School History

Manzanita School District is one of the oldest school districts
in Northern California.


‚ÄčOn August 26, 1868 the Manzanita School was formed.  It was formerly part of a District called the Live Oak District with a school on the Ord Ranch Road.  The early school building that was used until 1915 was built 1873 and is described in an old account as being beautifully located in a grove of oak trees.  It was also stated that the "district enjoys harmony and prosperity".    
Click for Lareger Image

Until about 1908, when another room was added, the school was a one-room rectangular structure with windows on each side.  There were two windowless anterooms off the front porch - one for the girls and one for the boys.  Lunches, coats, overshoes, etc. were kept there.  There was a pump at the rear of the building with a cup chained to it.  In the earliest days there were no lamps or lights of any kind.  In the middle of the room stood a large cast-iron stove generally surrounded by large chunks of oak wood on which the children often sat to keep warm or to get dry.

Mrs. Wash Hinshaw, V.P. Richards,  Ms. Calhoun, Miss Cook, Mrs.Baker, Fred Hackett, Jennie C. Gail, Miss Collins, Myrna Pottle, Fred    


Some early family names in the area were Weber, Gum, Cox, Fagan, Richards, Krusick, Campbell, Barker and Harkey.

When colonization began about 1906-1907, the school register had such names as Moreland, Gilstrap, Cowee, Burns, Lewis, Corcoran, Adams, Nielsen and Wiser.

One of the teachers in the early 1900's, Mrs. Josephine Mansfield, came each day from her home in Oroville on the Northern Electric train.  Because there was so much water across the road, between the track and the school, some of the older boys built a board walk along the side of the road.  The walk remained for several years.    


In 1915 a new school building was constructed to house the growing number of new students.

The teacher's word was law and was enforced by the use of switches, rulers, shaking and slapping.

Some faculty members were Dorothy Doll, Virginia Lemberg, Edytha Nelson, Mildred DeVore, Joseph D. Craig, Avis Cowen, Elizabeth Jean Channon and Loren L. Wilbur.    


Some Teaching Staff
Ronland Campos, Clifford Speegle, Ethelta Biggs, Leona Lewis Speegle, Elsie Detling, Pete Skuris, Loren Wilbur, Frank Finley, Winnie Enos, Hugh Cox, Fred Berkley, Oleta Taber, Karen Dingle, Mrs. Speery, Kathrine Pitt, Grace Hartman, and Beulah Peck.    


In 1968 Manzanita School was composed of two attractive, modern buildings with nine classrooms, a multi-purpose room and library, office space, kitchen and playground areas.  The school was surrounded by well-kept lawns and trees.  The students had bus transportation and a hot lunch program.    


Students and staff harvested walnuts from trees growing on campus.  This was a fund raising event which most of the students really hated!  The trees have since been removed and replaced with lawn!!    


In 1992 Lisa Argetsinger died of a brain tumor.  Lisa was in the 2nd grade when she died.  In memory of Lisa Argetsinger, the school built a new elementary playground.  In 1998 the Manzanita Booster's Club raised money to add a new slide to the playground.  Everyone remembers Lisa when they play on the playground.    
In 1996, Manzanita School was having its roofs repaired and replaced.  Unforseen delays meant the roof on the main building was not completed when the "El Nino" winter rains began to fall.  Leaks occurred which caused damage to the walls and ceilings in many of the classrooms.  School was closed on several occasions because of the leaking roof.  Many community volunteers spent many hours during rainy days and nights trying to keep water out of the building through the use of plastic tarps and tons of sand bags!  With the coming of Spring, work was once again resumed on the roof and the school now is water tight again!

In 2000 Mrs. Walther and Mrs. Lindsay had to move out of their classrooms for rennovations.  Mrs.Lindsay split her class in half. One half went with Mrs.Walther and one half went with Ms.Leonard. Mrs. Walther's class went into the library. The classrooms were finished after many long, stressful months!!
Mr. Fivelstad was the Superintendent/Principal at the Millennium.  During his two years, we adopted state standards in language arts, mathematics, science, and history/social science.  We also got an electronic library system, and passed a bond election for a new gymnasium.  Mr. Fivelstad says there is a new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Bus on the way.  It should arrive in November 2001.   Good Luck Mr. Fivelstad, in Union Hill.  We will miss your singing.    

2001 to Present

Manzanita passed a bond issue to finance a new, much needed gymnasium with additional rooms for classes.  Mr. Roberts became the Superintendent/Principal in 2001.

Several changes have occured over the past 10 years, both academically and physically.  

The implementation of, measurement of and support towards the California State standards became the focus academically.  This has resulted in back to back California Distinguished School Awards and five (5) consecutive Title I Academic Acievemtn Awards.

Manzanita Elementary Selected As Top 2004  and 2008 California Distinguished School
Each year, the California School Recognition Program identifies and honors the state's most exemplary and inspiring public schools.  Approximately five percent of California's public schools are selected each year, and no fewer than 40 counties are typically represented.

In May of 2004 and 2008, Manzanita Elementary School was selected as a California Distinguished School.  It 2004 it was the only Butte County school to be selected in the past four year since the rigorous State standards have been adopted and high academic scores were necessary to qualify schools as a Distinguished School.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell announced that of the 5,500 California elementary schools only 302 have been selected as 2004 California Distinguished Schools.  "The California schools that are being recognized as Distinguished Schools are the best of the best."  The prestigious award is considered the state's predominant recognition of a school's total educational program, including high expectations for all its students, the implementation of state-adopted standards, and visionary and collaborative leadership.

