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The History of Coleman School District
The Coleman School District dates back to 1874. A one-room schoolhouse was established by pioneers who – with bravery, hard work and dreams – paved the way for our present-day award-winning education system. All of this was brought about by the untiring efforts of educationally minded settlers who were visionaries, and who truly valued education. The district wishes to express its gratitude to all those who vividly remembered details and recorded stories and events. We realize that this material is not complete, and this is only the continuation of a long-standing tradition. The Coleman School District is "Where the Future Happens." The completion of this rich history is left to those who come after us.
Here is our story ...

A land grant of 13,328 acres – part of which is present-day Yorba Linda – was given to Bernardo Yorba by the Spanish government. He called it "Rancho Cañón de Santa Ana." After his death in 1858, the land was divided between his wife and children. Some of the land was sold and eventually named Yorba Linda – "Yorba" being the last name of its original owner, and "Linda," which means "beautiful" in Spanish.

Gold Rush brought many people California.

California admitted to the Union.

Twelve families settled along the Anaheim ditch. The community developed as its population became more established. Mr. William McFadden settled in the Placentia area. He was a teacher at the Santa Ana School, and a county superintendent of the Los Angeles County Schools from 1869 to 1873. Mr. McFadden helped form the El Cajon School District, and had a one-room schoolhouse erected at his own expense. It was a plain building with two doors, both on one side, and a window on either end. Students sat on crude wooden benches. The El Cajon School opened with two teachers: Ms. Minnie Walker and Mr. F.K. McDowell. Students: Felipe Yorba, Adeline and Felipa Yorba, Prudencio Yorba, several Peraltas, Taylor Bush, and his sisters. Trustees: William Shanklin, R.H. Gilman and William McFadden. Mr. McFadden also served as assessor and collector when a $500 tax was levied by vote on Dec. 26, 1874, for building and school purposes. The cost of the school, including labor, was $401.54. The school was on the Santa Ana River near the Yorba Bridge.

The El Cajon School was moved with horses and wagons to the northeast corner of Placentia and Chapman avenues.

Coleman School District formed. The district included the northern half of the El Cajon School District, in addition to annexed sections from the districts of Anaheim and Fullerton.

An annual report reported 41 census children. Enrollment: 26 children. Average daily attendance: 14.

The inadequacy of the one-room schoolhouse became apparent, and a two-room schoolhouse was constructed on the southeast corner of Placentia and Chapman avenues. The old building was abandoned, but stood in place until 1940. One could almost imagine that it stood proudly as if it knew of the importance it claimed in opening the path to education in the community.

The two-room schoolhouse was replaced with a two-story school building with the help of George Key. The lower floor was divided into two rooms, and the upper story was used as an auditorium. Many community dances were held in this auditorium. Its name was changed to Placentia Grammar School.

Orange County withdrew from Los Angeles County. There were 33 school districts in Orange County at the time, 23 of which had less than 100 students enrolled.

Yorba Linda laid out as a town site.

Coleman School District formed with 3,500 acres within its boundaries. A one-room schoolhouse welcomed students who formerly attended neighboring Olinda School. Two teachers: Miss Amanda Longenecker and Miss Olive Talbert.

First Coleman School District PTA organized. Membership: 14.

Two new school districts – Richfield School District and Commonwealth School District – both formed.

Richfield School District joins Placentia School District, and changes its name to Placentia Union School District.

First Placentia Union School District PTA organized by Mrs. Nellie Cline. Other PTAs soon organized. Annual dues: 50 cents.

Commonwealth School District joins Placentia Union School District.

City of Placentia incorporated. Population: 1,300. Acres: 640.

Placentia Union School District petitions to withdraw from the Fullerton Union High School District to become the Placentia High School District. On July 8, Placentia residents appeared before the state Board of Education with a petition signed by 860 people. Valencia High School opens using Bradford School rooms.

Placentia Unified School District formed on July 1 as a result of legislation allowing unification and the addition of a high school.

With the onset of World War II, enrollment dropped as residents moved to areas with defense plants.

Enrollment increased after the end of World War II.

Placentia Unified School District and Coleman School District District merge to become the Coleman School District.
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