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School History


In the Spring of 1947, the Board of Education of the Los Angeles Heights Independent School District voted to authorize the building of an elementary school in the newly developed University Park District in the northwestern section of San Antonio.  This site had been acquired earlier from the City of San Antonio for use as the location for an elementary school.  

During the Spring of 1948, before the building was completed, Mr. Jack Smith, an instructor at Edison High School was named to the principalship of the new school.  The new school as it was then designated, opened at the beginning of the Fall Term in 1948 with eight teachers.  Soon, five more teachers were added, although there were only eight rooms in the building.  During the year temporary rooms were moved onto the grounds and this helped to relieve the congestion.

During the year, in an effort to find a suitable name for the new school, an essay contest was held among the pupils.  Thirty-nine essays were presented.  The paper written by Shirley Ann Baker explaining the reasons why the name of James Madison should be chosen for her school won the contest and the school has since been so designated.

In May 1949, the citizens of San Antonio voted to annex the Los Angeles Heights Independent School District.  So, James Madison opened in September 1949 as a part of the San Antonio Public School System. The Board of Trustees if the San Antonio District realized the crowded condition of James Madison Elementary School.  A twelve room addition was authorized at a regular Board meeting on September 14, 1949.  This building was completed in May 1950 and occupied.  The school then had sixteen teachers.

The growth of the school has been continous.  In September 1950, there were twenty-one teachers and by the second term another teacher was added to make a faculty of twento-two teachers.  In September 1951, the faculty had grown to twenty-five but was reduced to twenty-three teachers, when Samuel Maverick Elementary School opened in the same vicinity.

Twenty-three teachers remained at James Madison with an enrollment of about 660 students.  The following fall, the cafeteria was enlarged to accommodate the increased enrollment.  In the fall of 1954, the P.T.A. installed overhead type fans in the cafeteria.  This was a welcome blessing for a warm situation.

In the fall of 1955, plans were prepared for a primary wing..  These six rooms were finished and put to use in the spring of 1956, thus ending the use of the "portable" classrooms.  This same year a central Library was established.  It has grown into a complete library service for both teacher and pupil.

James MadisonJames Madison Jr., (March 16, 1751 – June 28, 1836) was an American statesman and Founding Father who served as the fourth President of the United States from 1809 to 1817. He is hailed as the "Father of the Constitution" for his pivotal role in drafting and promoting the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Madison inherited his plantation Montpelier in Virginia and therewith owned hundreds of slaves during his lifetime. He served as both a member of the Virginia House of Delegates and as a member of the Continental Congress prior to the Constitutional Convention. After the Convention, he became one of the leaders in the movement to ratify the Constitution, both in Virginia and nationally. His collaboration with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay produced The Federalist Papers, among the most important treatises in support of the Constitution. Madison's political views changed throughout his life. During deliberations on the Constitution, he favored a strong national government, but later preferred stronger state governments, before settling between the two extremes later in his life.

In 1789, Madison became a leader in the new House of Representatives, drafting many general laws. He is noted for drafting the first ten amendments to the Constitution, and thus is known also as the "Father of the Bill of Rights." He worked closely with President George Washington to organize the new federal government. Breaking with Hamilton and the Federalist Party in 1791, he and Thomas Jefferson organized the Democratic-Republican Party. In response to the Alien and Sedition Acts, Jefferson and Madison drafted the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, arguing that states can nullify unconstitutional laws.

As Jefferson's Secretary of State (1801–1809), Madison supervised the Louisiana Purchase, which doubled the nation's size. Madison succeeded Jefferson as president in 1809, was re-elected in 1813, and presided over renewed prosperity for several years. After the failure of diplomatic protests and a trade embargo against the United Kingdom, he led the U.S. into the War of 1812. The war was an administrative morass, as the United States had neither a strong army nor financial system. As a result, Madison afterward supported a stronger national government and military, as well as the national bank, which he had long opposed. Madison has been ranked in the aggregate by historians as the ninth most successful president.


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