A History of Pitkin School
By David Beal
(With Special thanks to G. Baril, C. Bolduc, B. Sander & J. Harpie)
Governor William Pitkin School, headed by its first principal, Mr. Gerald D. Welch, opened to welcome its first students on September 7, 1966. It was built with a construction cost of $810,000 (approximately $4,600,000 in modern currency), nearly double that of Edward B. Stevens School (formerly located on Margery Drive), which opened the same day. Pitkin was designed as a well-equipped school, made to accommodate students from grades K through 8. East Hartford, much like now, was a fast-growing community and Pitkin was designed to serve the expanding student population.
Throughout the past 5 decades the school has seen many faces come and go as changes have taken place. During the 1970’s and early 1980’s, Pitkin served as a 7th & 8th grade Junior High School, as East Hartford experienced a shifting student populace and quickly adapted school accommodations to fill those needs. In 1982, change was again at work as the population of both George E. Slye School (formerly located on Kingston Drive), and Edward B. Stevens School were combined to form the new Pitkin Elementary School, servicing grades K through 6. In the year 2000, with the creation of the Sunset Ridge Academy and subsequent departure of those students, Pitkin was modified to serve as a K-5 school. In the Fall of 2010, East Hartford Elementary Schools went through another transformation as all K-5 schools, including Pitkin, welcomed back 6th graders. In 2014, Pitkin again became a K-5 school, with an average population standing at around 350 students from a wide diversity of cultural backgrounds.
Times have changed, but the goal remains the same – To create the optimal learning environment that will empower our students to progress and be successful.