History of the Baldwin Park Unified School District
In September 1882, construction of the first school house began on the southeast corner of North Maine and Los Angeles Avenues. The school opened in 1884 and contained two rows of double seats, a central aisle leading to the teacher's desk, and a heating stove at the north end of the room. Mr. Frazier was the first school teacher.
According to Los Angeles County records, the Vineland School District was established in April 1888, with the first Board of Trustees taking office on July 1, 1888. In the fall of that year, Miss Jessie Washburn was elected as the school teacher. The first school house building was sold in 1890 for a private residence, and the school moved to another site. The District built the second school in 1890 and hired two teachers, Miss Ellen Lang and Miss Venna O. Finney. The second school house was relegated to the past in 1912, and later became a private Japanese school which stood as a landmark until it caught fire on September 5, 1936 and burned to the ground.
On January 10, 1910, the Vineland community joined the Covina Union High School District and all high school students attended Covina High School. In 1912, the District began construction of a larger school, which was completed in 1922 and named Central School.
In 1914, the community of Vineland changed its name to Baldwin Park, followed by the official name change of Vineland School District to the Baldwin Park School District.
In 1924, the District constructed another school site, which was completed in 1927. Margaret Heath, who had been a teacher in the District since 1906, was appointed as the principal of the new school, and John Hampton Watts was appointed as the District's first superintendent. Upon Mrs. Heath's retirement in 1930, the school was officially named in her honor. A few years later, the first Heath School building was demolished and a new building was erected at the same site in 1954. The school name remained the same.
As the District continued to grow, the third school, Kenmore, was constructed in 1939. During the 1940s, the three schools in the District adequately housed all elementary grade level students of Baldwin Park.
In 1943, after the onset of World War II, the Baldwin Park School District served the community of Baldwin Park, and parts of the City of Irwindale, by providing an Early Childhood Education program for fathers and mothers who entered the war efforts. After World War II, community growth continued into the 1950s and 1960s, which resulted in the construction of new schools to accommodate the increased enrollment.
The original Central School building was sold to the City of Baldwin Park to be used as the City Municipal Building, and a new Central School was built in 1952 at a different location. With the unification of the Baldwin Park Unified School District, all high school students who previously attended Covina High School, transferred to a brand-new school in 1954, Baldwin Park High School. The final school to be built in the District was Olive, which opened in 1968.
Since its early days, Baldwin Park has seen many changes and evolved to accommodate a very diverse and tight knit community. In the early 2000s, with the support and contributions of its residents and community partners, the District initiated plans to update its school facilities to include a 21st Century modernization, as represented in a state-of-the-art-three-story science and engineering building at Sierra Vista High, a two-story building at Geddes Elementary, a new two-story facility at North Park Continuation High, state-of-the-art football stadiums at both comprehensive high schools, a beautiful performing arts center at the Adult and Community Education Center, an award-winning music building at Sierra Vista High, as well as various infrastructure upgrades throughout the District, to ensure that students have the access needed to learn in an ever-changing technological future.
Today, the District is proudly represented by its eleven (11) TK-5th elementary schools, three (3) 6th-8th middle schools, one (1) K-8th STEM Academy, two (2) comprehensive high schools, one (1) continuation high school, an adult education center, and an Early Childhood Education (ECE) program.
Our ECE program boasts Preschool, Early Head Start, and Head Start at 10 elementary schools, a children's center, a satellite location at Mt. San Antonio College, and satellites in the Tri-Cities area (including the cities of Bell, Cudahy, and Maywood).
Built in the early 1970s, the Children’s Center, has been used to house one of the State’s oldest ECE programs. In 1998, the center was named after Rachel Holliday, the program’s longtime director who retired that same year. Holliday had a vested interest in the community, as she was part of Baldwin Park High School’s first graduating class in 1954, and began working for the District at the age of 19 while attending Mt. San Antonio College. Under her leadership, the program gained much support and programs were expanded to provide needed services to the youngest members of the Baldwin Park Community. The goal of ECE is to reach every child, ages 0-5, within the community to ensure that they have the skills and knowledge to succeed in school and fulfill their dreams.
The Baldwin Park Unified School District currently serves students from ECE to Adult Education, and our mission is to ensure high achievement for ALL learners.