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Kelly School – Should we take the plunge?

September 14, 2013

The offer for Bobbi and I to become the two teachers at the two room Kelly School presented us with a huge decision. Should we leave our teaching positions in the town of Jackson, Bobbi in the elementary school and me in the middle school, and head out to the tiny K-6 Kelly Elementary in the village of Kelly, Wyoming nestled under the Gros Ventre Mountain Range? Everyday we talked it over. Early on I was in favor of the move. Teaching 125 eighth graders in six classes everyday was not my cup of tea. Having our own little school looked good to me. We would be like one big family. We could have our teachers’ meetings in our car on the way to school each morning. We could schedule our own parent club meetings. We could make decisions without the use of committees. I had fellow teachers cover two of my classes while I paid a visit to Kelly School while it was in session. I arrived at Kelly School and found a boy sitting outside on the doorstep as discipline for bad behavior. I found the teacher at her desk applying make up while the 11 students in her classroom were idling away their time with sundry activities. I saw a school with an upper room with a view of the Tetons and a windowless basement room with a linoleum floor. There were just two toilet seats in two restrooms, on for boys and one for girls. There was no gym, no kitchen, very little storage storage space, and hardly any shelves for books. Outside there was practically no grass and mostly sagebrush and rocks. Play equipment consisted of an old swing set, two monkey bars, and a piece of blacktop measuring about 35 by 50 feet, t was obvious the little school was a bare minimum facility lacking many advantages enjoyed by all the other schools in the county school district. I knew right away it was a place where Bobbi and I could make a difference for the children coming to Kelly School. The little school need all the help it could get and the children and we could make it happen. For Bobbi leaving the town elementary meant leaving her friends, not going out for lunch, having to schedule hair appointments, grocery shopping, and other errands with built in travel time from Kelly 15 miles to town. We talked for many days considering all the plusses and minuses. I was excited when Bobbi one day said she would be willing to take on Kelly School if she could have grades 3-6 in the upper classroom withe the great view, and I take grades K-2 in the basement room. It was a done deal. In September of 1979 we would welcome 29 children to Kelly Elementary School. Next blog – Using the summer of 1979 to start critical improvements so badly needed. The plunge began when school closed in June of 1979.

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