Wichita Public Schools, USD 259, is proud to be the state's largest school district, one of the most successful large-city districts in the United States, and a great place to educate all of the city's children.
The students and employees give the Wichita community many reasons to be proud of the Wichita Public Schools. Students and employees receive local, state and national recognition for their achievements.
The district's enrollment is 51,330 students. Enrollment has grown by 2,512 students over the last ten school years. Forty-one schools received 141 Standard of Excellence Awards in reading, math and/or science from the Kansas Department of Education for their performance on the 2012 state assessments.
Students in the Wichita Public Schools continue to see growth on Kansas state assessment scores. Over the past five years, the district has seen a 4.3 percentage point increase in reading and a 3.1 percentage point increase in math.
Graduation rates continue to increase – The Wichita Public Schools' graduation rate is 76.5% - up 21% in four years.
Wichita Northwest High School, known locally as Northwest, is a fully accredited public high school located in Wichita, KS that serves over 1,500 students in grades 9-12. Northwest opened in 1978. The 6A Grizzlies play in the Wichita City League.
Northwest has won eight state championships: boys’ basketball (2006), boys bowling (2008), boy’s golf (1980), boys’ soccer (1995, 2011), girls’ basketball (1997), softball (1999), and girls swimming (1985).
The vision, in the Wichita Public Schools, is to create environments in which technology is naturally integrated into the teaching and learning process and the business functions essential to the management of this large urban school district are maintained.
(Source –City of Wichita Website-www.wichita.gov)
The Northwest sector is currently the fastest growing part of the city, absolutely booming with brand new shopping plazas, restaurants, businesses and new homes. Home owners can choose from groundbreaking master planned communities to condominiums on the lake.
The Northwest side of Wichita has a great balance of shopping centers, restaurants, art centers, and museums.
Wichita is one of those places described as a "nice place to raise your kids". Traffic is relatively light, you only see anything remotely like a jam if there's a wreck in a bad spot during rush hour. Cost of living is relatively low, so you can afford to live in or near the area you frequent if you prefer, or if you like suburbia, you can get from one end of town to the other in under half an hour. Most destinations in Wichita are usually less than 30 minutes away. Even with its many amenities, Wichita's overall cost-of-living index is a very moderate 89.7, 10.3% below the national urban area average of 100.
(Source – www.wichitachamber.org )
Northwest Wichita is just minutes away from Downtown Wichita, the Central Business district, and Old Town. This easy access makes Northwest Wichita an ideal commute to jobs in the downtown area. Wichita Transit is a bus service that offers transport all across the Wichita area. The City of Wichita maintains more than 60 miles of bicycle paths, lanes and other bicycle facilities. Many of the paths travel through and along scenic areas, such as the Arkansas River. Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport is located just off the southwest side of Kellogg, making travel more convenient.
(Source – City of Wichita website-www.wichita.gov)
Wichita-Northwest Local Attractions/Activities
Wichita boasts a professional opera, symphony and ballet, as well as dozens of cinematic and performance theatres that stand ready to impress with independent films, old favorites or new drama. From traditional to contemporary, our art galleries, varied museums and breathtaking gardens are sure to engage you with their many enticing exhibits. As a region globally recognized as a top pick in test markets by those in the restaurant industry, Wichita residents have their choice of the best of the best.
As development in Wichita continues to boom, so do options in shopping. Local boutiques, antique shops and specialty stores can easily be found throughout the city, as well as nationally recognized retail chains and department stores.
Events like Riverfest, Tallgrass Film Festival, and the National Baseball Congress World series keep Wichita life exciting throughout the year. New Market Square, Exploration Place, and the Sedgwick County Zoo are just a few of the attractions on the Northwest side of Wichita.
Sedgwick County Zoo
Sedgwick County Zoo, located in Northwest Wichita, was established by the volunteer efforts of civic-minded citizens who formed the Sedgwick County Zoological Society in 1963, many years before the Zoo would take shape. When the American and Asian farms opened as the only exhibits in 1971, families were pleased, but they had little idea of the great things that were in store. Now gorillas, penguins and tigers inspire more than 500,000 guests annually. Enjoy the array of exhibits year-round! The Zoo is open 364 days a year.
