The History of the Wappingers Central School District:
A meeting was held on November 30, 1937, to consider the centralization of the school districts of southern Dutchess County in the Mid-Hudson Valley. A vote in September 1938 approved the centralization plan and the Wappingers Central School District was created [district map]. The District was comprised of 11 schools from the towns of Wappingers, Poughkeepsie, Fishkill, East Fishkill, LaGrange in Dutchess County and the towns of Kent and Phillipstown in Putnam County. One of these original 11 schools continues in operation today as Fishkill Elementary school.
The Wappingers Central School "main building" was built on Remsen Avenue in the village of Wappingers Falls and opened as a K-12 school in 1940. The school was a product of President Roosevelt's Work Projects Administration during the Great Depression. The hand-trimmed mouldings and cabinets in the school library are evidence of the many highly skilled craftsmen who were put to work on the building.
In the 1950's, the school district grew larger with the addition of the Stormville, Old Hopewell, East Fishkill Number 6, Gayhead and Shenendoah districts. At the same time, there was considerable population growth. Consequently, five new elementary schools were built. They were James S. Evans, Fishkill Plains, Vassar Road, Brinckerhoff and Oak Grove.
On January 28, 1960, the voters approved a new senior high school to be built on Myers Corners Road in Wappingers. The new school was named in honor of Roy C. Ketcham, President of the Board of Education, who had been part of the centralization movement in 1937 and had served as a member of the Board for 25 years.
The former main building was renamed Wappingers Falls Junior High School and enlarged in 1963. By 1966, Van Wyck Junior High School and 4 additional elementary schools - Sheafe Road, Gayhead, Myers Corners, and Kinry Road - had been built and the voters had approved an addition to Roy C. Ketcham and the construction of another new senior high school to be built on Route 52 in East Fishkill. In 1969, John Jay Senior High School opened.
Today, the Wappingers Central School District is one of the largest central school districts in New York State, with an enrollment of over 11,000 students. There are ten elementary schools: eight K-6, one K-3, one 4-6; two junior high schools; two 9-12 senior high schools; and one alternative high school. Central administrative offices are housed at 25 Corporate Park Drive in Hopewell Junction, New York.
The District covers 120 square miles. Major roadways which go through the District are the Taconic State Parkway, Interstate 84 and Route 9. Stewart International Airport and access to the NYS Thruway are close by. Vassar College, Marist College and Dutchess Community College are located in nearby Poughkeepsie. Other area colleges include Bard, Mt. St. Mary, Western Connecticut State, the State University College at New Paltz and the Culinary Institute of America. A large percentage of the residents of our suburban community are college graduates engaged in professional careers. New York City is within commuting distance by car or train.