Fonds 113 East Smoky School Division No. 54 fonds

East Smoky School Division No. 54 fonds. — 1935-1991. — 157 cm of textual records.


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Agency History

The East Smoky School Division No. 54 was established February 19, 1945 by Proclamation of the Alberta Government Department of Education. The division covered schools east of the Smoky River with Valleyview as its eastern border, which in 1945 was 13 school districts: Calais No. 3992, Edson Trail No. 4082, East Smoky No. 4198, Ridgevalley No 4563, Sturgeon Heights No. 4606, Darwin No. 4639, Mountain Springs No. 4640, Clarkson Valley No. 4663, Smoky Valley No. 4682, Cornwall No. 4700, Simonette No. 4750, Ravenna No. 4822, and Sturgeon No. 4858.

Until the division was formed, each school district operated under its own board: building schools, hiring teachers and collecting its own taxes. The formation of a school division was seen as a way for the schools to have collective power and economies of scale. Capital projects, school supplies, financial records and hiring of teachers was a responsibility of the division, leaving the local parent board able to concentrate on the upkeep and day to day operation. Mr. Carl B. Johnson was the first Superintendent of the East Smoky School Division and Robert Mehlum was the secretary-treasurer, operating out of the divisional office in DeBolt. He was responsible for getting supplies, both educational and janitorial, out to the teachers in each small school.

Under the direction of the division, schools which were still using outdoor washrooms and barrel wood stoves for heating were modernized with furnaces and indoor plumbing. As teachers became harder to recruit, the small schools were combined into centralized schools, the final move being to Ridgevalley.

With more settlers coming into the Peace Country, East Smoky School Division continued to expand as new school districts were added. Later the division was enlarged to include Valleyview and Fox Creek, and a new divisional office built at Valleyview, then a more centralized location. Eventually it was responsible for nine schools with students from approximately 75 school districts. About the mid 90s, school divisions in the Province of Alberta were re-organized, and the East Smoky School Division area was divided between Peace Wapiti School Division and the Northern Gateway Division.

In 1988, the East Smoky School Division No. 54, with the assistance of Marie Stevenson, Mary Werklund, Elsie Kronholm and Irene Riding to do the research and the writing, published a book called Beginnings, which chronicles the history of the Division and its preceding school districts.

Custodial History

The records were preserved by DeBolt and District Pioneer Museum and transferred to Grande Prairie Regional Archives in 2001.

Scope and Content

The fonds consists of one Capital Account Receipt Book from the East Smoky School Division for 1956-1961 which records debenture, grant and capital information; and financial records and Daily Registers from School Districts around DeBolt, some of the earliest districts in the division: Clarkson Valley (4663), Cornwall (4700), Darwin (4639), East Smoky (4198), Edson Trail (4082), Harper Creek (4968), Mountain Springs (4640), North Goodwin (5002), Ravenna (4822), Ridgevalley (4563), Simonette (4750), Smoky Valley (4682), Sturgeon Heights (4606), Sturgeon Lake (4858) and Valleyview (Calais, Sun Valley) School District 3992. The financial records consist mainly of Cash Books from before the formation of the East Smoky School Division, and detail receipts and expenses such as government grants, teachers’ salaries and building costs. The registers record the name, birth date, post office address, parents’ names and addresses of each pupil. There are Annual Financial Statements and Audited Reports, teachers’ declarations, yearly summaries called teachers’ returns, and transfer, attendance and promotion records. The research files and proof copy of the book Beginnings are also included with the collection.

Table of Contents

Series 113.01East Smoky School Division No. 54 series
Series 113.02Clarkson Valley School District No. 4663 series
Series 113.03Cornwall School District No. 4700 series
Series 113.04Darwin School District No. 4639 series
Series 113.05East Smoky School District No. 4198 series
Series 113.06Edson Trail School District No. 4082 series
Series 113.07Harper Creek School District No. 4968 series
Series 113.08Mountain Springs School District No. 4640 series
Series 113.09North Goodwin School District No. 5002 series
Series 113.10Ravenna School District No. 4822 series
Series 113.11Ridgevalley School District No. 4563 series
Series 113.12Simonette School District No. 4750 series
Series 113.13Smoky Valley School District No. 4682 series
Series 113.14Sturgeon Heights School District No. 4606 series
Series 113.15Sturgeon Lake School District No. 4858 series
Series 113.16Valleyview (Calais, Sun Valley) School District No. 3992 series
Series 113.17“Beginnings” book files series

 

