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School History

A Lesson in Hispanic Heritage

Harmon High School named for J C Harmon, former Argentine principal.

Harmon Graduation Class Listings

Location: 2400 Steele Road

1951 Flood:  Mr. Joseph Powers, Jr. tells us that he remembers when part of the Harmon grounds were used for “Trailer City” after the ’51 flood.  Approximately 22nd through 25th Streets.  According to Mr. Powers, the post office and grocery store – everything – was in trailers.  (We would welcome community information on Trailer City – information, pictures, news articles, etc.)

“Only John Fiske had been in service for 1951-52 housing children from Armourdale and from Trailer City, a development for flood refugees on the Old Homestead Golf Course.  Instead of an estimated enrollment of 256 at John Fiske, 499 pupils were present in September.  Trailer City children transferred to John J. Ingalls.”  (Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools, 1819-1961, Nellie McGuinn)

“The Rosedale Senior High School was merged with the Argentine Senior High School to form the J C Harmon High School located near 21st and Steele Road . The school was named for Mr. J C Harmon, a former Principal of Argentine High School from 1924 to 1954. The new school opened with the 1973-74 school term with Bill D. Todd as Principal.” The Winding Valley and The Craggy Hillside, A History of the City of Rosedale, Kansas by Margaret Landis, Kansas City, Kansas, 1976

Three major land purchases were made in 1967. At the time, the $17 million bond proposal was under consideration, the Board determined that it should move forward to acquire sites for several purposes and did so with money available in the special capital outlay fund.

A major change in the organization of Rosedale and Argentine Junior-Senior High Schools was projected with the purchase of about 33 acres at 24th and Steele Road in 1967 for the construction of a new school to combine grades 10-12 from the entire Rosedale-Argentine area into a single senior high school. It was anticipated that Rosedale and Argentine would be modified to house grades 6-9 in a form of “middle school.”

Master Plan for Modernization – 1979-1985

To develop a master plan, the district was divided into three working areas; the South area generally south of the I-70 Expressway; the North area, generally north of I-70 and east of 47th Street ; and the West area or that part of the district located west of 47th Street . While room for modification was left, the total proposal is summarized as follows:

Step 1. Build a new elementary school in Argentine Heights ( Silver City ).

Step 2. Build new senior high at 22nd and Steele

Step 3. Convert Rosedale and Argentine middle schools.

Step 4. Close Whitmore, J.J. Ingalls, John Fiske and Franklin.

Step 5. Add to Emerson School if necessary (not done).

Step 6. Build new facilities in Armourdale to replace John Fiske and J.J Ingalls

The Superintendent’s plan included a recommendation that the work be funded by a $24.5 million bond issue to be voted as early as possible and that additional funds be sought from such sources as Urban Renewal, Model Cities or any others available.

The proposed plan was presented to the Board on September 16, 1969 and the Board gave the proposal its tentative approval with the caveat that proper arrangements be made for extensive public information and discussion. They also established the next 60 days as a period, “for making such modifications as may appear advantageous.”

Additional Projects

  • Establishments of district-wide food service program and development of central food-preparation facility (completed 1973).

  • Development of transportation maintenance center (completed 1970).

On January 20, 1970 voters approved the issuance of $24.5 million in bonds for new school construction. In response to the voters’ support, the BOE moved quickly. On February 3 rd it authorized the Superintendent to employ architects to prepare preliminary plans for work on twelve different elementary school additions, one new senior high school, a new junior high school and a major addition to Sumner.

1973 was to be the year of secondary school development and change. F.L. Schlagle High School , named for former Superintendent F.L. Schlagle, J.C Harmon High School , named for a former Argentine Principal, and Dwight D. Eisenhower Junior High School were all opened at the same time. Each school was unique in its role in meeting the needs of community and educational change.

Completion of the J.C. Harmon High School on the new site at 22nd and Steele Road in Argentine also brought about major changes in the south part of the district. The Rosedale and Argentine attendance zones, which had each been served by a junior-senior high school enrolling grades 7-12, were merged into one high school zone, Harmon, to serve grades 10-12. The Argentine and Rosedale buildings were converted to middle schools with grades 6-9. Removal of grade 6 from all elementary schools in Rosedale, Argentine and Morse in Armourdale reduced elementary space requirements to the point that the pupils at Whitmore could be absorbed into Noble Prentis and Major Hudson.

Initiation of the lunch program was a major commitment of the 1970 bond proposal. Elementary schools without self-contained service were organized into a “satellite” system with those in the south part of the district serviced from the new J.C. Harmon kitchen and those in the central and northeast areas from the new central kitchen. The program met all requirements of the federal school lunch program.

1993-1994 – Harmon became a Tech Prep Magnet School . First year, 9th grade students only. One grade will be added each year for four years when magnet will serve grades 9-12 in 1997-1998. The magnet program was phased out in 1997.

2004 – Phase IV of the KCKs Public Schools $120 million bond issue includes:  Banneker, Cemtral, McKinley and Quindaro Elementary Schools, Harmon High School and the Area Technical School (ATS).  Central and McKinley will reopen to student enrollment in the Fall of 2004.  The other buildings, which previously had air conditioning, will receive upgrades to their heating and cooling systems, as well as minimal energy updates on windows and exteriors.  The last buildings to receive upgrades include the Main Branch Library, Central Office and the Shop.