A Brief History of the Murray City School District
Murray City School District had humble beginnings with the first known school building in the area built in 1851, a single-room adobe structure, crudely constructed and heated with one stove. Between 1874 and 1900, three brick schools were built and rebuilt to serve the area. In 1905, a newly established Murray City annexed an area of land to increase the population. This acquisition allowed the city to have its own school district. On December 6, 1905, an election for a permanent Board of Education was held and the first official meeting took place in January 1906 where the first superintendent was hired. Murray City schools enrolled nearly a thousand pupils in its first year of independent operation. At that time there was a staff of twenty teachers and the first formal salary contract showed a beginning teacher earning $45 a month.
The three school buildings in the district were renamed in 1906 as the result of a student contest. The school names selected were Arlington, Liberty and Pioneer. By 1911, Bonnyview and Hillcrest schools had been built. School curriculum was developed for grades 1-8 in the subjects of reading, writing, spelling, language, physiology, drawing, music, political geography, physical geography, history, arithmetic, civil government and manual training. Development of high school curriculum began in 1913-14 school year with a new grade level was added each year. Kindergarten was instituted in the 1920s.
Early Murray pupils were cautioned to “enter buildings with clean feet and to keep seats, desks, and floors about them tidy and clean.” For the first 50 years of Murray education, mixed groups of primary and upper grade students were combined Subjects included reading, spelling, writing, arithmetic, grammar, composition, history, and physiology with additional classes in penmanship and bookkeeping, orthography, punctuation, drawing, music, and elocution were offered in some schools.
Between 1950 and 1970, the Murray City School District was challenged with an exploding school population and seven new schools were built. These structures included a new Murray High School facility across State Street, Riverview Junior High, and McMillan, Grant, Viewmont, Parkside and Longview elementary schools. Horizon Elementary School was built in the 1980s when the old Arlington School was converted into a new city hall for Murray City.
Today, the Murray City School District educates almost 6,500 students in grades K – 12, operating seven elementary schools, two junior highs, one high school, and one early childhood education school. Murray High School was rebuilt in 2003, offering a curriculum of basic general courses, advanced technology, college prep, a robust CTE program, and a host of extra-curricular activities and clubs. A beautiful new Hillcrest Junior High School, featuring state of the art building technology, was rebuilt and opened at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year.
One of the Board of Education goals is to “integrate technology to improve student achievement” for our students. Technology affords teachers an opportunity to differentiate student learning, and technology allows students to demonstrate their mastery of content in creative and meaningful ways. It impacts so much of our life today, and we want to harness the power and potential of 21st Century skills and advanced technologies in the learning environment.
Although Murray’s physical facilities have dramatically changed and curriculum content has evolved over the past 100 years, we continue to maintain a tradition of dedicated teachers and a population of students eager to achieve and contribute to the community. Murray City School District keeps moving forward with a continued commitment to exemplary educational progress and achievement.
(Murray City School District history research and writing by Murray historian Korral Broshinsky, edited by D. Wright.)
For more information on the Murray City School District in Murray, Utah,
call 801-264-7400 and ask for Doug Perry, Public Relations.