Back to school has arrived. But we cannot move forward without looking at our past.

As students and teachers prepare to step into the books, we’ve put together the ABCs of various instructors and institutions who have left a lasting impact on education in Cincinnati.

A is for the arts. There are many major art institutions in Queen City: the Art Academy of Cincinnati, founded in 1869; the School for Creative and Performing Arts magnet school, 1973, and the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, the result of the 1955 merger of Clara Baur’s Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (1867) and the College of Music (1878) , who joined UC in 1962.

B is for Bronson v. Board of Education. The lawsuit filed by the NAACP in 1974 accused the Cincinnati school board of maintaining racially segregated schools. The settlement in 1984 allowed the district to choose its own method of desegregation. (The complainant, Mona Bronson, later worked in the Enquirer library and features.)

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It’s for Cincinnati College. The city’s first college began in 1819 but did not last. Dr. Daniel Drake reopened it in 1835 and merged with Cincinnati Law School. The college shared its Walnut Street building with the Mercantile Library. After a devastating fire in 1845, the library advanced $10,000 for repairs, which led to a 10,000-year building lease as repayment. Cincinnati College then merged with UC in 1911.

Dr. Daniel Drake was a pioneering physician as well as a historian and writer in early Cincinnati.

D is for Dr. Daniel Drake. Renowned physician and Cincinnati’s first historian, Drake also founded the Medical College of Ohio (now part of UC) in 1819 and the Western Academy of Natural Sciences in 1835. The latter became the Museum of Natural History & Science , now in the Cincinnati Museum Center.

E is for Elder. And La Salle, Moeller, Mercy McAuley, St. Ursula, Covington Catholic and so on. There is a long tradition of local private schools, many of which are operated by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati or the northern Kentucky dioceses.

F is for frequently asked questions. “Where did you go to school?” This is how Cincinnatians get to know each other, which high school they attended.

G is for German. With the German immigration boom in the 1840s, Cincinnati was almost bilingual. But an anti-German backlash during World War I banned the language from classrooms and German books were banished to the basement of the public library. Today, the Fairview-Clifton German Language School offers a German-based curriculum, and parents used to camp out for days to enroll their children.

H is for Hughes STEM High School. Hughes opened in 1851, the town’s second secondary school, named after Thomas Hughes, who bequeathed land for a school fund in 1824. Originally at Fifth and Mound streets, Hughes moved to University Heights in 1910, the building renowned for its high block tower and gargoyles.

I am for Ivy League. The University of Miami at Oxford is recognized as a “public Ivy,” having the academic reputation and prestige of an Ivy League school at a public school price. Miami was mapped in 1809 and had its first students in 1824.

J is for Jennie Porter. She began teaching kindergarten at Frederick Douglass School in Walnut Hills in 1893, then founded Harriet Beecher Stowe School in 1914, serving as principal. In 1928, she became the first black woman to earn a doctorate. of the CPU.

K is for Kentucky. Northern Kentucky University at Highland Heights began as an extension of the University of Kentucky at Covington in 1946. This paved the way for Northern Kentucky State College in 1968, which became a university in 1976.

L is for library. The Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library traces its origins to the Ohio Common Schools Act of 1853 which provided for the raising of funds for school libraries. School board chairman Rufus King built a central library, which was housed in the schools until the original main library on Vine Street was completed in 1874 (demolished in 1955).

McGuffey Readers by William Holmes McGuffey.

M is for McGuffey Readers. Primary school textbooks, promoting morality as well as reading, have been staples of education for generations. William Holmes McGuffey, a professor at the University of Miami, created the first readers in 1836, published by Truman and Smith of Cincinnati.

N stands for No Child Left Behind. President George W. Bush signed the law at Hamilton High School in Hamilton in 2002. The law was intended to close the achievement gap for poor and minority students by holding schools accountable for student proficiency, but has been criticized to rely on standardized tests.

O is for Ohio Mechanics Institute. Founded in 1828, the institute was a technical institute for the mechanical arts, including engineering. Thomas Edison, working as a telegrapher in Cincinnati, often visited the institute library at Greenwood Hall at Sixth and Vine in 1867 to study books on electricity. The institute moved to the Tudor Building on Central Parkway in 1911, then was absorbed into UC in 1969.

Peter H. Clark was an influential black educator in Cincinnati.

P is for Peter H. Clark. Educator and intellectual, he was an influential black voice. As principal of Gaines High School from 1866, he educated a generation of black teachers. Clark Montessori High School in Hyde Park is named after him.

Q is for the quiz. Which area high school consistently ranks among the best in Ohio according to US News & World Report magazine? A. Walnut hills. B.Wyoming. C.Indian Hill. D. Madeira. Answer: All the foregoing.

R is for rabbinical studies. Rabbi Isaac M. Wise, leader of Reform Judaism, founded the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati in 1875. HUC has produced rabbis since 1883 but will close the program at its University Heights campus by 2026. Sally Priesand, the first female rabbi in the United States, graduated from HUC in 1972.

S is for seminary. Lane Seminary in Walnut Hills, founded in 1829, was led by Presbyterian theologian Lyman Beecher. The debates led by the students in 1834 were the first to publicly denounce slavery and give voice to the abolitionists. In the presence of Beecher’s daughter, Harriet Beecher Stowe, they influenced her writing “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”.

T is for teachers. The heart and soul of education. Not enough praise and support could match their value to the development of our young people.

U is for University of Cincinnati. Mapped in 1870 with funds donated by Charles McMicken, UC opened in its hilltop estate on Vine Street, then moved downtown to Clifton Avenue in 1893. UC absorbed several colleges and uses the 1819 date of Cincinnati College as its foundation. UC recently stripped McMicken’s name from its campus because of his racist past.

V is for Vocational Schools. The teaching of trades, from electrician to plumber to phlebotomist, has been an alternative to universities. Technological studies figure prominently at the Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, founded in 1969, and even at high schools like Taft in the West End.

Woodward graduate William Howard Taft addresses a crowd at the laying of the cornerstone for a new Woodward High School in 1908.

W is for Woodward. William Woodward and his wife, Abigail Cutter, opened a free public grammar school for poor pupils in 1831. He switched to a grammar school in Bond Hill that year, then moved to Over-the-Rhine in 1855. William Howard Taft, an 1874 Woodward graduate, laid the foundation stone for a new school building on Sycamore Street the day after he won the presidency in 1908. Woodward High School moved back to Bond Hill in 1953. The old Woodward building housed the School of Creative and Performing Arts from 1975 to 2010.

X is for Xavier University. Xavier began as Athenaeum, a Catholic men’s college established by Bishop Edward Fenwick in 1831, located on Sycamore Street adjacent to St. Xavier’s Church. In 1840, Bishop John Baptist Purcell asked the Jesuits to take over the school, which was renamed St. Xavier College. It moved to Evanston in 1912 and became Xavier University in 1930.

Y is for Yellow Springs. The nearby village is home to Antioch College, a renowned liberal arts school founded in 1850 and led by educational reformer Horace Mann. His niece, Rebecca Pennell, was a founding professor at Antioch and the first female professor in the United States to achieve equal rank and salary with her male counterparts.

Z is for zoo. In founding the Zoological Society of Cincinnati in 1873, Andrew Erkenbrecher raised funds for a new zoo “for the beautification of the city and the instruction of young and old”. The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden has offered a Zoo Academy in partnership with Cincinnati Public Schools since 1975.