This botanical paradise on the plains is comprised of over nine acres of stunning gardenscaping that features more than 4000 species of plants both native and new to the region. Twenty-six themed display gardens such as the Butterfly Garden, Woodland Bird Garden, Shakespearean Garden, Sensory Garden, Wildflower Meadow and the all-new Downing Children's Garden combine with more than 30 sculptures and multiple flowing fountains to create a visually stunning atmosphere. Explore the Gardens and take home inspiration for your own backyard.
Exploration Place is Kansas’ premier hands-on science center for all ages, located on a 20-acre site along the Arkansas River in Wichita’s downtown Museums on the River district. Five hands-on exhibit areas focus on flight, Kansas, medieval life in a three-story castle, imaginative spaces for toddlers, and a special traveling exhibition area. In Kansas’ largest domed theater, the Boeing Dome Theater and Planetarium, travel to faraway destinations and embark on unforgettable adventures during these state-of-the-art, digitally-produced films. Other EP amenities include a snack bar, free parking, picnic grove/adventure play yard, Explore Store and family restrooms.
The Keeper of the Plains
The Keeper of the Plains is a 44-foot tall steel sculpture standing at the point where the Big and Little Arkansas rivers join together in downtown Wichita. This land between the two rivers is sacred ground to the Native American people and is also home to the All-American Indian Center. The Indian Warrior sculpture was created by Wichitan and Native American artist Blackbear Bosin (1921-1980). This icon of Wichita was erected on May 18, 1974 to celebrate the United States Bi-centennial and has kept a watchful eye on the city ever since. Decades later the Keeper of the Plains now has an even larger view of Wichita. A complete renovation of the sculpture and installation of the Keeper of the Plains Plaza now brings people out each evening to see the Keeper and the "Ring of Fire."
Sedgwick County Park
Sedgwick County Park is a large and beautiful park with lots of activities for families or the individual. The park is located in northwest Wichita between 13th and 21st , west of the zoo. With four lakes, there is plenty of room for fishing, relaxing or feeding the ducks and geese. Over four miles of paved pathways loop around the park going through open and wooded areas filled with birds and other wildlife.
Walk, run, jog or bring the bicycles out and go around the big loop of over four miles or one of the smaller loops for some exercise and fun. There are water fountains and restrooms located throughout the park as well. If you get tired, enjoy some sit-down time on a bench and do some people watching.
There are four lakes with lots of fish for catching. Fish off a bridge or a dock and see what fun can be had with the old rod and reel entertainment center. A Kansas State Fishing License is required and available at the park office located in the middle of the park.
The Mid-America All-Indian Center
The Mid-America All-Indian Center is the only facility of its kind in Kansas that is solely dedicated to preserving and promoting the rich cultural history of American Indians in North America. Events are held regularly at the Indian Center, including Powwows that attract American Indian dancers representing tribes from across the United States.
Wichita Art Museum
Nestled in the heart of the Museums on the River district just five minutes from downtown in the Riverside neighborhood, the Wichita Art Museum is home to a nationally renowned collection of American art.
NewMarket Square (shopping center)
NewMarket Square is home to many nationally popular retailers and restaurants, as well as Wichita favorites. Enjoy convenient storefront parking with main street ambiance.
Old Cowtown Museum
Located on 25 acres off the Chisholm Trail, Old Cowtown Museum is a unique, open-air living history museum which re-creates Wichita and Sedgwick County, Kansas from 1865 to 1880. A thriving community all its own, Cowtown gives visitors a true taste of the myths, truths and romance of the “Old West” and America’s frontier.
Enjoy new releases in a beautiful multi-screen theatre. The west side Warren also has an IMAX where you can watch new releases in 3-D.
(Source – http://www.360wichita.com/)
Now recognized as one of the major mid-sized cities in the nation, Wichita has come a long way since its infant years as a trading post and cowtown. The road from "then" to "now" has been filled with colorful people, events and businesses that have been the building blocks for today's cosmopolitan Wichita... a dynamic community rich in culture, activity and opportunity.
The beginnings of the community date to 1868, when J.R. Mead founded a trading post on the banks of the confluence of two rivers, the Arkansas and the Little Arkansas. For centuries this location had also served as a trading place for Native Americans. The name Wichita comes from the Wichita Indians, who settled at various times in the vicinity, and means either "scattered lodges" or "painted faces," depending on which historian you ask.
In 1868, a Wichita Town Company was organized with Mead and six others as original incorporators. Wichita was incorporated as a city of the third class on July 21, 1870. One hundred twenty-three men and one woman signed the original incorporation petition. The woman was Mrs. Catherine McCarty, who owned and operated a laundry. Later, she moved to New Mexico, where her oldest son, Henry, changed his name to William Bonney, better known as "Billy the Kid."
