The history of education in southwestern Davis County all began in 1864 in a small home built of mud and sticks. Inside that small home, early settler Hannah Holbrook began teaching six boys who helped herd the family's livestock.
During the next decade, teaching moved out of settlers' homes and into one-room schoolhouses. School districts popped up in each community as more and more small schools were built. In those early days, most students received only an elementary education. Textbooks and supplies were scarce. Attendance was not mandatory.
Education has evolved since those early days. One such change occurred on July 17, 1911, with the consolidation of multiple community districts into one county district -- the Davis School District. At that time, 13 districts made up the county. Each had its own governing board and its own superintendent.
But with Utah's statehood, there was a push to consolidate school districts and create schools that could serve more students. The objective was to standardize curriculum in order to more consistently educate students and replace the smaller schools with classes separated by grade.
Approximately 2,730 students attended schools in 1911. At the time, the district consisted of 31 neighborhood schools -- four with eight or more rooms, 27 with one to four rooms.
One hundred years later, the district has expanded and now serves one of the largest student populations in the state. Today, nearly 67,000 students are educated in its 86 schools -- 59 elementaries, 16 junior highs, eight high schools and three alternative schools.
"Education has been an integral part of the community since those early days," says Superintendent Dr. W. Bryan Bowles. "As we celebrate the district's formation 100 years ago, we are also celebrating a continuing focus of 'Learning First' as we move into the next century."
Davis School District plans to celebrate 100 years of learning throughout the 2011-12 school year. That celebration includes district-wide activities, community appearances and school-centered events.
"The vision was to create a celebration that could happen all year long, that celebrates not only Davis School District, but the entire community with the idea that everybody here in Davis County is involved -- in one way or another -- with the school district," says Suzanne Cottrell, Centennial Committee chair.
The Davis School District began its 100th anniversary celebration with appearances in community parades. Teachers, administrators and students marched alongside the Centennial Bus as parade-goers waved from the sidewalks.
Upcoming community events include a readathon in February and a relay on May 19. Schools are also planning to celebrate the 100 years in their own ways. From walking 100 miles throughout the year to reading 100 books, students will be invited to participate in the celebration.
The community is invited to get involved by submitting memories of when they attended schools in the district. A form can be filled out on the Centennial Celebration website at www.davis.k12.ut.us/dsd/centennial.
Additionally, the district is looking to honor graduates who have made notable accomplishments in their chosen careers. Biographies of those individuals will be posted on the Centennial Celebration website. A submission form is available there as well.
"We want the community to be part of this," Cottrell says. "I hope they walk away with a view of the importance of education and how it gives back to the community. It is part of our culture and intertwined in the fabric of our lives."
Historical information courtesy of histories written by Les Foy and Glen M. Leonard.
Shauna Lund is the communication specialist for the Davis School District. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 801-402-5633.