Tuesday, March 29, 2011

SPHS Teaching Machine Won’t Replace Teacher!

Santa Paula Daily Chronicle
Friday, September 7, 1962

Way back in 1962, nearly 50 years ago, Santa Paula High School tested the Didak 501, a “Teaching Machine”. Today, that conjures an image of some sort of computer, but it appears that the Didak 501 used paper tapes and students wrote their answers on a sheet of papers. It also appears that answers were somehow transferred to a punch sheet by the student. Although there is some information on the device to be found on the Internet, it’s not really clear how it is better than a book and a multiple choice quiz (although the Didak 501 includes a “clue” feature).

Unfortunately the reproduction of the photograph that accompanied the Santa Paula Daily Chronicle story was too dark and grainy to see anything. The photo accompanying this post is from the October 1961 issue of Popular Mechanics and gives an idea of what the device looked like.

“Didak 501” will never replace the classroom teacher according to SPUHS instructor Joe Richards.

Purchased by the school district as an experimental project in the area of programmed instruction, the teaching machine has been set up in Ricards room in the science department.

In actuality, Ricard’s feels the machine requires a greater effort on the part of the teacher. No books or science courses have as yet been developed commercially to fit the machine, so Ricards has written his own material, using it in conjunction with both commercial slides and some the science department has taken. They are projected from a carousel-type slideholder.

The questions are geared to a 95 per cent correctness in score. They are presented in logical sequence in order to produce a step-by-step-mastery of a learning goal. If the student is in doubt as to the answer, a clue can be unmasked and the student’s answer is only half right.

No Attention Lapse

Among the advantages are the minimum in lapses of attention; in order to proceed through the program the student must respond actively. Each student can move at his own individual rate; the slow learner is not penalized. It is a convenient way to bring a student who has been absent up to date.

Richards particularly approves of the fact that this machine will allow students to venture into areas where they wouldn’t have an opportunity by staying with the total class section. And the machine is termed “cheatproof.”
It is not considered a great revolution, but an extra teaching device – another way of caring for individual differences.

Earth Science in Curriculum

Another high school innovation this year is in curriculum: a new course in earth science, to be taught by Richard Bryson. This class will utilize the natural environments of the area as a setting for teaching the topography and geology of this region as well as the general facts of earth science.

The students will study the stars in the solar system and the forces that shape the earth’s surface. During the recent summer session this class was introduced and was deemed successful in terms of enrollment.

The students did plane surveying and made topographical maps of the area surrounding the new Santa Paula Memorial Hospital.

(Original Story by Clara White)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Santa Paula High School Open House

Physical History of Santa Paula High School
February 4, 1995

Below is a brief timeline of the history of Santa Paula High School that was originally published in the Santa Paula High School Open House handout on February 1995. To the best of my knowledge, this open house was held to commemorate the opening of the new three story “400” building.

Historical information was gleaned from documents compiled by Bob Raitt, SPHS teacher 1949 - 1983, and by Bess Richardson, SPHS teacher 1920 - 1951.

These were the years of Santa Paula’s first school beyond the elementary grades. The cornerstone was actually laid on April 24, 1889. The school at that time, a private school, was called the Santa Paula Academy. It was built on the site of this plant with money contributed by Wallace L. Hardison, C.H. McKevett, J.M. Sharp, N.W. Blanchard. The curriculum included Latin, Greek and Roman history, medieval and modern history, English, algebra, trigonometry, chemistry and physics.

The state Legislature provided for incorporation of Union High School districts, and the academy was turned over to the state to become a public high school.

The ground between 6th and 7th streets was bought. At that time, there were 100 students enrolled at Santa Paula High School.

Ground purchased in 1905 was exchanged for the present Santa Paula street frontage between 5th and 6th streets.

The plot was bought which houses the gym. The student body numbered 125 and the faculty 6.

A three story concrete school was built with a concrete shop in the rear for “Manual Training.” The new school had electric clocks in every classroom. The original frame building was moved to Briggs school.

A new study hall unit was added to the east side of the building, parallel to the auditorium unit in the middle. Original intentions were to add a third unit on the west side of the auditorium; but by the time such space was needed, the building and equipment were thought too outmoded to do so. The SP on South Mountain was built by the Freshman Class.

The present football field was opened on newly acquired ground between Santa Paula Street and the Blanchard estate.

The alumni dedicated the football field as Jones Field in 1929. The library was established in the study hall. The student body numbered about 250 and the faculty 20.

Enforced attendance led to expanded housing needs. Required physical education resulted in building the gym. During this time, the land was acquired on which the industrial building now stands. The area was first used for tennis courts.

District trustees, reacting to the 1933 Long Beach earthquake damage, heeded State Division of Architecture engineers’ warning about local school building safety, and urged district voters to vote money for a new school plant. Said the trustees, “The main building and additions are not considered safe for occupancy during an earthquake.” Voters overwhelmingly approved monies for a new school plant.

As the new campus plant was being constructed, seven classrooms of students were temporarily put in the gymnasium, and the “homemaker” courses were taught under the Jones Field bleachers.

