Nestled in the heart of Sacramento’s River Park neighborhood,
Caleb Greenwood is an International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary
Years Program World School that offers a rigorous and balanced
K-6 program of inquiry with a global perspective. Students thrive
in an environment where they make connections between what they
are learning in the classroom and the world around them.
Collaboration, critical thinking, communication and
international-mindedness are emphasized through inquiry, social
emotional learning, art, Spanish and music.
Caleb Greenwood Elementary School, in the River Park
neighborhood, opened its doors to sixty students on September 10,
1950. The name Caleb Greenwood was given to the school by the
Board of Education and was so named to honor one of the early men
in California history. Caleb Greenwood was best known for leading
the first wagon train over the Sierra, the
Stevens-Townsend-Murphy party, and for his heroic part in guiding
the rescue of the Donner Party.
Mrs. Ethel Penny, principal, and two teachers; Mrs. Eleanor
Marks, and Mrs. Daisy Goulart, welcomed the students on the first
day. Mrs. Betty Kennedy joined the staff one week later.
Principal Penny also taught and did office clerk duties. The
building wasn’t finished when school opened, but construction
continued. There were no windows, doorknobs, bells, clocks,
bookcases, shelves, or blackboards. The asphalt tile wasn’t laid.
It took six or eight weeks to finish it. Mr. Gillenwaters was the
first custodian and Miss Barbara Backer served as a part-time
Six sixth grade students were the first class to graduate from
Caleb Greenwood. They were Ronald Jones, Penny Edwards, Elaine
Morris, Timmy Buckendorf, Bennett Cookson, and Diana Chatham.
Thirteen Kindergarten students began their education at Caleb
Greenwood that year.
Caleb Greenwood PTA was chartered on February 19, 1951 with
fifteen members. Mrs. William Ballew served as the first
president. Typical meetings began with cub scouts leading the
flag salute, an inspirational thought, and always included a
guest speaker. Chairmanships in the ’50’s included Character
Education, Civil Defense, and Men Membership. The first carnival
was in June of 1951. It was traditionally accompanied by a bike
Principal Penny served until 1959. During her tenure at Caleb
Greenwood, significant growth occurred. By 1952, enrollment had
increased to 357 students, the staff had expanded to ten
teachers, including a full time office clerk, and the PTA had
grown from fifteen to 287 members. One class had to be taught in
the enclosed hallway. Two new wings of classrooms were
constructed in March of 1953. A new portable classroom was
brought on site in 1954. Due to the combined efforts of PTA
Recreation Chair Mrs. Hyde, the Orchard Terrace-River Park
Improvement Association, and the River Park Garden Club, the
recreation area behind the school was landscaped in 1955. 65
trees were planted in and around the school yard. The
multi-purpose room was constructed in 1957 and cafeteria food
became available that fall.
THE 60’s: The 1960 ’s brought more changes. Mrs. Penny retired
after nine years of serving Caleb Greenwood. Mr. Kenneth Hoffman
took over the leadership of the school in the fall of 1959. The
PTA minutes show that Dr. Charles F. Howard spoke on “The New
Math” and sex education films were reviewed by parents. PTA dues
rose from .50 to $1.00. Music programs grew. Fashion shows
featuring hand sewn garments became a standard fund raiser for
the school. 160 students from the Oak Park area were added to our
student population in the fall of 1966. Principal Hoffman was
succeeded by Mr. Charles P. Thompson in 1967 and in 1968, Mr.
Frank McNamara, a former teacher at the school, began his long
tenure as principal at Caleb Greenwood.
THE 70’s: The 1970’s saw the retirement of two of Caleb
Greenwood’s original staff members. Mrs. Betty Kennedy taught
first grade at Caleb for 22 years. Lucille Folks served as our
school secretary for 23 years. Current 8th grade teacher, Mr. Tim
Margetich, joined the staff as a 5th grade teacher in the 1970/71
school year. Brotherhood Days were instituted as a multi-cultural
event. Title IX was enacted. Science Fairs and Western Days
became part of the program. PTA volunteers staffed the library to
enable book check out for students. The Aurally Handicapped
program was transferred to Caleb in 1975 and new portables were
brought on site to house the program. Stop signs were posted at
Shepard and Camellia Avenues. Sixth grade students began the
tradition of visiting Sly Park. Spaghetti dinners became part of
the traditional fund raisers. New curtains for the stage were
purchased by the PTA in 1977. Violence on TV became an issue for
the national PTA.
THE 80’s: After 17 years as principal, Frank McNamara left Caleb
Greenwood in 1985. School was canceled one day due to flood
concerns in 1986 Miss Linda Sain served as principal until the
fall of 1987 when Principal Mrs. Sandra Green, began her
leadership. The Holiday Breakfast joined our list of traditional
events. Red Ribbon Week was instituted. The first jogathan and
pumpkin patch was held in the 84/85 school year.
THE 90’s: In the 90’s, the Young Author program became part of
our Open House celebration, and the Science Circus took the place
of science fairs. The ball wall was constructed with jogathan
funds. Soggy ground in the spring of 1995 led to the loss of
several trees. With financial help from the River Park Garden
Club, replacements trees were planted along Carlson and Camellia
that fall. With much discussion and the dedicated work of
volunteers who believed strongly in providing an alternative to
the traditional middle school, Caleb Greenwood School became a
K-8 school, adding a 7th grade class in 1993-94. The first group
of eighth graders graduated in 1995. The first air conditioning
was added to Room 8 in 1995. Gradually, over the next five years,
all rooms became air conditioned with the notable exception of
the cafeteria. Volunteers — parents, staff, neighbors and CSUS
students, helped wire the school for internet access on Net Day.
The kindergarten playground and the corner playground were
replaced to meet safety codes. The exterior of the school was
painted in 1998. $5000 in donations paid for paint and supplies;
staff, neighbors, and parents volunteered to do the prep work.
The River Park Neighborhood Association donated half of the
amount needed, the River Park Mother’s Club also made a generous
THE YEAR 2000: Current enrollment for the 2000/01 school year is
about 580 students, there are 44 staff members and PTA membership
is at 270. More changes are in store for our school. A new staff
parking lot at the back corner of the school off Camellia and
Betty Way has recently been completed. Two new wings of
classrooms have replaced temporary buildings Rooms 13-17 and
A1-6. Classrooms have been renovated with updated wiring, new
flooring, lighting, paint, windows, doors and new white boards.
Bathroom fixtures and tiling were replaced. Small finishing
touches were still being done, but the school was ready for
students’ return on September 8, 2000.
THE FUTURE: Caleb Greenwood School can be expected to continue to
provide a quality, caring education for its students. The 50th
Anniversary tile memory wall fund-raiser was targeted to help
provide funds for an additional playground. A large community
sign board and curtains for the stage have recently been added.
The school enters its next 50 years with an energetic staff and
students, supportive parents and community, and a newly renovated
campus. The future looks bright indeed!
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