MONTCLAIR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL HISTORY
In the late 1960's 9.05 acres of what had previously been the Gertsch dairy farm was sold by Mr. Bauman for a new elementray school.
The new 12-classroom school was opened in 1970 using an "open space" concept. Philip McGriff was the first principal. During the school's grand opening the furnace wouldn't work. It was a cool September. On the first day school students and staff wore coats. It was discovered that the problem was more serious than originally thought and students got an extra week of vacation while the furnace was repaired.
To the left of the entrance were the open-sided classrooms that opened onto a multi-use area. To the right of the entrance was the gym/stage, cafeteria,
The wing to the left of the entrance had open-sided classrooms which opened onto multi-use areas.
The wing to the right of the entrance housed the gym and stage, cafeteria and kitchen, and Principal/health/staff/work and custodial rooms. During the first few years, lunch was served family style. Ultimately it was changed to the more typical walk-through cafeteria. Montclair was meant to have a capacity of only 300. After Garden Home School closed in 1982 Montclair reached its capacity and more. Five portables with a common wooden sidewalk were added, one for music and four for classrooms.
Between 1990 and 1992, the school grew. Bi-fold curtains were removed and solid walls were added to help define a larger library. A modular building with four classrooms replaced four of the portables. The modular building acquired the name of The Garden House. With first-grade teacher Marilyn Hubler's creativity, picket fence cutouts, planter boxes, benches and birds provided a welcoming entrance to the building. A covered play area and more parking spaces were also added to the school.
Sixth graders were moved into a dedicated "middle" school in 1994. In 1999 the east end of the building was removed to add a dedicated library. A new additional firewall created an outside extension wall by the front entrance, where Custodian John Price built a pond and rock garden. Head Custodian Mike Boell developed a welcoming courtyard flower garden with an arbor and picket fence on the south side of the entrance lobby.
As of this writing, most classrooms have walls instead of bi-folds, and all have open doorways except three classrooms, which have actual doors. Second and third grade teachers are using team teaching techniques and enjoy the ability to open their classrooms into a larger area. There are now a total of 15 classrooms, a library, music room and gym
Wetlands and Birds
The wetland area of Fanno creek and Bauman Pond provided wildlife observation for students. Principal Morris had a Business/Education Partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers. The entire school took a field trip to Bonneville Dam, and the Audubon Society's Mike Houck held class-to-class education series about the birds in the area. The Parent Organization purchased a scope and camera for the school in the mid 1980's.
In the fall of 1992, Jackson Bottom Wetlands wrote a Governor's Watershed Enhancement Board grant to incorporate and introduce schools to wetland studies. Two classrooms - one 6th grade (Kuykendall) and one 5th grade (Soderskov) - participated on a weekly basis to provide wetland information. In the Spring of 1993 a large Red-tailed Hawk was discovered dead. It had no obvious injuries. It was assumed that its wings had touched the electrical wires. Student collected pop cans to help pay for taxidermy work and a glass case in which to preserve the bird. With additional help from the PTO, the task was accomplished - and Montclair had a new school mascot. Welcome the Montclair Red-tailed Hawks!
In 1994 a Sharp-shin Hawk flew into a school window and died, it too was mounted.
An Artist In Residence project became an activity describing the wetland's residents by picture, and the resulting artwork - named The Busy Pond - hangs in the main hall.
This information was compiled by a former school district employee, Sharon Wilcox; with thanks to Fran Gilleland, Jaci Schlosser, Dave Bauman, Yvonne Brod, Mike Boell, John Price, Tom Morris, Luann Soderstrom, Nancy Leaf, Marilyn Connell, Debbie Rhoads and Jerry Varner's book: School Days – A History of Public Schools In and Around Beaverton. Oregon 1856-2000.