TBB Educational Pathways 1963-1973

The Bridge Between is a compilation of experiences, perceptions and insights those of us who graduated from one of the five Waterloo, IA,  high schools from 1963-1973, and how they affected our adult lives.

The stories which have been shared about growing up and attending school in a city segregated by a river are a microcosm of what was happening in American as the civil rights movement came of age and changes were taking hold.

In order for people who don’t know Waterloo, there are three visual aids which show the elementary and junior high schools which fed into the high schools and their locations in the town. Changes, and which one or ones are used and where are all dependent on three things: 1) my decision about where each would be most effective for the reader; 2) feedback from my editors; 3) your feedback as readers, some of whom lived these stories.

Here are the two major aids. I’d appreciate any and all feedback about their effectiveness in explaining the educational pathways in the school system. There is explanatory information for each in the chapter text. I” provide background information in this blog so you’re familiar with the context as you evaluate and provide feedback.

Educational Pathways SPREADSHEET_05Oct17 PNG

This is the master spreadsheet, which provided the basis for the visual aids, but which probably won’t be used unless it’s in an appendix. With the 1964 consolidation of the Waterloo, East Waterloo Township and Orange Consolidated systems, and then the closing of Orange High and the opening of Central in 1972, the last year of the TBB decade, it’s a little tricky to make sure that the school pathways are correct. The biggest challenge has been nailing dates and pathways down, especially for the Orange schools.

You may have seen some of my questions on the Facebook group, The Bridge Between.

Educational Pathways GRAPHIC_05Oct17 PNG

This is probably the easiest graphic to understand. It provides the reader a context when reading someone’s memories about one of the elementary or junior high schools (in the day) s/he attended.

The book is about high school, but our high school lives were influenced by the elementary and junior high schools we attended. Especially in terms of which ones were 99% black and which were white. Those data are explained elsewhere.

Educational Pathways MAP_05Oct17 PNG

This is the most complicated, but arguably the most important, of the visual aids. And it will be the most difficult to reproduce in the book.

It clearly shows the separation created by the Cedar River and, as the percentage of black student data for the different schools are presented, it will support an understanding of where the perception that you couldn’t have attended East High if you were white. And, yes, that was a perception shared by a number of the people with whom I’ve had the great good fortune to talk.

The key is a challenge. Is it understandable?

I added arrows showing where students at each of the elementary schools went to junior high and where the junior high students went to high school. Too many arrows. I’ve backed down to arrows from the junior high feeder schools to the high schools, but am 99% sure they’ll be taken out as well. Feedback?

District maps for school boundaries during years don’t exist. I’ve been able to create maps from archival data in the state archives in Des Moines, newspaper accounts and some data the Waterloo schools admin office and the library research staff have graciously provided. But I’m not comfortable with their accuracy and there is such a thing as too much information.

The drafts of the first three chapters are done and being read by editors.

Chapter 4 1963-66 The Years of Calm Before the Storm focuses on the first of the three distinct eras from 1963-1973 which came out of the conversations.

Thanks again for your interest. And feedback. Trying to keep from getting the horse too far in front of the cart, I’m resisting projecting a publishing date, but — as most of you know — the launch will be in Waterloo . . . hopefully this year.

Be well. Live life. And have a blessed week.

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2 thoughts on “TBB Educational Pathways 1963-1973”

  1. I love your information on Waterloo and the “The Bridge Between Us”. I attended Emerson and our feeder junior high was West Jr. High. We lived on the Westside on Western Avenue between Second Street and Elmwood, In our neighborhood there was only one black family. The Jones Family were wonderful people and we became good friend. But because they were black and the Peterson kids played with them many of the neighbors forbid their children to play with us. When we were in high school there were no black kids at West High. They did bring a small group of maybe a dozen students to attend our school. I remember one day walking up the stairs with a new student named Becky Hawkins. One of the West High wrestlers was very prejudice. He called Becky a horrible name. She ignored him and we kept walking. He got in her face and repeated the racial slur. Becky pushed him down the steps. As almost all the other students cheered for Becky as she beat that cocky wrestler up. I was amazed at the prejudice towards other people. My parents Russ and Amy Peterson never raised us to hate anyone because of their color. An added note to one of the Jones boys. Kim because a professional football player and played for a team for several years. Many people thought that the Westside residence were affluent families. My family had 11 children and my father was a plumber. My mom was a stay at home mom like most moms back then. We were not affluent but had the things wee needed in life. I love growing up in Waterloo. After I got married in 1973 my husband and I moved to New Orleans, Then we relocated to Plainfield, Illinois which is suburb of Chicago. Years ago our daughter was hired to teach at Jacksonville university, Since she was taking our grandkids so far from us we moved too. We are both retired s moving wasn’t a problem. I still have family and friends in Waterloo. I love to go back to visit Waterloo will always be my home.


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