To be selected for recognition, schools participate in a rigorously competitive selection process conducted by the California Department of Education (CDE).  The criteria for school selection focuses on all areas of the school's educational program so that those selected are strong, well-rounded community schools. Overall criteria include:
  • High academic expectations for all students
  • Implementation of state-adopted standards
  • Visionary and collaborative leadership
  • Varied teaching strategies that provide challenging learning experiences for all students
  • A strong core curriculum in all required subject areas and State Board-adopted textbooks and core curriculum materials provided to all students
  • Academically competent and caring teachers and strong professional development focused on teaching standards-based materials
  • Strong library media services and appropriate technology that support learning activities
  • Comprehensive guidance and counseling programs for all students
  • Learning support services including State Board-adopted intervention programs for students who are learning the English language, who are at risk, or who have physical or learning disabilities
  • Support for student learning through family involvement and partnerships with business and community groups
  • A safe school culture that supports inclusion of all students and promotes positive character traits such as caring, citizenship, fairness, respect, responsibility, and trustworthiness
  • Programs that foster wellness and healthy behaviors
  • A well-maintained learning environment that communicates the importance of education in our society
Bob Binoit, Assistant Superintendent, Butte County Schools led the State validation team to Manzanita and wrote:
If ever the phrase "It takes a whole village to raise a child" applied to a school, it is to ManzanitaElementary School.  Interviews with teachers, a random student group, student council, parents, and board members produced a remarkably strong and consistent view of the school.  First, it is a kind, caring and supportive "family.  The principal, teachers, paraprofessionals, parents, and students themselves work for an inclusive atmosphere of all grade levels and ethnicities with no discrimination against newcomers. Besides having a conducive environment, there is an attitude of high academic expectations that permeates the school.  When student council was asked how they could improve their school - they were stumped.  Finally, Erica said, "If everyone came to school each day prepared to learn and work hard, that would make us a better school."
 "Distinguished schools are models of excellence," State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell said.  "These schools have high expectations for their students and are holding themselves accountable for progress. By embracing rigorous standards and providing targeted support, they are a testament to what can be accomplished in public education and an affirmation that staying focused and on track is a formula for success."
Manzanita is sending six schoolwide representatives to be honored May 21 at an awards ceremony and dinner at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim.
Congratulations to the Manzanita students, staff, parents, community and school board!    
Over the past eleven years, the Academic Performance Indicator (API) has risen and is one of the highest in Northern California.
This web page was initially developed by the G.A.T.E. Class of 1999-2000
Members include: Kristina Young, Steven Young, Laura Anderson, Michelle Argetsinger, William Chope, Erica Phillips, Maddie Brown, Aaron Catledge, Lee Martin, Adrianne Watkins, Brittany Dunlap, Kaley Harvey, Karina Martinez, Erin McCann, Marcie Rogers, Tayler Schohr, Becky Wheeler, Charles Aldridge, Gillian Crowson, KaseyLarson, David Martin, LeeAnn Puls, Jena Silva, and Chase Waterbury.

2009-2011 Manzanita Goes Solar

On Friday, December 16, 2011, the Manzanita Community met in their gym for an Open House to celebrate the new solar energy field.  Students filled the bleachers along with staff and administration to hear from Superintendent/Principal Brad Roberts, Board, President Colleen Dugan, Student Body President Marcella Anderson and Tioga Energy Vice President Mark Roper.

Everyone then headed outside for the ribbon cutting ceremony.  The Manzanita Student Body officers held the ribbon that read, "The New Solar Electric System at Manzanita School".  Mr. Roberts excitedly "cut the ribbon" opening the door for energy independence for Manzanita Elementary.  The eighth grade students  gave everyone in attendance a tour of the entire solar field explaining every aspect of how the solar field works.

The total cost of the solar energy field is $600,000. In the year 2017, Manzanita can purchase the solar system at approximately half of its initial cost, at $270,000. Manzanita School will be totally energy independent by 2022 and the money saved from prior electricity costs will be invested in the student's education. The estimated $45,000 - $50,000 budget for energy can then be used for textbooks, added technology or staff.

Manzanita Solar Field officially went on-line with the solar filed on December 21, 2011.

Click here for videos of the ceremony and how the solar system will work.


Manzanita Elementary School has become one of the premier schools in the north state.  Over 54% of its students are on interdistrict requests with 150 students are on waiting lists to get into the school.

During the 2012/13 school year, the Manzanita School Board and the Strategic Planning Team adopts a new bold school mission:

Manzanita Elementary School, an innovative K-8 single-school district in an agricultural setting, graduates confident, responsible, entrepreneurial learners with strong academic and personal life skills, who are empowered to direct their own futures; we accomplish this through engaging, dynamic instruction delivered within a safe and caring environment using relevant technologies and a rigorous curriculum in a student-centered partnership with family, community, and a passionate, extraordinary staff.

Over this school year, a new facility master plan was adopted including a plan to modernize its primary and office wing, along with building a new middle school.
                                                                               Current MESD Campus-2013


Future MESD Campus

In May of 2013, Manzanita received notice that $714,000 of 3.3 million dollars was released to add classrooms to its new primary wing and a new middle school.    
Copyright © 2015 Manzanita Elementary School District and its licensors. All rights reserved.
Website Developed By CatapultK12™.