Thank You for Coming to Stuttgart .... Dr. Smith
From the June 6, 1975 issue
of the Equestrian
Within a period of two years,
SHS has been transformed from a chaotic mess which was virtually
isolated from the rest of society, to an organized educational
institution that plays an active role in the greater Stuttgart
Students who attended Stuttgart
during the 1972-73 school year were given a great deal of educational
freedom. It seems that this need for "freedom" was
brought about by the predominant belief of that time that the
student could thrive in an atmosphere where independent study
was encouraged. The school had experimented with the "trump
program" the year before, and it had proved to be disastrous
for the majority of students.
Serious problems carried
over into the 1972-73 year, even though the Trump program was
discontinued. Returning students had become accustomed to the
greater "freedom" that they enjoyed during the preceding
school year. More over, a philosophical split had developed between
members of the faculty and administration that concerned the two
opposing methods of teaching (the conventional imposed order type
and the new "free" type).
Things grew progressively
worse that year. In late February 1973, USDESEA concerned with
both the situation and the upcoming evaluation of the school by
accreditors, sent an inspection team whose purpose was to make
a study of the school's problems and to offer solutions. In April,
the inspection team's report was made public in the SATORI (school
newspaper). The report read in part:
"What we saw was
not freedom so much as license. We do not feel that loafing in
the halls for the greater portion of the day, writing obscenities
on the walls, and destroying property should be included among
these options. In spite of the range of philosophical differences,
there is undoubtably agreement that an immediate solution to this
situation is imperative."
The team stressed that there
was definitely a need for "order." Students were able
to see that "changes were coming" and it was obvious
that they were going to be drastic. However, students did not
see any drastic changes until the beginning of the next school
In late February 1975, another
inspection team was sent from Karlsruhe to make sure that the
school was worthy of accreditation. The team described the changes,
which took place within the school since the last visit, as "phenomenal."
Virtually all areas of learning were given an "excellent"
What caused this "phenomenal"
change? During the summer following the first inspection team's
report, a person came to Stuttgart because he was tired of the
paperwork which was required of him as a superintendent of schools
and he "missed working with high school students and wanted
to get back to dealing with people, not papers." At the
beginning of his first school year here, Dr. Donald Smith felt
that "there should be more student involvement in the policies
of Stuttgart High."
It would have been easier
for the administration to completely cut students out of the picture,
in order to make the necessary changes, but Dr. Smith was more
interested in the "human concern."
Dr. Smith, with the help
of administrators like Mr. Rowley, Dr. Netburn, Ms. Haynie, Mr.
Furseth, Mr. Gentile, Mr. Zenyuh and Mr. Kraft, proceeded to elevate
the entire educational program here at Stuttgart to the point
where it is now. Under Dr. Smith's professional and understanding
guidance, the program will undoubtably progress even further.
Dr. Smith said in his first
interview here at SHS that "for a great school you need beautiful
people" . . . . . Well for a better world we need people
like Dr. Smith. On behalf of the Class of 1975, THANK YOU FOR
COMING TO STUTTGART.