First Junior High School

It turns out awkward teenage social interactions can trace their roots back to Columbus, Ohio, the site of the first junior high school in America. Indianola Junior High School, located at 140 E. 16th, opened on September 7, 1909 with a mission to decrease high school dropout rates. Previously, students in Columbus remained in elementary school from kindergarten through eighth grade. At this time, only 52% of Columbus’ youth made it to the tenth grade and only seven percent graduated high school.

To combat the declining graduation rates, the Columbus Board of Education approved the creation of a “junior high school” for seventh, eighth, and ninth graders. The hope was that designing a school for early teenagers would better prepare them for the rigorous high school education. The curriculum was designed by the Columbus city schools superintendent and the Ohio State University President, William Oxley Thompson. The building still stands today in the heart of Ohio State’s “off-campus” and operates as theĀ Graham Expeditionary Middle School.


Indianola Junior High School








Picture via: The Columbus Dispatch