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John A. Kooken Elementary School

Historical Marker

John A. Kooken Elementary School

Arlington's North Side School opened in 1907 at the corner of Sanford and Center streets. Grades one through seven attended the new school. The building was destroyed by fire in 1909, and students met temporarily in a building on the property and in a cottage before the school was rebuilt. In 1938, school officials sought Works Progress Administration (WPA) funding in building a new school, which opened in 1939. The old building was torn down and material salvaged for other structures. Housing grades one through eight, the school was renamed in honor of educator John A. Kooken (December 17, 1863 - May 14, 1943), who came to Arlington from Ferris (Ellis Co.) in 1908 and became the high school principal. He was elected superintendent of public schools in 1913 and served in that capacity until 1937. Kooken was known for his understanding and patience with students. In 1941, he published a memoir about his years as an educator. In the early 1950s, additional wings were added to the facility. In 1976, the school closed and was used as a diagnostic and materials center before reopening in 1988 as the only preschool campus in the district. Known today as Kooken Education Center, the facility has been honored for work in integrating preschoolers with disabilities with the general student population. Today, over 100 years after North Side School was established, the institution's legacy lies in the generations of students who learned at the school and in being renamed after one of the most important educators in Arlington's history. (2010)


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THC State Marker

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