most of which are certificated staff. The salary range for a teacher now is more than $36,000 to nearly $50,000.
Students continue to learn the basics reading, writing and math…but now we also are using computers and lots of technology in classrooms to help students learn.
In 1928, one bus transported students to school. Now we have 138 buses!
Student enrollment in the 1939-40 school year was 584. Our enrollment today is about 12,800 students.
- How is the district celebrating?
We have already started to celebrate…
On social media, we have posted a variety of “throwback Thursday” photos that have highlighted students and staff over the years.
At the city’s tree lighting event and the recent Jingle Bell Rock Run, 90th anniversary tree ornaments were distributed as well.
We will also have a special edition of our district’s community newsletter, Inside Schools in February.
Later this month, we are having a 90th anniversary celebration at Harrison Preparatory School.
- Tell me a little more about the 90th anniversary celebration later this month.
The celebration will be held Tuesday, Jan. 23 and it begins at 6 p.m. at Harrison Prep.
We are very excited to be working with the Lakewood Historical Society, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. We really want the whole community to attend, especially former students and employees, along with our current students, employees and community members.
There will be a short program, which will include a presentation on the district’s early schools…primarily the first five elementary schools. We will also have some displays, a slideshow and, of course, some refreshments! We also want this event to be a time for people to reconnect and celebrate the beginnings of the school district and really the start of Lakewood too!
- That sounds great. Where can people get more information?
We have information on the school district website and they can always call the district’s community relations office. Our number is 253-583-5040.