Dunlap Transition Campus at Chisholm

2515 E Osie St, Wichita, KS 67211

Jesse Chisholm Elementary School opened its doors in January of 1949. The school was named the Southeast Elementary School.  Later that same school year, the Board of Education renamed it Chisholm Elementary. 

Interesting side note: Rea Woodman fought to get southeast elementary named after Chisholm and south elementary to be renamed Greiffenstein. At the time, the board also picked Mathewson, Mead, Carter and Jessie Clark to honor the legacies of other Wichitan pioneers. Woodman told the Wichita Beacon on January 4, 1950, “There wasn’t much time to lose in naming the schools for our pioneers. It had to be done while people who have personal recollections of these men and women are still alive. That generation is rapidly disappearing.” The pioneer woman would end up with a school bearing her name, Woodman Elementary, in 1956.

Jesse Chisholm has an interesting history throughout Wichita, check out some of those sites at The Life and Legacy of Jesse Chisholm.

A Wichita Beacon article on March 2, 1949, “Mothers turn cops.” Featured a group of mothers as a “self-appointed vigilante committee.” Apparently drivers weren’t paying attention to the safety guards on East Harry, so the moms started stepping into the street to stop traffic. One mother said, “To run over those kids they’ll have to run over one of us first.”

“Operation Safety”
Courtesy The Wichita Beacon 3/2/1949.

In 1950, seven classrooms were added as Wichita’s southside continued to grow.

The Wichita Beacon had a story on October 25, 1974 that stated a school board committee termed it, “One of the least desirable elementary school buildings in Wichita.”

The ESL program opened at Chisholm in the 1980s and then moved away in the early 1990s. In 1992, The Head Start program was moved to Chisholm and remained through the 1994-95 school year.

I attended Chisholm from Kindergarten through 6th grade. I want to say 78-84.  Walking around taking pictures brought back a great number of memories.  Standing at Osage and Green as a cross walk guard in the freezing cold.  I remember sitting on the big cement slab out front.  I never did figure out if it served another purpose. 

The mysterious cement slab

After some straining of the brain, I think I remember all my teachers’ names.  By the way, all my photos are packed up, so this was legitimately from my mind.  Starting in Kindergarten, Mrs. Hall, and Mrs. White.  Moving on from first to sixth… Mrs. Penner, Mrs. Dennis, Mrs. Gerleman, Mrs. Kappelman, Mrs. Smith, Mr. Guy. If I got those wrong, I apologize but that was 40 plus years ago.  I remember Rose the cafeteria worker and Mr. Marty the custodian.  Mrs. Dokken was the music teacher and Mr. Rickets was the P.E. teacher.  Wow, holy flashback Batman.  Mr. Osborn was the principal and then Dr. Kuhlman took over.  I also remember Mrs. Loder (she always wore a couple of those rubber finger covers) and Mr. Steventon as the secretaries. Special thanks to Mrs. Penner for helping me out with the names. 

One of the weirder things was how small the school looked to me. I guess our perspectives change. 

Mrs. Penner and Mr. Osborn
Courtesy The Wichita Eagle 10/15/1983

At the beginning of the 1989-90 school year, Linwood and Chisholm were merged into one school with two campuses and one principal.

The Board of Education closed Chisholm School at the end of the 1995-96 school year. The Chisholm Life Skills Center opened the following year. The school was designed to help differently-abled students aged 18-21 transition from high school to adulthood. 

The school received extensive upgrades after being damaged by a tornado in May of 1999. New classrooms and a multipurpose room were added in 2002.

In 2017 the Chisholm Life Skills Center was renamed the Dunlap Transition Campus at Chisholm. The school helps young adults with developmental disabilities. It was named after the school’s first principal, Ken Dunlap. 

Kenneth Orville Dunlap was born on September 28, 1942, in Wichita. He attended Riverside Elementary and Marshall Junior High. Mount Hope High School., then Hutch JuCo and graduated from Wichita State University.

Dunlap started working in Wichita in 1971 as an adaptive P.E. teacher at the Levy Special Education Center. He served as special education coordinator from 1990 to 1995.  He was a teacher at East High, and on a personal note, I worked with him several times and he was a great guy.  His wife, Jan was a teacher at Mead Junior High (now Mead Middle School), I also really liked her.

Dunlap served at the school until he retired in 2002. He died from lung cancer on June 2, 2012. Former school board member Jeff Davis told the Wichita Eagle, “It was Mr. Dunlap’s dream (for the district) to have our own special school where he could take care of his kids… He created an environment that enabled them to achieve goals that otherwise would not have been possible.” 

Dunlap Gravesite
Courtesy: findagrave.com

Mr. Dunlap is interred at the El Paso Cemetery in Derby. 

Check out Wichita’s other public schools: Be True To Your School

%d bloggers like this: