Pulaski Elementary School - school history This page Last updated October 2, 2011
The Giles County School System began in 1949 to make plans
for the building of its largest school ever, Pulaski Elementary
School. The site of the new school created quite a bit of
controversy. One group of citizens favored a tract of land adjacent
to the Tennessee Valley Authority substation west of Highway 31
south. Another group of citizens who were opposed to this location
placed full-page advertisements on the local paper proposing a site
in the Ballentine subdivision. A survey taken in January of 1950
showed overwhelmingly that the citizens favored the Ballentine site.
The school board purchased the fourteen-acre site the following
week, and construction was begun.
When Pulaski Elementary School opened in the fall of 1952, a staff of twenty-three teachers under the leadership of Principal Smith Howard served 703 students in grades 1-6.
During the next few years, several small schools around Pulaski were forced to close because their students were attending Pulaski Elementary School causing their attendance to fall below the state-required number of twenty pupils. With increased enrollment at Pulaski Elementary, the staff increased to twenty-seven. Continual enrollment increases caused the school to have an enrollment of over eight hundred pupils in 1958.
By 1961. it was obvious that the school could no longer accommodate the large number of students enrolled at Pulaski Elementary School. It was decided that the sixth grade classes should return to the former school which was then being used as a recreation center. This move reduced the enrollment at Pulaski Elementary School where a staff of twenty-four teachers remained to serve 696 students.
The 1969-70 school year brought several changes at Pulaski Elementary School. Mr. Bertrand Hannah, who had been named principal following the retirement of Mr. Howard, resigned as principal and was succeeded by former Campbellsville principal Warren Burns. Students from Minor Hill attended Pulaski Elementary School again, but were integrated with other students. Also, due to overcrowding at West Hill School, two forth grade classes were moved to Pulaski Elementary for that year. The publishing of a yearbook was started during this school year. The physical education department implemented two new competitive events, field day for the entire school and a softball tournament for the third grade.
Two kindergarten classes were also implemented in 1969 at Pulaski Elementary. One class was financed with federal money and one with state money. The federally funded class had a full time teaching assistant. Each year for the next five years, a kindergarten class was added. Teaching assistants were in every kindergarten classroom.
For the first few years, kindergarten classes were held from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Enrollment was limited to twenty-five students per class, and parents had to furnish transportation. In 1975, kindergarten students were permitted to ride the school buses, and class size could exceed twenty-five students if necessary.
In the spring of 1970, a Parent-Teacher organization was formed. The organization held a school carnival that year to earn money to purchase curtains for the stage and slides for the playground. The carnivals were held annually until 1988.
Money earned from the carnival each year has been used to purchase televisions, record players, cassette tape players, movie screens, and other equipment for classroom use. Filmstrips, cassettes, records, and other multimedia kits were purchased for the library for classroom use. Some of the other improvements accomplished with money earned from the carnival include purchasing portable basketball goals for the physical education department, a paved playground area, and computers for the classroom.
Art and music classes were added to the curriculum on a half-time basis in 1971. The students had art for an hour once every other week and music for half an hour weekly. A full time music teacher was hired in 1976. There was no music program in 1982 because of a drop in enrollment and in 1985 because a qualified teacher could not be found. There is now a full time certified music teacher employed at Pulaski Elementary.
A Title I teacher was hired for remedial reading in 1975. Also, in order to add a seventh kindergarten classroom in 1975, the first portable classroom was erected. Because of over crowding due to consolidation of the county schools in 1978, four more portable classrooms were added. Another portable was added the following year even though there was a decline in enrollment.
Pulaski Elementary underwent some major changes in 1976 and 1977 in order to be ready for the 1978 consolidation. Ten new classrooms and two new restrooms were added. In all classrooms, the ceilings were lowered and outside doors were installed. The library, cafeteria, and kitchen were all enlarged. There were approximately 775 students at Pulaski Elementary when the remolding was completed in December of 1977.
A state ruling that primary grades should be limited to a maximum of 25 students resulted in the addition of several teachers which brought the number of teachers on the staff to thirty. Since most classes were over the state-mandated maximum of 25 students, money was not available to hire a physical education teacher that year. These funds became available the next year and the position was reinstated. There are now two full time physical education teachers and the staff of Pulaski Elementary.
The closing of the Special Education School resulted in a resource class and a class for the severely handicapped being added at Pulaski Elementary. Another Title I Reading class was also added.
Consolidation of the county schools occurred in 1978. The closing of West Hill School meant that all forth grade students must then attend Pulaski Elementary School. The beginning enrollment that year was 1,078 students. It increased by 25 students during the year. There were 39 regular classroom teachers and one teacher for the severely mentally retarded students . There were also teachers for music, library, and physical education, resource, Title I math, and two teachers for the Title I reading. There were three perceptual aides. Jimmie Helton, former principal at Bodenham School, was named assistant principal, and a second secretary was hired. In 1981, a second resource teacher was added.
The state began in 1984 to hire classroom assistants for the first grade at a ratio of one assistant per 75 students. Pulaski Elementary qualified for two assistants. Second grade was included the next year, and three more assistants were hired. Two more assistants were hired the following year when the third grade was also included. The state included kindergarten the fourth year, but increased the ratio of students from 75 to 100.
Jimmie Helton retired in 1986, and Vivian Sims was hired as assistant principal. Since Mrs. Sims was a certified art teacher, much of her time the first year was spent in the classroom assisting the teachers with art instruction.
The Pulaski Elementary PTO elected to not have the carnival in the spring. Instead, they sponsored a Cub Run as part of the physical education program. Students obtain pledges and run laps for a prescribed amount of time. This is now the annual fund raiser.
A foster grandparent program was implemented in 1989. Persons sixty or older who met specific requirements are hired to interact with students.
Another big change to Pulaski Elementary happened in 1992 when a new school for grades three, four, and five was opened called Southside Elementary. Assistant principal Vivian Sims was named as principal of the new school and all of the portables used for classrooms were removed leaving only one which is now used for storage. The move left grades K-2 at Pulaski Elementary and no assistant principal.
Mr. Burns retired at the end of 1992 school term and was replaced by Bill Holt, former teacher and coach at Bridgeforth Middle School who is the current principal. Pulaski Elementary presently has approximately 600 students in grades K-2 and pre-school special education classes. There are currently twenty six regular classroom teachers, four special education teachers, three chapter teachers, one full time music teacher and one full time librarian, two physical education teachers, four classroom assistants, six special education assistants, one library-office assistant, one full time and one part time speech teacher, one guidance counselor, one secretary and one full time principal making up the staff of Pulaski Elementary School.
Many changes have occurred at Pulaski Elementary School since it opened in 1952. The staff has been dedicated in keeping pace with the changes in methods of instruction and the technological changes in a modern society.