The new campus plant was completed in the spring of 1939. The architecture was a modified Spanish style. The first program in the new auditorium was a school assembly on Thursday, March 9, 1939. The public was welcomed to the campus the next evening. More than 700 Santa Paulans attended the new campus dedication program held in the auditorium.

Property was acquired on Palm Court. This included the site of the pool, a passage way to Jones Field, and the homemaking cottage.

The swimming pool and industrial arts building were built.

The property was acquired on the northwest corner of 5th and Santa Paula Streets, joining the gymnasium area.

A major campus expansion program commenced in January after voters approved a $980,000 bond issue. Stuart Courtice and fellow trustees and Superintendent Max Forney led the way for a building program that would provide for an agriculture building, a second gymnasium, a new football stadium, and administration and cafeteria buildings. The student body now totaled 845.

Remodeling was complete on previous structures: the girls’ gym, agriculture building, Jones Field, boys’ gym, cafeteria, administration offices, and health office, as well as renovation and lighting in science rooms, homemaking rooms, and other classrooms. The enrollment at SPHS consisted of 1,063 students with 45 teachers on staff.

A $5,000,000 School Bond Issue for construction was passed by approximately 85% of the citizens of the Santa Paula Union High School District.

1991 – 1992
Modernization I Project. Using 2.7 million dollars of State Construction Funding, the girls’ gym and a majority of the classrooms in the Center and Upper Courts were renovated. An elevator and other improvements for handicapped access, new classroom furniture, computers, and other technological improvements were also part of this project. Approximately $600,000 of bond money was used to match state funds to replace the water system, the fire alarm system, and to install conduit connecting all rooms and buildings for future technology.

A 15 classroom Humanities building was completed at a cost of 2.1 million dollars using funds from the $5,000,000 bond issue.

1994 – 1995
Modernization II Project. This project consisted of improvements in the cafeteria, converting the former Board room into a food preparation area and snack bar serving lines, constructing a covered eating area outside the cafeteria, converting the staff lounge into a student store, and constructing a band room in the old snack bar area under the cafeteria. The total cost of the project was $700,000. Five hundred twenty-five thousand dollars ($525,000) of bond funds were utilized as matching funds with state funds.

During the Spring, construction on an eight (8) classroom math/agriculture facility is scheduled to begin. The warehouse along Virginia Terrace will be torn down to make room for the new building on the Upper Courts. Completion is scheduled for Spring, 1996.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Santa Paula High School Gets New Look

Los Angeles Times
January 5, 1995

The following is a story from the January 5, 1995 Issue of the Los Angeles Times describing the school’s last expansion. During this period the “400” and Agriculture buildings were constructed and improvements were made to existing classrooms. This article is especially interesting as Santa Paula High School is again planning to build a new (presumably named) two story “500” building and improve the football field with new bond money.

Santa Paula Union High School officials turned $5 million of borrowed money into nearly $8 million cash and now have a new band room, cafeteria, student store and 15-room humanities building to show for it.

“The humanities building is the absolute gem,” Principal Sandra Barbier said as students Wednesday settled into the new building for the first time.

But the bond money cannot bail out the school’s swimming pool, which will close in May without more cash to operate.

Santa Paula residents five years ago overwhelmingly passed a $5-million bond measure earmarked for campus improvements at Santa Paula Union High School, which many see as a strong, common bond in this low-income, mostly rural community of 26,000.

School officials in turn used that money to tap another $3 million in matching grants from the state, district Supt. Robert Fisher said. The money has enabled officials to make badly needed repairs and move students out of portable classrooms that the stately but decaying campus has used for years.

The $8-million, five-year construction project has been the sole source of good financial news for school officials, who have laid off seven employees this school year and are struggling to keep open the swimming pool on the 1,200-student campus.

Fisher said $30,000 per year is needed to operate the pool. And unless an outside funding source is found by May, school officials will pour sand into Santa Paula’s only public swimming pool.

The $8 million was also used to remove asbestos, repair inadequate lighting and plumbing and fix drooping ceilings and cracked walls. Officials hope to raze a warehouse and erect a new agriculture building by the summer of 1996.

But the centerpiece of the renovations is the three-story humanities building erected atop a parking lot and connected to the administration building by a covered footbridge. The building will house English, foreign language and social science classes, as well as the school yearbook office.

“I just feel it is too good of a school to let it go to pot,” said 1971 graduate Scott Rushing, 41, who helped organize the bond campaign. “Our roots run deep in Santa Paula.”

Indeed they do.

Several Santa Paula government officials, including 70-year-old Mayor Alfonso C. Urias and four of the five school board members, attended Santa Paula High School.

“A lot of people in Santa Paula went through the school system here,” school trustee Bb Gonzalez said. “There are a lot of fond memories at the high school.”

Gonzalez graduated in 1968 and now serves as a commander in the Santa Paula Police Department.

In 1939, most of the current school buildings were built for $329,000 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. The school has tiled roofs, arched hallways and red brick hallways. Its 350 seat auditorium with balcony is decorated with murals but – like the rest of the campus – still needs repair.

The two gymnasiums need nearly $1 million in renovations as algae forms in the swimming pool, which officials cannot afford to maintain.