Series 113.01East Smoky School Division No. 54 series. — 1945-1983. — 1 cm of textual records.The series consists of 1 Capital Account Receipt Book receipting transfers between operational, capital, grant and debenture accounts by the administration for schools in the East Smoky School Division No. 54; financial statements for the school division from 1945-1947; and some copies of collective agreements between the Alberta Teachers Association and the East Smoky School Division from 1969-1983.
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Series 113.02Clarkson Valley School District No. 4663 series. — 1937-1945. — 2 cm of textual records.Clarkson Valley School District was formed in 1935 and named after Thomas H. Clarkson, an early homesteader. Classes were first held in a small frame cabin situated along the highway on 9-71-25-W5, and in 1936 a log school house was built on the same quarter. Later a teacherage was also added to the site. In 1945, the district became part of East Smoky School Division, and in 1953 a new shed-roofed school was built for the community. This school was moved, with the students, to the Ridgevalley School District under consolidation in 1956.The series consists of 8 Daily Registers from 1945-1955; annual promotion records, attendance and classification reports from 1944-1956; 2 Cash Account Books detailing receipts and payments for Clarkson Valley School District No. 4663 before it was annexed by the East Smoky School Division in 1945.
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Series 113.03Cornwall School District No. 4700 series. — 1937-1959. — 4 cm of textual records.Cornwall School District was established in 1935, with classes beginning in a settler’s home early in 1936. The log school was built that year on the southeast corner of NE 27-70-26-W5. Double desks for younger students and single desks for older ones, as well as the teacher’s desk, were hand-made. The first teacher was Ella Hughes. Cornwall School was managed by a local board until 1945, when declining enrollments forced its closure. Students then attended Simonette or Ridgevalley. Under the East Smoky School Division, the school re-opened in 1954, when the old Edson Trail School was moved to the Cornwall District, NW 27-70-26-W5. Cornwall School operated until 1960, when the it closed for good.The series consists of 6 Daily Registers for Cornwall School District No. 4700, and 1 Cash Account Book detailing receipts and payments for the school district before it was annexed by the East Smoky School Division in 1945.
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Series 113.04Darwin School District No. 4639 series. — 1935-1954. — 5 cm of textual records.Darwin School District was established in 1934 and classes first taught in a settler’s home on SE 4-72-1-W6. The district was named Darwin after the home of John and Edith Riding in Lancashire, England. A school site was approved on NE 4-72-1-W6, and a log school built. In 1949, the school was moved to NW 3-72-1-W6 and a frame barracks building purchased from Grande Prairie Airport for a new school. When the school was closed in 1954, the building was moved to DeBolt to be used as the divisional office.The series consists of 8 Daily Registers for Darwin School District No. 4639, and 2 Cash Account Books detailing receipts and payments for the school district before it was annexed by the East Smoky School Division in 1945.
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Series 113.05East Smoky School District No. 4198 series. — 1937-1954. — 6 cm of textual records.East Smoky School District was established for settlers in the Goodwin area in 1924. Classes were taught for three years in a borrowed log cabin with Ida Dewhirst as the first teacher. The first “school” was built of logs and had the words EAST SMOKY painted in white letters on the roof. The first teacher there was Irene Cumming. These schools operated for the summer months only, from April to September. In 1934, the third building for East Smoky School was constructed on SE 2-72-2-W6, and when the new School Act was passed in 1936, the ratepayers of East Smoky sent resolutions to the Department of Education disagreeing with the “interferance” of the act in their affairs. The school was, however, included in East Smoky School Division No. 54 in 1945 and operated until consolidation in the mid 50s.The series consists of 9 Daily Registers for East Smoky School District No. 4198 from about the time of the formation of the East Smoky School Division in 1945 until the school’s closure, and 1 Cash Account Book detailing receipts and payments for the school district before it was annexed by the East Smoky School Division.
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Series 113.06Edson Trail School District No. 4082 series. — 1936-1959. — 17 cm of textual records.Edson Trail School District No. 4082, also known as the DeBolt School District, was formed in 1921 under the name DeBolt School District. Because of difficulties raising operating funds and finding a certified teacher, classes did not begin until February 1923. A log school house was built by volunteer labour and a small government grant near the hamlet of DeBolt. It was a “real” school with five double windows on the east side and hand-made single desks. Ernie R. Clarke was the first teacher. By 1929 the building had been outgrown, and after a series of moves from School to Hall to Church, a new school was built on the NW 6-72-26-W5 in 1935. Boundaries were re-organized and the name of the district changed to Edson Trail School District No. 4082 because of the school’s location on the old Edson Trail. This