The building is named after Colonel William Southern, who was born at home in Independence during a Civil War conflict as Confederate and Union soldiers converged on the house from opposite directions, said Barb Allinder, principal.

About William  Southern

WHERE: 4300 S. Phelps Road

PRINCIPAL: Barb Allinder

OPENED: 1962

POPULATION: 550 students pre-kindergarten through fifth grade and 77 staff members

SCHOOL DISTRICT: Independence School District

FEEDER HIGH SCHOOL: Truman High School

History

The building is named after Colonel William Southern, who was born at home in Independence during a Civil War conflict as Confederate and Union soldiers converged on the house from opposite directions, said Barb Allinder, principal. Inside, she said, the midwife who was assisting with Southern’s birth piled up furniture and bedding for protection against the flying bullets passing through the house. Colonel Southern later married the preacher’s daughter, and with $1,250 and a rented room in the Music Hall, 206 W. Maple, he launched his own weekly newspaper, the Jackson County Examiner on Feb. 19, 1898. Southern rode around the Square to conduct his business on a bicycle as the reporter, editor, solicitor, business manager and the society editor – plus he had to find money for the bills.

William Southern Elementary is in the watershed area for Bass Pro and for the past three years, Allinder said one of the student artists has been selected to design the T-shirt for the EcoFest, which is held at Bass Pro the first Saturday in June.

What’s happening

Allinder said this year, William Southern became the school for the district visually impaired program. The school already houses the hearing impaired program, so she said this has been a great addition to the community. The hearing impaired program students have interpreters who help them with their sign language skills, and both of the programs have added a new dimension to the already diverse community of learners.

What makes William Southern special?

“Over the years, many of our teachers have advocated for technology. Each classroom has a mounted projector, an Airliner, SmartBoard and we’re working on purchasing document cameras. Many students are such visual learners that the new technology supports have helped to increase student engagement and academic success. Even our kindergarten students are proficient on working on their classroom SmartBoard.

“We have strong PTA support and a very active business presence. Hy-Vee has been an outstanding business partner, sponsoring our monthly Character Assembly and providing lunch at their store for our 22 monthly recipients. Noland Road Baptist Church volunteers have been a strong support this year with our reading program and support of teachers in the classroom. We greatly appreciate all of the efforts of our business/church community.”

– Barb Allinder, principal