School HistoryMarrs Elementary School is one of four elementary public schools that serves the students and community of the Metropolitan School District of Mt. Vernon.
Marrs Elementary School was constructed in 1958 to serve the students who had been attending one of six township schools in Marrs Township. Located adjacent to Indiana State Highway 62 on approximately 20 acres of land about seven miles east of Mt. Vernon , the original structure consisted of eight classrooms for grades K-6, a multipurpose room, an office complex, and a kitchen. The community served was rural, and many of the families were of German heritage. The families stressed solid traditional values and the importance of a good education. The community grew significantly in the 1960's, and additions were made to Marrs School in 1965 and 1966. The additions provided seven more classrooms, three smaller rooms for auxiliary services, a library, and shower room facilities. In the mid 1970's a new four - lane highway was constructed across the north portion of the property, leaving approximately 14 acres for the school site. This highway construction caused the main entrance to be moved to the east end of the building.
Additional community growth in the 1980's caused overcrowding, to a degree that in 1988 four temporary classrooms were located on site. The decision was made to begin plans for adding to the building to accommodate three sections of each grade; it was designed in a manner so that future additions could be easily made to accommodate up to four sections of each grade. Some relief was realized in 1991 when the sixth grade moved into the newly-built junior high school in Mt. Vernon. However, because of current needs and projected enrollment trends, the building plans continued. A sewage treatment plan was installed in 1989.
Construction of the new addition began March 29, 1993. The addition included a new kitchen, cafeteria, mechanical and electrical room, rest rooms, staff work area, group room, library complex, speech room, guidance room and three new classrooms. Renovation of the existing building created three additional classrooms, a new office complex, a new entry identity to the building, and improved internal traffic flow within the building. New exterior walls and windows provide for much better temperature control. The building is air conditioned. Additional parking and blacktop drives enhance student safety as bus traffic is kept separate from automobile traffic. Our school is connected to the new water line constructed in our community in 1993.
The community has grown and changed in the last thirty-five years in that a very small percent of our student population comes from a farming family background. We are still considered a rural community, but many of our children live in subdivisions. There have been some apartments and a trailer park built. Although our student population is rather stable, we have had a 7 to 8 percent turnover in some years during the past ten years. Our enrollment change used to be in the 1 to 2 percent range. Due to our geographical location and proximity to Evansville, many people who live in Marrs Township tend to identify more with Evansville than Mt. Vernon, especially since Evansville has developed toward us. The University of Southern Indiana is only two miles from our eastern boundary.
Although we have families of lesser economic means, we only recently (1992) went from six percent to nearly ten percent qualifying for the lunch program. Currently fifteen percent qualify for the lunch program. We do not qualify for the Title I program. In any year, we will have only one to four students of minority backgrounds. All of our students are bused to and from school on a daily basis, with the exception of kindergarten which is bused one way only.
Marrs School has always had an active Parent Teacher Association. Our school is the only school in Posey County which belongs to the Indiana and National PTA's. The community highlight each fall is the traditional Burgoo Supper sponsored by the PTA. The Burgoo generates funds to benefit our students. Our students benefit directly from parent volunteers who work with them during the school day.
In the spring of 1993 Marrs School was serving 321 students in grades K-5. By 1995-1996 we had 333 students enrolled. Over the next two years that number dropped significantly, mainly due to large graduating fifth grade classes and smaller kindergarten enrollments. Currently we average 270 students. As there are several areas in our community designated for new home construction, we anticipate our enrollment to increase somewhat over the next few years.
The Marrs School curriculum can best be described as traditional. Our school is self-contained at all grade levels. Students receive instruction in art, music, and physical education from teachers certified in those areas. There is an At-Risk program for students identified by staff to be at-risk due to a variety of reasons. We have a pullout program for children in grades 3, 4, and 5 who are identified as gifted/talented. Special education students are mainstreamed as much as possible and are served by two teachers certified to work with children identified as learning disabled. One of the teachers is also certified to work with children identified as mildly or moderately mentally impaired. In January of 1997, our school district modified our special services program and transferred student with various disabilities back to their home school. Special services teachers were also transferred to other schools on a need basis.
Our students benefit from a commitment by the school district to provide extensive opportunity for computer-assisted instruction. We view computers as an instructional tool for teachers and students. Marrs has a computer lab/technology center equipped with 45 computers, and staffed with a full-time assistant. Every classroom has three or four computers networked back to the lab. All computers at Marrs have internet access.
Marrs School has been recognized as a Four Star School 14 of the 16 years it was eligible to qualify. This is awarded to schools ranking in the top 25% in Indiana.
Our staff is very dedicated to its task, and the community continues to expect much of us. Our teachers place emphasis on acquiring new skills and research-based methods of instruction to better meet the needs of students.