was the first Edson Trail school. From 1936-1945, Edson Trail operated as a one-room school under its own school board. In 1945, it was amalgamated into the East Smoky School Division No. 54, and in 1954 it became a multi-roomed, centralized school when Mountain Springs and East Smoky school children were added to the roster. A new, larger school was then built on the site. In 1956, the high school was transferred to Ridgevalley, followed by the Junior High from 1960-1961.The series consists of 30 Daily Registers from the first Edson Trail School in 1936 until the move to Ridgevalley School in 1959; a file of 1938-39 correspondence, a file of 1943-1944 financial records, annual forms and reports for 1943-1965, and a collection of 1927-1928 report cards. There is also a Tax Roll ledger from 1935-43 which gives the name of the ratepayer, address, legal description of property, assessed value, mill rate, amount of taxes, and payment record; and 1 Cash Account Book detailing receipts and payments for the school district before it was annexed by the East Smoky School Division in 1945.
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Series 113.07Harper Creek School District No. 4968 series. — 1950-1957. — 3 cm of textual records.Harper Creek School District was formed in 1950 for new settlers coming in to Townships 71 and 72, Range 26. Under the direction of the East Smoky School Division, a shed-roofed school was built on SW 2-72-26-W5, using components of the Ridgevalley School which was being torn down to make way for a more modern facility. A teaherage and barn were later added to the site. The first teacher was Mrs. Belle Matlock. In 1957 the school was closed and the students bussed to Edson Trail and Ridgevalley Schools.The series consists of 7 Daily Registers from Harper Creek School District No. 4968 for the entire time of its operation, as well as attendance and promotion records.
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Series 113.08Mountain Springs School District No. 4640 series. — 1941-1954. — 5.5 cm of textual records.Mountain Springs School District was established in 1934 and a site approved on the southwest corner of SW 31-72-26-W5. Until the log school was built in 1936, classes were taught in a borrowed log cabin. Kenneth Porter was the first teacher. Bert Nicholson, the first teacher in the new school, put the roof on the building before classes started in the fall of 1936. In 1945, Mountain Springs was incorporated into the East Smoky School Division, and in 1952 a new shed-roofed school was built. When Mountain Springs closed down in 1954, both school and students were moved to Edson Trail School District.The series consists of 9 Daily Registers from Mountain Springs School District No. 4640, from about the time of the district’s annexation by East Smoky School Division until its closure in 1954, and 1 Cash Account Book detailing receipts and payments for the school district before the East Smoky School Division was formed.
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Series 113.09North Goodwin School District No. 5002 series. — 1952-1959. — 3 cm of textual records.North Goodwin School District was established in 1952 for nine children in a newly-settled area northwest of DeBolt. Three acres of land were donated on the southeast corner of SE-35-73-02-W6 and cleared by volunteer labour. Under the direction of the East Smoky School Division No. 54, a school was built. Barbara Powell was the first teacher. As enrollment teetered above and below the minimum number of students required for a school district, North Goodwin School led a precarious existence and finally closed in 1959.The series consists of 7 Daily Registers from the time North Goodwin School opened to the time of consolidation.
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Series 113.10Ravenna School District No. 4822 series. — 1938-1954. — 7.5 cm of textual records.Ravenna School District was established in 1938 for new settlers coming into Township 72, Range 1 and 2. The school was built on SW 15-72-2 W6, and it is thought that the name “Ravenna” comes from the ravine which runs through this quarter to the Smoky River. The first teacher was Esther E. Stevens. A second school, this time a frame building, was built by volunteer labour on SE 15-72-2 W6 in 1944. In 1945 Ravenna School became part of East Smoky School Division. The school operated until consolidation in 1954, when the students were bussed to the centralized school at Edson Trail.The series consists of 1 Cash Account Book detailing receipts and payments for Ravenna School District No. 4822 before it was annexed by the East Smoky School Division in 1945.
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Series 113.11Ridgevalley School District No. 4563 series. — 1943-1963. — 22 cm of textual records.Ridgevalley School District was formed in 1931 and school taught in a log school on NE 16-71-26-W5. A second log school was built on SW 23-71-26-W5. The first teacher was Gerhard de Veer, followed by Mary White. In 1937, a second classroom was added to the school. The school operated under its own board until the formation of the East Smoky School Division in 1945. In 1956, centralization increased the size of Ridgevalley School to a 6 room plant with an auditorium, library and administration area.The series consists of 37 Daily Registers from Ridgevalley School District No. 4563, 1 file of reports (Attendance and Classification, Promotion Records, Teacher’s Returns, Teacher’s Declarations and School Census) from 1944-1959, and 1 Cash Account Book detailing receipts and payments for the school district before it was annexed by the East Smoky School Division in 1945.
