Juanita High School has been a “Rebel” since its inception. It began as an idea as part of the 1960’s educational change. In the early days, known as the “Juanita Concept”, JHS was developed and nurtured in the late 1960’s by John Strauss, Juanita’s first principal, and came to fruition with the opening of Juanita in 1971. The concept included an open architectural design sometimes compared to the architecture of a warehouse. Juanita’s large open area was surrounded by an auditorium, music area, industrial arts and art area, photo and business rooms, the KIVA, science room and the main office. The Juanita concept embraced innovative educational concepts, like respect for the student, mastery learning, performance based learning, credit for work completed, individualized instruction, and the development of life long learning skills. Ironically some of these concepts have reemerged as hallmarks of recent education reform.
Juanita officially opened on September 4, 1971, but because the building was not ready for occupancy until November 13, the first nine weeks were spent double shifting at Redmond High School. The curriculum for math, science, social studies, and language arts was contracted with the Westinghouse Learning Corporation for the first two years of Juanita’s existence. Assignments were printed in teaching-student units (TLU’s) which were obtained from the teacher. Students tested individually in the Testing Center and tests were scored overnight by a computer that resided in Iowa City, Iowa and results ere reported on printouts posted outside teachers’ office cubicles the next morning. Many people confused this computer with “Chester”, which was housed in the blue plexiglass structure, located in several different places in the open area during the first ten years of Juanita’s existence. Chester was, in fact, an audio and video tape retrieval machine, that allowed students throughout the building to listen to audio tapes or view video tapes (there were many audio channels and two video channels) using headphones and monitors in carrels sprinkled throughout the open area.
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