Wichita Public Schools, USD 259, is proud to be the state's largest school district, one of the most successful large city districts in the United States, and a great place to educate all of the city's children.
The students and employees give the Wichita community many reasons to be proud of the Wichita Public Schools. Students and employees receive local, state and national recognition for their achievements.
The district's enrollment is 51,330 students. Enrollment has grown by 2,512 students over the last ten school years. Forty-one schools received 141 Standard of Excellence Awards in reading, math and/or science from the Kansas Department of Education for their performance on the 2012 state assessments.
The Independent School is an independent school accredited through ISACS and is located in Wichita, KS. Independent serves students from Preschool to 12th grade. 100% of the Upper School graduates go on to college. The Independent School offers an individualized college counseling program to ensure students are well-prepared for the college search process. Over 70% of Independent Middle School students qualify for additional enrichment through the Duke and Northwestern University Talent Identification Programs.
(Source- The Independent School Website-www.theindependentschool.com)
The vision, in the Wichita Public Schools, is to create environments in which technology is naturally integrated into the teaching and learning process and the business functions essential to the management of this large urban school district are maintained.
(Source –City of Wichita Website-www.wichita.gov)
East Wichita is experiencing rapid growth, with new homes under construction alongside shopping and business districts, including The Waterfront and Bradley Fair. Here you can find both tastefully updated older houses and elegant estates in some of the area's most exclusive environs.
Southeast Wichita combines modern design with Wichita’s rich history. Bradley Fair and the Towne East Mall provide great destinations for shopping and dining. The Kansas Aviation Museum and Kansas Firefighters Museum display important parts of Wichita’s history. Crown Uptown and the Starlite Drive-In provide great entertainment for the whole family.
Wichita is one of those places described as a "nice place to raise your kids". Traffic is relatively light, you only see anything remotely like a jam if there's a wreck in a bad spot during rush hour. Cost of living is relatively low, so you can afford to live in or near the area you frequent if you prefer, or if you like suburbia, you can get from one end of town to the other in under half an hour. Most destinations in Wichita are usually less than 30 minutes away. Even with its many amenities, Wichita's overall cost-of-living index is a very moderate 89.7, 10.3% below the national urban area average of 100.
(Source – www.wichitachamber.org )
Southeast Wichita is just a short drive away from Cessna and has easy access to the Kansas Turnpike. This easy access makes Southeast Wichita an ideal commute to jobs in the aircraft industry or jobs in Wellington, Haysville, and Derby. Wichita Transit is a bus service that offers transport all across the Wichita area. The City of Wichita maintains more than 60 miles of bicycle paths, lanes and other bicycle facilities. Many of the paths travel through and along scenic areas, such as the Arkansas River. Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport is located just off the Southwest side of Kellogg, making travel more convenient.
(Source – City of Wichita website-www.wichita.gov)
Wichita-Southeast Local Attractions/Activities
Wichita boasts a professional opera, symphony and ballet, as well as dozens of cinematic and performance theatres that stand ready to impress with independent films, old favorites or new drama. From traditional to contemporary, our art galleries, varied museums and breathtaking gardens are sure to engage you with their many enticing exhibits. As a region globally recognized as a top pick in test markets by those in the restaurant industry, Wichita residents have their choice of the best of the best.
As development in Wichita continues to boom, so do options in shopping. Local boutiques, antique shops and specialty stores can easily be found throughout the city, as well as nationally recognized retail chains and department stores.
Events like Riverfest, Tallgrass Film Festival, and the National Baseball Congress World series keep Wichita life exciting through-out the year. Town East Mall, Starlite Drive-In, and the Kansas Aviation Museum are just a few attractions on the Southeast side of Wichita.
Kansas Aviation Museum
The importance of the Kansas Aviation Museum highlighting the glory days of Kansas aviation cannot be overstated. Its grand art-deco style appeals both to the aviation community and to anyone interested in historic preservation. This isn’t the first time the building has been in transition. The airport site, known then as Wichita’s “California Section,” was identified in the 1920’s by then City Manager L.W. Clapp. In 1927, the city purchased 640 acres of buffalo grass sod. The land, a square mile east and south of 31st South and Oliver, was still nothing more than prairie when the first air show was held on the site in August 1924.
Crown Uptown Theatre
The historic Crown Uptown Theatre is the ideal space for your next event, offering elegantly renovated spaces, an expanded bar, sumptuous catering services and state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems that will make any event a unique and memorable occasion.
(Source- Crown Uptown Theatre website-www.cownuptown.com)
Kansas Firefighters Museum
One hundred years ago, there were no firetrucks, just horses, wagons and firefighters. Engine House No. 6 was the last horsedrawn station in Wichita. By 1918 the horses were gone, and Wichita had become the first all-mechanized fire department in the United States and the second in the world.
The Starlite Drive-In is one of few remaining Drive-In theatres in the country. Starlite features triple feature movies every day of the week for affordable entertainment for the entire family.
Towne East Mall
Anchored by Dillard's, Von Maur, JCPenney and Sears, you'll find 125 of your favorite stores including COACH, The Limited, Kay Jewelers, Finish Line, Forever 21, The Buckle, Tradehome Shoes and more! Enjoy our enclosed, super-regional shopping center with stores ranging from specialty gifts, to men and women's apparel, to sporting goods. Be sure to come check out Rue 21, the newest addition to Towne East Square located on the upper level near JCPenney. Also at Towne East Square you will find many dining options from sit down restaurants like BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse and Noodles & Co. to grab and go choices such as Charleys Philly Steaks. Towne East Square is the main shopping destination for south-central Kansas located at the intersection of Rock Road and Kellogg in east Wichita.
