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Cartwright, Carol Lohry; Shaffer, Scott; Waller, Randal / City on the Rock River : chapters in Janesville's history
(1998)

8. Education,   pp. 147-164


Page 156

Craig Senior High School (401 S. Randall Ave.) and Parker Senior High School (3125 Mineral
Point Ave.). Two new junior high schools were also built during this period. Franklin Junior
High School (450 S. Crosby Ave.) was completed for the 1962-1963 school year, and Edison
Junior High School (1649 S. Chatham St.) was completed for the 1971-1972 school year. (Howe
1976:1)
During the late 1970s and 1980s, junior and senior high school enrollments dropped as the baby
boom era came to a close. And the schools encountered new problems wrought by societal and
technological changes of the era. The schools responded with new curricula and new teaching
methods. These changes included the addition of boys to home economics classes, computers in
the classrooms, more direct involvement of business in vocational training programs, flexible
programs to keep pregnant teens and drop-outs in school, and programs designed to limit the
abuse of drugs and alcohol by teenagers. (Nickol 1981:19-30; Weaver 1987:12-14)
Another educational trend introduced in this era was the transition of junior high schools into
middle schools: ninth graders were returned to the high schools, and sixth graders were moved
up from elementary schools. This concept not only relieved overcrowded elementary schools,
but placed students together in a more age-appropriate manner. The first new school building
erected in the city since 1971, Marshall Middle School, was completed in 1997 at 55 S. Pontiac
St. The old Marshall Middle School, formerly the Janesville High School, was converted into
apartments and public space. (Weaver 1987:12-14)
Colleges
There has been little historic college development in Janesville. In 1844, the founders of the
academy may have had such aspirations after they received a formal charter from
Wisconsin's territorial government, a step often taken by early college developers. But like
such early schools, Janesville's academy remained little more than a high school program. In
1855 it was acquired as the foundation for the public high school program. City directories
indicate that there were several "commercial colleges" established in Janesville's downtown
during the nineteenth century. These were more commercial establishments than true colleges;
they flourished in the period before public high schools and technical schools developed
commercial courses.
Blackhawk Technical College
One college program that emerged in Janesville during the early twentieth century was a
vocational-technical school, Blackhawk Technical College, established in 1912 just one year
after the State of Wisconsin established the State Board of Vocational Education to assist
communities in setting up vocational and technical training programs. Both Janesville and
Beloit established their vocational-technical school programs under the supervision of this
board in the same year; eventually the two schools merged. ("VTA School Has New Name"
RCHS files)
The Janesville vocational-technical program was originally administered by the Board of
Industrial Education. Classes were set up in the old Lincoln elementary school (not extant). At
first, the curriculum was centered around vocational training for school-age children, but adult
interest in the programs quickly expanded the scope of the school. By the 1920s, the vocational
school needed expanded facilities. When the high school moved into a new building in 1923,
the vocational-technical school began using the old high school at 58 S. High St. (not extant).
("VTA School Has New Name" RCHS files)
Education
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