History of Oscar Patterson Elementary Magnet School
Oscar Patterson Elementary Magnet School is known as “the school with a heart” and is a tribute to its founder, the late Mr. Oscar Patterson, who was known as “a man with a heart” to the community. He dedicated himself to improving the educational opportunities available to the children in the surrounding neighborhoods, so Mr. Patterson began selling peanuts and chocolate candy to raise money for a school building. Through Mr. Patterson’s hard work, the school began in the early 1920s in the old Knights of Pythias building. The school later moved to the Masonic Hall located on Seventh Street.
During the 1950s, the school enrollment increased with the growth of the community. Temporary barracks housed first through sixth grade classes. The enrollment increased greatly in 1958, and a more permanent structure was required to house the growing student population. The present school at 1025 Redwood Avenue was then constructed to accommodate the needs of the expanding community. In August 1970, the school changed from a Kindergarten through sixth grade school to a sixth grade center with students coming from feeder schools in the Millville, Springfield, Parker, Callaway, and Cedar Grove areas. Hiland Park Elementary School became the sixth feeder school in 1975. The sixth grade center was no longer needed in June 1988 as students were assigned to middle schools. In August of the same year, the school reopened as an elementary school. Plans were developed at this time for a renovation of the facility, which allowed the campus to better meet the needs of an elementary school.
Oscar Patterson Elementary Magnet School is presently serving students who are assigned to Pre-Kindergarten through fifth grade. Over the years, each of the school programs has been fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Today, Oscar Patterson Elementary Magnet School has a very different look. Our most recently constructed facility, Homer S. Jackson Learning Center, was obtained with funds originating from the half-cent sales tax. The Learning Center provided the school with six new classrooms, Art and Music Labs, and an outside amphitheater.
Dr. Linward I. Barnes, the principal until 2009, tapped into the vision that originated with Mr. Oscar Patterson. With the leadership of Dr. Barnes, the faculty and staff submitted the Federal MSAP Grant to establish a new schoolwide magnet program. On February 25, 2004, the Bay District School Board approved to seek modification from the courts to include the magnet school program as a means of reducing, eliminating, and/or preventing minority group isolation. The magnet school funding was awarded for three years from 2004-2007. With this funding, the school developed and implemented an exciting Aeronautics and Space Magnet Program focusing on math, science and technology studies. In 2003, the school received the 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant to begin a free after school program.
In her first year as principal, Patti Fowler has already begun to rejuvenate Oscar Patterson Elementary Magnet School by cultivating an environment rich in enthusiasm and diligently focusing on academic excellence. Our goal for this school to continue to be family oriented while providing a learning environment where the child is educated to face the challenges of tomorrow.