(Source- Simon Mall website-www.simon.com)
Kansas Star Casino
Located just south of Wichita in Mulvane, KS, The Kansas Star has over 1,800 slots plus bar-top video poker and a high limit slot room. For table players, there’s plenty to choose from with more than 50 table games including Craps, Roulette, no-ante Blackjack, plus a 13-table poker room. New restaurants include the live action Kitchen Buffet, An Pho – the authentic Asian Noodle bar, Shark Bar – home of “double-fisted” burgers and local craft beer and Kansas Star’s classic deli, Panini Jo’s.
Now recognized as one of the major mid-sized cities in the nation, Wichita has come a long way since its infant years as a trading post and cowtown. The road from "then" to "now" has been filled with colorful people, events and businesses that have been the building blocks for today's cosmopolitan Wichita... a dynamic community rich in culture, activity and opportunity.
The beginnings of the community date to 1868, when J.R. Mead founded a trading post on the banks of the confluence of two rivers, the Arkansas and the Little Arkansas. For centuries this location had also served as a trading place for Native Americans. The name Wichita comes from the Wichita Indians, who settled at various times in the vicinity, and means either "scattered lodges" or "painted faces," depending on which historian you ask.
In 1868, a Wichita Town Company was organized with Mead and six others as original incorporators. Wichita was incorporated as a city of the third class on July 21, 1870. One hundred twenty-three men and one woman signed the original incorporation petition. The woman was Mrs. Catherine McCarty, who owned and operated a laundry. Later, she moved to New Mexico, where her oldest son, Henry, changed his name to William Bonney, better known as "Billy the Kid."
Jesse Chisholm came to Wichita first in about 1863, leading a party of sportsmen and adventurers here to hunt game. He later marked the cattle trail, best known as the Chisholm Trail, from the King Ranch in south Texas to Kansas. Cattle by the hundreds of thousands traversed the trail to the Santa Fe railhead at Wichita. In 1872 alone, 350,000 head of cattle were sold in Wichita at a value of more than $2 million, a princely sum in those days.
Spurred by this influx of cowboys in the 1870s who brought hundreds of thousands of cattle out of Texas north to Wichita along the Chisholm Trail, Wichita was indeed a rough and tumble Cowtown. It was a city where Wyatt Earp, "Buffalo Bill" William Mathewson and Bat Masterson walked the dusty streets. Just west of the river, the area known as Delano was especially wild and woolly. All manner of vice could be found in saloons, dance halls, gambling and prostitution houses to entertain the thirsty and lonely cowboys.
Even though the cattle trade lasted only three or four years, its presence assured Wichita's position as a commercial hub. With the trade groundwork firmly established, manufacturing and agriculture industries thrived in the late teens and early 1920s. In addition, savvy aviation entrepreneurs moved in to take advantage of the benefits of a prosperous oil industry, agreeable climate and wide open spaces perfect for building and testing these new birds of flight.
Men like Lloyd Stearman, Walter Beech, Clyde Cessna, E.M. Laird, J.M. Mollendick and George Weaver were responsible for starting the aircraft industry in the area. With Mollendick as the financial backer, Laird started the Swallow Airplane Company to build the Swallow airplane that had been designed in Chicago. Interestingly, Beech, Stearman, and Weaver all worked for Laird and Mollendick until each went on to establish his own company. Stearman's company later was purchased by The Boeing Company of Seattle, now Spirit AeroSystems. Today Spirit is Wichita’s largest employer with more than 20,000 employees.
The Beech (now Hawker Beechcraft Corporation) and Cessna companies continue today, as does Learjet (now Bombardier Aerospace Learjet), founded by William Lear in the mid-1960s. It was through the efforts of these aviation pioneers that Wichita earned the title of "Air Capital of the World." With all companies still located in Wichita, which title firmly remains today. Cessna, Bombardier Aerospace Learjet and Raytheon supply more than half of the world's general aviation and military aircraft. Boeing supplies two-thirds of the world's commercial airliners.
It was not only aviation that established Wichita as a hotbed of entrepreneurship. Many other Wichita business leaders have made their mark too. W.C. Coleman, a name synonymous worldwide with camping and outdoor recreational equipment, produced his first Coleman lantern in Wichita in 1914.
About the same time, another innovative business leader, A.A. Hyde, invented a product that was to become a household word... mentholatum. Later, two enterprising Wichitans launched White Castle hamburgers here.
Koch Industries, the second largest privately held company in the U.S., is another homegrown success story. Originally established as the Wood River Oil and Refining Company in 1940, Koch Industries has become one of the most diverse firms in the nation. Koch operations include refined products, chemicals, crude oil services, gas liquids, energy services, chemical technology, minerals services, agriculture and capital services.
In 1958, Frank and Dan Carney borrowed $600 from their mother and established their first Pizza Hut in Wichita in a small red brick building. This original Pizza Hut now resides on the campus of Wichita State University as testimony to the possibilities of vision, hard work and the spirit of entrepreneurship.
A sampling of other well-known national and international companies with roots in Wichita include: Candlewood Inn, Cox Communications, Hyperion Communications, Pioneer Balloon, Rent-A-Center, Ryan Aviation, Sheplers Western Wear Store, and The Residence Inn.
Obviously, Wichita has come a long way since its beginnings as a trading post and cowtown. Right now, Wichita is a booming city with one of the best economies in the nation...a solid, diverse economy with business interests that span the globe. Good jobs and good salaries, below national average costs, short commute times and burgeoning arts and attractions have also developed in conjunction with this solid, Midwest spirit of hard work and vision... a pioneer spirit all dressed up in high tech fashion.
But, it's the original foundation as a center for commerce that has been the one constant ensuring Wichita’s progress through good times and bad. It's a legacy of commerce that will continue to keep Wichita prosperous as we charge ahead in this 21st century.