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History

District History

All old records were microfilmed during the 1960’s. Chartrand School’s records were the oldest found. Class records start in September 1892 for grades one through eight. Student names in the old class records indicate the French heritage of Cahokia with names of Montine, Toussaint, Parrin, Chartrand, Clodeau, Morineau and Montaigne. Records end with the closing of Chartrand in the late 60’s. The school was up for sale during 1977 but did not sell. The building was finally transferred to the Village of Sauget in 1981 for $1.00 and other good and valuable consideration. The building has since been torn down.


Microfilm records at the school district indicate an elementary school named Lincoln School with School District number of 190. It housed students first through eighth grades. First date shows that school started on September 1, 1924, and last records indicate classes were there until 1940. Records did not indicate where the building was located.


Pitzman Elementary School records indicate school classes from 1941 through 1953. The school was closed and was “for sale” several times during the late 70’s and early 80’s. The district then leased it to S.I.U. for several years and for a time Holy Family Parish used it when they were rebuilding. In 1990 the district reopened the school with a program called ELF, a pilot program for pre-school 3- and 4-year olds. The school closed at the end of the 2000-2001 school year and the pre-school program transferred to Jerome School. The building was leased to SIU-E Head Start in 2001 until September 2011.


Jerome Elementary School records indicate that school was in session starting in 1895. During the early 1980’s enrollment dropped and Jerome was closed except for a section used by Special Education. Parts of the school were leased to SIU for Head Start and St. Catherine Laboure leased the gym for their students for several years. District enrollment picked up some during the late 1980’s and the district reopened Jerome in August 1990. In August 2001, Jerome School became Jerome Early Childhood Center for the district, housing early childhood special education, pre-k, kindergarten readiness and kindergarten classes. As of September 2012, the district was restructured to offer kindergarten and early childhood special education classes there. At the end of the 2012-2013 school year, Jerome Early Childhood Center closed its doors as part of an effort to cut $1.5 million from the district’s budget. Those classes will be disbursed throughout the district as part of the restructuring plan for 13-14.


Chenot Elementary School was in session from 1957 until it closed in 1983 because of a drop in enrollment. The school was leased to Concerned Citizens of Centreville for six years. In 1989 the district sold the building to New Macedonia Baptist Church.


Records indicate that Cahokia Elementary School started in 1955 and closed at the end of the 1975-76 school year. The building was offered for sale during 1977 and leased to the Village of Cahokia for several years and was finally sold in 1980 to the Village of
Cahokia for $1.00 and other good and valuable consideration. The Village of Cahokia used the building as a fitness center for a period of time and now houses their Department of Housing in the building.


Centerville Elementary School records start with 1943; the school was closed at the end of the 2011-2012 school year. Helen Huffman Elementary School records indicate an opening in 1960 and is still open. Records at Elizabeth Morris Elementary School start in 1963 and the school is still in session as is Penniman Elementary School whose records start in 1960. Beginning in August 2014, Penniman Elementary School moved from Annunciation Court to 1826 Jerome Lane, the campus previously occupied by Cahokia School of Choice. Lalumier Elementary School opened in 1964 and is still open.


In July 1956, a non-high school district number 202 was dissolved and the two elementary school districts, 182 and 184, were divided between Cahokia School District 187 and East St. Louis District 189 with Cahokia receiving 1/3 of the assessed valuation of District 182 and 1/3 of the pupils. East St. Louis District 189 received 2/3 of the assessed valuation and 2/3 of the pupils plus all three elementary schools, namely LaFayette, Garrison, and JMD Brown.


Wirth Junior High School was housed in a building on the Cahokia High School grounds until 1963 when a building was opened on Mousette Lane for the Wirth Junior High School. Wirth Junior High School became Wirth Middle School in the late 1990’s and is still open. Oliver Parks Middle School (attached to Wirth Middle School) opened in August 2000 and houses the district’s sixth grade students. School names were combined in August 2002, and the complex housed the 6th-7th-8th grades, referred to as Wirth/Parks Middle School. In 2008, this complex returned to its original design, with Oliver Parks 6th Grade Center housing district sixth grade students; and Wirth Middle School instructing district seventh and eighth grade students. District restructuring brought changes for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years with the whole complex divided into a tenth grade Cahokia High School East, Freshman Academy, and Wirth School of Choice for grades K-8. Effective for the 2012-13 school year, the Wirth complex became known as the 7th Grade Academy, 8th Grade Academy, and Oliver Parks (housed grades 4-6). Oliver Parks returned as Oliver Parks 6th Grade Center as part of the district restructuring plan for 13-14 and housed all district sixth graders.


Estelle Sauget Academic Center opened August 2004. This school is geared for students who have been retained at least once or are at least two levels behind on standardized testing scores. Smaller class size, more 1-on-1 teaching, make up the teaching environment more conducive to students with a troubled discipline history and poor academic performance. ESAC is named after Estelle Sauget who taught in the district from 1937 to 1969. The academic center cost $4 million and was paid for by a pledge from the Village of Sauget and a federal school construction grant. Ms. Phyllis Jackson was the first principal. District restructuring for the 2012-2013 school year changed ESAC to the Estelle Sauget Freshman Academy, housing the majority of the district’s 325 ninth grade students. Effective for the 13-14 school year and as part of the restructuring plan, all ninth grade students returned to the main campus at Cahokia High, thus Estelle Sauget Freshman Academy no longer existed. During the 13-14 school year, the Board Building was closed for health/life safety improvements and administrative offices moved to this building until the project was completed in May 2014. Beginning with the 14-15 school year, Cahokia School of Choice was relocated to the building and became Estelle Sauget School of Choice.


