Saturday, February 22, 2014

Wahl-Coates School: Greenville, NC

        This school is named after two people: Frances Wahl and Dora Coates. What is now Wahl-Coates School in Greenville, North Carolina, was formerly known as the “Model School.”  It served as laboratory for East Carolina education students and functioning grade school for children of Greenville. The elementary school was a place where educational theory met the real classroom. In collusion with East Carolina Teachers College, now East Carolina University, The Model School opened in the fall of 1914.
        As leaders of the Model School, Wahl and Coates’ philosophy shines through in the documents they have left behind. The East Carolina Teachers’ College Bulletin for The Training School of 1939 states: “We [The Training School Staff] have tried to avoid current (or future!) popular educational jargon, believing that latest popular –isms tend to obscure clear thinking in the profession, encourage fades, and advertize quacker.”   . . . “It does seek to help those who are concerned with childhood learn how to study the child objectively. It tries to stand for certain principles which its teachers believe, in light of study, experience, and observation, to be fundamental to child welfare. It seeks to develop teachers who are intelligent, who grow, who are professional in the highest sense, who believe in democracy, and who, with courage, stand for the welfare and rights of children.”
        During the 1953-1954 school year, the school’s building was renamed by ECU to the Wahl-Coates School in honor of two faithful benefactors: its principal Frances Wahl and primary teacher Dora Coates. Coates was also an ECU faculty member in the School of Education. A new Wahl-Coates School was built in January in 1972 and hosted grades K-6. As of 2009, grades Kindergarten to grade five are taught. Since its inception, Wahl-Coates provided educational opportunities for the children of Greenville as well as the students at East Carolina University studying to become teachers.

author: Steven A. Hill

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