Blog 152 Jeff’s Evolution
Ninety years and counting. When we reached Jefferson’s portals in 1951 or ’52, the thought never occurred to me that just the school was only twenty years old. The school opened its doors in 1932 and graduated its first class that same year, yet to me it had been there forever. The new smell was gone. Now it is ninety years old! Who has thought about that?
Since we graced the halls, two wings and a band building have been added. Land was purchased across Donaldson behind Jefferson Methodist for soccer fields. I drove by yesterday and was amazed to see portable classrooms on the corner of Donaldson and Wilson in what was once a parking lot.
What’s amazing to me: When we were students, we were only twenty plus years removed from the Roaring Twenties and the jazz era. We all knew who or what flappers were, many of us could do the Charleston, and our parents could talk firsthand about prohibition. We were there for the tail end of the big band era and slow dancing in the gym, squeezing our date tightly on the dancefloor. We were on the cusp of the rock and roll era just a few years out. I think we lagged the rest of the country a bit, because when I arrived at college in September of 1954, so many of my fellow freshmen were already into songs like “Long, Tall Sally” or “Good Golly Miss Molly” and Little Richard.
It’s a whole new ballgame! Seeing the new portable classrooms piqued my interest enough to poke around a bit and (attempt to) find out more about the school today. Enrollment now is almost identical to ours. Vague memory is 1625 enrolled in our years there. Today, enrollment is listed at 1664, but the similarity stops right there. The Jefferson website advises that it is part of the International Baccalaureate School Programme.
This isnew concept to me, so checking the website, I lifted the following explanation:
Thomas Jefferson IB World High School has become one of the newest members of an ever-growing global community of 5,027 schools offering the International Baccalaureate in 147 different countries. Jefferson has chosen to join this growing international community as IB has a positive impact on students, schools and their wider communities with learning going well beyond the classroom. Its unique and innovative approach to learning means both students and teachers are genuinely engaged with the programs and benefit from being a part of an unparalleled global network. Students are able to participate in international conferences and educators work with their peers internationally to ensure that the IB remains at the cutting edge of international education.
Delving further into the website, students compete for enrollment slots. Jeff offers a long list of specialized classes that includes: architecture, animation, business management, construction management, criminal justice education, interior design, media (audio visual production), STEM computer science, STEM health science, junior ROTC, and dual language. Wow.
The student enrollment of the 1664 may be a bit low, given the portable classrooms, but what I found online is that when the statistics were posted with that number, the ration of students to teachers is 16 to 1. Quite a change from our day with around 30 to a class. Two other statistics were given: minority enrollment is 98% and the graduation rate is 93%
Before moving on from Jeff, I checked out the school website listing of the dress code. It is long and left me wondering about some of the described items of apparel. Life was so much simpler back when. But even so, I recall very well that one day in Spanish class, Miss Wright decided that one girl’s blouse was a bit too sheer for Miss Wright, who made her find a sweater from somewhere and put it on. Could that attitude explain why Miss Wright was still a Miss and not a Mrs.? I don’t remember who the embarrassed girl was, except she had dark hair.
While on schools, a recent article delved into San Antonio junior school history. The article revealed that in 1923, San Antonio citizens passed a bond issue to build eight junior high schools. That placed San Antonio as one of the very earliest in the country to adopt the junior high or middle school concept. The original eight were to be named after poets. Those names chosen included Page, Longfellow, Lanier, Emerson, and Mark Twain. I intended to save the article for reference here, but the paper went out with the trash, and I do not recall the other names. Personally, I am not sure all were poets, but what do I know? Those schools all still stand but Lanier morphed into a high school before our time. Some have other missions today, but I will try to find out more for next time. See you then.