Cahokia School of Choice opened August 2008. Property, which included school buildings formerly known as St. Catherine’s Laboure parochial school, was purchased from the Belleville Archdiocese and transformed into a campus for grades kindergarten through twelve. Students were selected for enrollment in this school on a first-come first-served basis. Mr. Gustavo Cotto-Rodriguez has served as principal since the school opened. Effective for the 13-14 school year and as part of the district’s restructuring plan, the high school portion of the Cahokia School of Choice was closed and housed K-8 students. Effective for the 14-15 school year, the Cahokia School of Choice moved from 1826 Jerome Lane to 1700 Jerome Lane and became the Estelle Sauget School of Choice.


***


Cahokia Unit School District #187 started as a Unit District with the building of the Cahokia Commonfields High and Junior High building. Ground breaking started on April 1, 1950, after the school district purchased the Gus Adley estate, consisting of approximately forty-six acres. The building is a two-story, brick structure which is built around an open court. In future years, the building grew bigger and better. Mr. Aaron Brien was the first superintendent and was credited with establishing the new school. Board members were Jackson, Latta, Anglim, Jerome and Phillips. Mr. W. W. Knecht was the first high school principal beginning with the 1951-52 school year and was assisted by three secretaries, Miss Johann Upchurch, Mrs. Vera Sauls, and Mrs. Helen Vogt. Mrs. Vogt stayed with the school district until her retirement in 1973. During the 1950-51 school year, the teaching staff consisted of 46 persons with approximately 1,000 students. The high school opened in September 1951 with 72 teachers and administrators and 1550 students. The district grew in leaps and bounds and in May of 1957, we had 2857 pupils in attendance in our schools and the teaching staff had increased to 129 persons. The 1957-58 school year opened with 3350 student enrollment and by November 1st had increased to 3381. During this period of growth, the district added 19 classrooms, 2 multi-purpose rooms and one cafeteria to our elementary schools besides conducting classes in two of our local churches. Five classrooms were added to the high school and a new 16-classroom elementary building with a multi-purpose room was constructed. (This was probably the Chenot School.)
During the 1958-59 school year, we accepted students from the old 202 non-high school district along with the high school students from that area. Enrollment in the district jumped to over 4000 in 1958-59 and then to an all-time high of 8422 at the beginning of the 1970-71 school year. The 1991-92 school year started off with an enrollment of 4066
– about the same amount that the district enrolled in 1958-59. Twenty-two years later, the Fall Housing Report enrollment reflected 3647 students as of September 2013.


***


SUPERINTENDENTS OF CAHOKIA UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT #187:


1951-52 - 1958-59 Aaron Brien
1959-60 - 1967-68 Robert Catlett
1968-69 - 1970-71 Eugene Rodemich
1971-72 - 1975-76 Noah Neace
1976-77 - 1983-84 Freeman Greer
1984-85 - 1987-88 Robert Williamson
1988-89 - 1994-95 Elmer H. Kirchoff, Ph.D.
1995-96 - 1999-2000 Robert H. Bresnahan, Ph.D.
2000-01 - 2004-05 Jed Deets, Ed.D.
2005-06 - 2009-10 Jana L. Bechtoldt, Ed.D.
2010-11 - 2011-12 Pamela D. Manning, Ph.D.
2012-13 - Arthur S. Ryan

 

 


PRINCIPALS OF CAHOKIA SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL:


1951-52 - 1954-55 W. W. Knecht
1955-56 - 1956-57 Wm. Malinsky
1957-58 - Roland Keene
1958-59 - 1960-61 Toby Hightower
1961-62 - 1962-63 Edward Ruddy
1963-64 - 1967-68 Newton Buchanan
1968-69 - Eugene Holmes
1969-70 - 1971-72 Joe Wilkerson
1972-73 - 1977-78 Leonard Stephens
1978-79 - 1983-84 Earl Lee
1984-85 - 1987-88 David Midkiff
1988-89 - 1998-99 Lawrence Taylor
1999-2000 2002-03 Richard Buxton
2003-04 - Dec 2005 Edward Harris
2006-07 - 2009-10 Pam Manning
2010-11 - Feb. 2012 Terrance Gaddy
Feb. 2012 – June 2012 Michael Rumsey
2012-13 - Kevin Bement

 

 


A current list of Cahokia Unit School District #187 schools are as follows:


Cahokia Board of Education, 1700 Jerome Lane, Cahokia
Cahokia Senior High School, 800 Range Lane, Cahokia
Estelle Sauget School of Choice, 1700 Jerome Lane, Cahokia
7th Grade Academy & 8th Grade Academy (Wirth Complex), 1900 Mousette Lane, Cahokia
Huffman Elementary School, 600 St. Robert Drive, Cahokia
Lalumier Elementary School, 6702 Bond Avenue, Centreville
Maplewood Elementary School, 600 Jerome Lane, Cahokia
E. Morris Elementary School, 1500 Andrews Drive, Cahokia
Oliver Parks 6th Grade Center, 1900 Mousette Lane, Cahokia
Penniman Elementary School, 1826 Jerome Lane, Cahokia

 


Information originally researched by Evelyn Brogan, Secretary to the Superintendent
Revisions by Vanessa Peterson, Secretary to the Superintendent

Please NOTE:

The document to the left does not include information from the 2009-2010 District Restructuring or the 2012-2013 District Restructuring.