Pioneer Elementary School: Educating Children Since 1905
Call: 406-373-5357 • 1937 Dover Road • Billings, MT 59105 • Get a Google Map Locator Here
Welcome to Pioneer Elementary School. Our small, independent school located north-east of Billings Heights has been providing students with a personalized and quality education since 1905. We invite you to explore our website to learn all about our great staff, students and school.
Pioneer School has a long tradition of providing a quality education for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. We average about 60 students per year. There are five full time and part-time teacher at Pioneer, plus support staff which includes a secretary, bus drivers and the school clerk.
Students have many enrichment opportunities with small group exposure. The student to teacher ratio is approximately 8 to 1. The students have great access to computers and the Internet. All classrooms have at least two computers for students use. Students tend to do very well when they go on to the higher grades, earning honor roll awards, National Honor Society memberships and several have even been their class Valedictorians. Pioneer School celebrated its 100th birthday during the 2005-06 school year.
Our mission is to serve the community and the school by creating a safe environment, which fosters respect, trust, accountability, and responsibility, while promoting lifelong learning for all.
Pioneer School is a small school outside of Billings Heights. We are an independent school district. Pioneer School has been here for over 100 years. The original old building is still in use; a newer building was built in the 1950’s and added to in the 1960’s.
The following is a brief history by Mildred Schroeder, a resident of the area near Pioneer School.
Pioneer School was built in 1905. At that time four other schools, now gone, were built between Billings and Shepherd, namely, Hawthorne, Progressive, Longfellow and Emerson. These along with Pioneer School were all in the Billings School District and were subject to the Billings School Board and Billings school taxes. One by one these schools petitioned and received their own districts. Pioneer and Progressive remained in the same district.
When these schools were named, the Billings school board wanted to name them after pioneer settlers in the district. Pioneer School wanted to be the Dover School after John H. Dover, and the Progressive would have been the Toliver School. Mr. Dover objected because he felt the name “Dover” would mean little to future generations whereas “Pioneer” would indicate the period in which it was built. John Dover was the rural representative on the Billings school board until the districts were divided.
The Pioneer building had its first full class year by 1906. The first teacher was May Blachley. She walked or rode her horse to school, as did some of the pupils. There was a barn in back of the school for the saddle horses—also there were the two outhouses – one for the girls and one for the boys. These were fine when the weather was mild, but very cold on winter days.
There was no finished basement for numerous years, just an excavation which held the hot air furnaces and a coal bin. The students used to catch water snakes and frogs there. There were four hot air registers in the schoolroom, one in each corner. The registers were often used by the students at the recess time for bases for various games when weather kept the youngsters indoors.
Mr. Jim Sindelar’s family still holds the deed to the land which Pioneer School sits on. The land was transferred to Jim’s Grandmother from District 2 and District 37 in 1911. Jim’s mother, Mildred Schroeder was in either the first or second class of Pioneer School, she was born in 1900.
The new building’s main section was built in approximately 1959 – 1960. Some community members wanted Chandler Cohagen to be the architect, so this is who was hired. The addition to the main building was put on in approximately 1963. Mr. Michael was on the school board at this time and they hired Larry Schroeder to be the architect for the addition.
Pioneer School has had a very strong PTA for many years. In earlier times, the ladies would serve cookies and coffee after each meeting. Who served and what was served was always noted in the meetings’ minutes. The PTA has done many things for the school from buying new computers to new playground equipment to paying for the students to go to the Alberta Bair Theater to bringing in performances to the school. There is always a great core of parents willing to help out.
Pioneer School serves grades Kindergarten through 6th grades. We average about 60 students per year. There are 7 teachers at Pioneer, plus support staff of a secretary, bus drivers and the school clerk. Students have many enrichment opportunities with small group exposure. The student to teacher ratio is approximately 8 to 1. The students have great access to computers and the internet. All classrooms now have iPads for student use. Students tend to do very well when they go on to the higher grades, earning honor roll awards, National Honor Society memberships and several have even been their class Valedictorians.
We feel we have a great school and our students receive a great education. We are looking forward to the next 100 years!