Jesse Chisholm came to Wichita in about 1863, leading a party of sportsmen and adventurers here to hunt game. He later marked the cattle trail, best known as the Chisholm Trail, from the King Ranch in south Texas to Kansas. Cattle by the hundreds of thousands traversed the trail to the Santa Fe railhead at Wichita. In 1872 alone, 350,000 head of cattle were sold in Wichita at a value of more than $2 million, a princely sum in those days.
Spurred by this influx of cowboys in the 1870s who brought hundreds of thousands of cattle out of Texas north to Wichita along the Chisholm Trail, Wichita was indeed a rough and tumble cowtown. It was a city where Wyatt Earp, "Buffalo Bill" William Mathewson and Bat Masterson walked the dusty streets. Just west of the river, the area known as Delano was especially wild and woolly. All manner of vice could be found in saloons, dance halls, gambling and prostitution houses to entertain the thirsty and lonely cowboys.
Even though the cattle trade lasted only three or four years, its presence assured Wichita's position as a commercial hub. With the trade groundwork firmly established, manufacturing and agriculture industries thrived in the late teens and early 1920s. In addition, savvy aviation entrepreneurs moved in to take advantage of the benefits of a prosperous oil industry, agreeable climate and wide open spaces perfect for building and testing these new birds of flight.
Men like Lloyd Stearman, Walter Beech, Clyde Cessna, E.M. Laird, J.M. Mollendick and George Weaver were responsible for starting the aircraft industry in the area. With Mollendick as the financial backer, Laird started the Swallow Airplane Company to build the Swallow airplane that had been designed in Chicago. Interestingly, Beech, Stearman, and Weaver all worked for Laird and Mollendick until each went on to establish his own company. Stearman's company later was purchased by The Boeing Company of Seattle, now Spirit AeroSystems. Today Spirit is Wichita’s largest employer with more than 20,000 employees.
The Beech (now Hawker Beechcraft Corporation) and Cessna companies continue today, as does Learjet (now Bombardier Aerospace Learjet), founded by William Lear in the mid-1960s. It was through the efforts of these aviation pioneers that Wichita earned the title of "Air Capital of the World." With all companies still located in Wichita, the title is still applicable today. Cessna, Bombardier Aerospace Learjet and Raytheon supply more than half of the world's general aviation and military aircraft. Boeing supplies two-thirds of the world's commercial airliners.
It was not only aviation that established Wichita as a hotbed of entrepreneurship. Many other Wichita business leaders have made their mark too. W.C. Coleman, a name synonymous worldwide with camping and outdoor recreational equipment, produced his first Coleman lantern in Wichita in 1914.
About the same time, another innovative business leader, A.A. Hyde, invented a product that was to become a household word... mentholatum. Later, two enterprising Wichitans launched White Castle hamburgers here.
Koch Industries, the second largest privately held company in the U.S., is another homegrown success story. Originally established as the Wood River Oil and Refining Company in 1940, Koch Industries has become one of the most diverse firms in the nation. Koch operations include refined products, chemicals, crude oil services, gas liquids, energy services, chemical technology, minerals services, agriculture and capital services.
In 1958, Frank and Dan Carney borrowed $600 from their mother and established their first Pizza Hut in Wichita in a small red brick building. This original Pizza Hut now resides on the campus of Wichita State University as testimony to the possibilities of vision, hard work and the spirit of entrepreneurship.
A sampling of other well-known national and international companies with roots in Wichita include: Candlewood Inn, Cox Communications, Hyperion Communications, Pioneer Balloon, Rent-A-Center, Ryan Aviation, Sheplers Western Wear Store, and The Residence Inn.
Obviously, Wichita has come a long way since its beginnings as a trading post and cowtown. Right now, Wichita is a booming city with one of the best economies in the nation...a solid, diverse economy with business interests that span the globe. Good jobs and good salaries, below national average costs, short commute times and burgeoning arts and attractions have also developed in conjunction with this solid, Midwest spirit of hard work and vision... a pioneer spirit all dressed up in high tech fashion.
But, it's the original foundation as a center for commerce that has been the one constant ensuring Wichita’s progress through good times and bad. It's a legacy of commerce that will continue to keep Wichita prosperous as we charge ahead in this 21st century.