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Series 113.12Simonette School District No. 4750 series. — 1938-1957. — 6 cm of textual records.Simonette School District was established in 1936 and a school site approved on NE 36-70-27-W5. A log schoolhouse was built with volunteer labour and a small grant from the provincial government, and school opened in September 1937. The first teacher was Ella Hughes. In 1945, the Simonette School joined the East Smoky School Division, and in 1957 the school was closed under consolidation.The series consists of 11 Daily Registers for Simonette School District No. 4750 dating from the time of amalgamation with the East Smoky School Division, 1 bank book, and 1 Cash Account Book detailing receipts and payments for the school district before it was annexed by the East Smoky School Division in 1945.
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Series 113.13Smoky Valley School District No. 4682 series. — 1936-1955. — 8 cm of textual records.Smoky Valley School District was formed in 1935, and a lumber school built by volunteer labour on SW 03-70-22-W5. Later a teacherage and barn were added to the site. School opened in September of 1936, with Mary Caldwell as the first teacher. The school was closed with consolidation in 1955, and the children were bussed to Valleyview.The series consists of 16 Daily Registers for Smoky Valley School from the time it opened to the time the school was closed, and a folder of class records such as census, promotion records and transfer cards.
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Series 113.14Sturgeon Heights School District No. 4606 series. — 1944-1955. — 4 cm of textual records.Sturgeon Heights School District was originally formed as Sturgeon Lake School District in 1932, but the name was changed before the first year was complete. It served the area west of the Sturgeon Lake Indian Reserve in Ranges 24 and 25. Classes were held in a borrowed bunkhouse until a log school was built by volunteer labour on SW 25-70-25-W5. In 1934, a teacherage was added to the site, and in 1938 a barn was built. Holidays during the first years were in the winter months. Sturgeon Heights School operated under its own board until 1945, when East Smoky School Division No. 54 was formed. With the increased government support, the school was improved in 1948, and a new teacherage and well were put in. In 1956, consolidation took the students to Ridgevalley and Sturgeon Heights School was closed.The series consists of 9 Daily Registers from Sturgeon Heights School District No. 4606 after the formation of the East Smoky School Division in 1945, and 1 Cash Account Book detailing receipts and payments for the school district before it was annexed by the East Smoky School Division.
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Series 113.15Sturgeon Lake School District No. 4858 series. — 1942-1955. — 5 cm of textual records.Sturgeon Lake School District 4858 was established in 1939. Classes opened in a log school house on the NE 34-69-23-W5 in September of 1940. In 1944, a new lumber school was built on a new site, SE 4-70-23-W5 and operated under the East Smoky School Division until 1955. At that time the school was closed and the children bussed to Valleyview.The series consists of 13 Class registers from 1942-1955 and a folder of class records such as census lists, promotion records and transfer cards.
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Series 113.16Valleyview (Calais, Sun Valley) School District No. 3992 series. — 1944-1959. — 36 cm of textual records.The first school in the Valleyview area was named Calais, after the Post Office at Sturgeon Lake. Although the district was formed in 1920, a school was not built until 1929, on the NW 1/4 21-70-22-W5. Classes started in a settler’s home in the fall of 1929, with Ethel Krieger as teacher. Marion Black was the first teacher in the new log school house. This school served the community until 1945, when the Calais School District became part of the East Smoky School Division No. 54. Then a new two-roomed school was built in the hamlet of Valleyview. The name of the district was changed, in 1951 to Sun Valley to avoid confusion with the Calais area west of town, and again in 195 to Valleyview reflect inclusion of all the Valleyview schools in the district.The series consists of 78 School registers: under the name of Calais from 1944 to 1951; under the name of Sun Valley from 1951 to 1959 ; and under the name of Valleyview from 1958 to 1959. There is also two folders of miscellaneous correspondence, class records and transfer cards.
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Series 113.17“Beginnings” book files series. — [1930]-1991. — 15 cm of textual records.Beginnings tells the story of East Smoky School Division No. 54 and the individual school districts which preceded the creation of the school division: Calais No. 3992, Edson Trail No. 4082, East Smoky No. 4198, Ridgevalley No. 4563, Sturgeon Heights No. 4606, Darwin No. 4639, Mountain Springs No. 4640, Clarkson Valley No. 4663, Smoky Valley No. 4682, Cornwall No. 4700, Simonette No. 4750, Ravenna No. 4822, and Sturgeon Lake No. 4858. The book was researched and written by a committee of four, two from DeBolt and two from Valleyview, headed by Marie Stevenson. The book was printed by Friesen Printers in 1988, and around 2000, the East Smoky School Division ceased to exist.The series consists of research files on the schools, hand-drawn illustrations and land-ownership maps and the proof copy sent to Friesen Printers. There are also some origina