About Park Avenue

Park Avenue History

The first school in Park Avenue district was on Ninth and Broad. It was called Belle School, after Samuel Bell, the first teacher. The school was a long brick schoolhouse built in 1868. It was used for the upper grades and a small wooden house was used for kindergarten.

In 1890 the kindergarten building was moved to Ninth and Pleasant View Drive and became the home of Mr. Marsh. The old brick building was used for many years as a boarding house kept by Mr. and Mrs. Cotton. The east part of what was called the South Building had 2 rooms. One room had 60 students and two teachers and the other room had forty students and one teacher.

In 1905 or 1906 the west part was built onto the “old” building.

In 1909 the Des Moines Public School System purchased the building and the farm from the Baag family. The farmhouse stood where the auditorium is and was used for many years for kindergarten and first grade. In 1914 the old section of the “new” building was built.

Four trees were planted in front of the school as tributes to the memory of Harry Chambers, Frank Ore, and George and Lester Hartman, who died serving in France in World War 1. Two of these markers can still be seen in front of the school, although only one tree remains.

In 1919 the school housed grades kindergarten through eighth grade. In 1923 Lincoln High School was built and the seventh and eighth grades were transferred there until 1939.

Construction for the new addition began in 1948. During this time some classes were held in the basement of the Park Avenue Presbyterian Church and at Jefferson School.

The distinctive animal motifs used to decorate the panels at the kindergarten entrance were a result of a project in Miss Spizz’s art class.

In 1968, the School Bond issue included a new addition for Park Avenue which provided ten classrooms, a new media center, and an addition to the cafeteria.

Park Avenue Programs

Park Avenue offers many programs such as Fifth Grade Ambassadors, Drama Club, Reading Recovery, Passport to IB, Fifth Grade Exhibition, Veteran’s Day Assembly, Open House, Meet the Teachers Night, Student-led Conferences, Battle of the Books, Extended Learning Activities, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Band Lessons, String Lessons, Jump Rope for Heart, Pick a Better Snack, Junior Achievement BizTown (4th grade), Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Iowa, Gifted and Talented opportunities, intervention services, piano lessons.

We have an active PTA that supports many activities in our building such as: Holiday Shopping, Family Fun Night, Book Fair, the Fall, Winter, and Spring Parties, Field Trips, Fifth Grade Recognition, Drake Relays, Fun Fitness Day, School Pictures Days.

Park Avenue Building Goals

  • Park Avenue will increase the percent to 70% of our students in grades third through fifth to score proficient or higher on Iowa Assessment (administered in grades third through fifth).