But the high school – in one form or another – has stood at its North 6th Street site since 1891. Four plaques honoring alumni killed in four wars grace the school’s hallways. The Ventura County Historical Society has designated the school a historical landmark.

“There is a real sense of respect for this school that you won’t find at others,” Barbier said. “The students treat it with a little more reverence.”

While peeling paint is still visible in the hallways and some cracks still line walls, the hilly campus is mostly free of graffiti and vandalism typically found at high schools.

The students, however, are typical in one regard:

“It’s still school,” Sean Lyons, 14, said when asked about the new buildings, where he attends world geography class. “It’s still geography.”

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sidewinder Added to School Menagerie by Science Club

Santa Paula Daily Chronicle
Wednesday, May 23, 1956

Seems that safety regulations were a bit more lax in the 1950s!  The following story details the SPHS Science club's annual weekend field trip.  One of the activities appears to be gathering up samples of the local wildlife, including squirrels, lizards, a toad and even a sidewinder!  These critters were added to the school's collection of live animals, presumably in the Science classes.

Members of the Science Club of Santa Paula High School went on their annual nature study outing last weekend. They spent Friday night at Blue Point, 10 miles north of Santa Felicia dam. Saturday they went on to Big Pines and Red Rock Canyon. They made camp in this area Saturday night. They were back in Santa Paula by noon Sunday.

The purpose of the annual trek is to study as much of plant and animal life in its natural habitat as possible and to gather specimens of wild life typical of the area. Among those captured were a sidewinder rattlesnake (the first seen on the desert since 1949), a Southwest toad, antelope ground squirrel, gridiron tailed lizard and several other types of lizards. All of these specimens will become inmates of their live exhibits.

There is increasing difficulty in finding a wilderness unaffected by the large numbers of people from the metropolitan area. Students who participated were David Barthuli, Byron Edde, Lou Grivetti, Robert Uffen, Kurt Melssner, Gilbert Rodrlquez, Lauretta Massey, Mary Mayes, Charla Leavens, Joyce Crawford and Betty Riley. Sponsors of the club, Joe Ricards and Neal Currier, made the trip more profitable by acting as .supervisors. Douglas Lazenby also accompanied the club members.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bryden Gym: 1956

Santa Paula Daily Chronicle
Thursday, May 24, 1956

1956 was a big year for construction at Santa Paula High School.  Construction began on the new Gym (pictured below), which eventually was named the McMahan Gym.  The cafeteria, student store and Educational Services building were also built during this period, although in those days the district was not separate from the school, so the school the board room, business managers office, and the health office as well as the faculty lounge were included in the building.  A new Agriculture building was built at the same time (our current Agriculture building was built in the 1990s).  The Jones' field stadium was also refurbished during this period and was almost renamed the "Lemon Bowl"!

GOING UP! - Santa Paula High School's new gymnasium is taking shape adjacent to the Lemon Bowl off Palm Court, and the sidewalk superintendents are having themselves a field day advising two crane operators how to maneuver these steel arches into place. Each arch Is 115 feet long and 40 feet high In the center. The new gym should be ready for use by the time basketball season rolls around next winter.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The New 1925 Studebaker!

Although it doesn't have much to do with Santa Paula High School, I thought that this Newspaper ad from the Santa Paula Chronicle was interesting. A new six seat coach Studebaker for only $1,595 from A. J. Koch Studebaker on 122 North Mill Street, just down from where the Glen Tavern Inn is located.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spirit Week 1962!

Santa Paula Chronicle
November 8, 1962

Spirit week has been a fixture at Santa Paula High School for quite some time - this article in the Santa Paula Chronicle lists the different activities that went on during the week. Surprisingly, most of them are similar to the current ones, although the Slogan Day seems to have fallen by the wayside.

Oddball Shoes, 'Mad' Hats Take Over SPUHS Campus

By Alex Stalcup

An innovation on an old theme was seen at Santa Paula High School this week in the form of Spirit Week, which will be climaxed tomorrow with traditional homecoming activities.

Each day this week has featured an unusual and amusing theme.

Spirit week received spirited acceptance beginning Monday, when all loyal and true-blue Cardinals wore white shirts to school. This was simply to signify the wearer's spirit and willingness to participate in the other spirit week activities.

Tuesday saw unusual and varied foot garb sported by Cardinal supporters. Unmatching shoes or oddly colored or styled shoes were the rage. And "in the spirit" of the affair, many Cardinals found themselves limping home.

Manners Test

The student body had a test in manners Wednesday, at least in the hat-doffing category. The mad-hatter had a field day that day, previously declared "Hat Day."

"Plaster the Pioneers," "Slug Simi," Punch the Pioneers" and "Peg the Pioneers" were among the slogans seen in great profusion today, declared "Slogan Day." They were on signs, placards, posters, streamers and lapel buttons all over campus.

The climax to Spirit Week comes tomorrow, "Color Day," when the Cardinal campus breaks out in red and white, the school colors/. Evidence of Color Day will be especially visible at the rally tomorrow afternoon when the crowded stands appear as a jumbled mass of riotous color.