The St. Bethlehem community was originally known as Cherry Station. It was named for the Cherry family who owned the land adjacent to the railroad. Miss Mary Cherry had a private school in her home at Cherry Station. Private schools in houses were thought of as the forerunners of public schools in Montgomery County.
The first public school in St. Bethlehem was a little two-room building sitting on a hill on what is now Old Russellville Pike. The increasing growth in population led to the need for more rooms. Additional land was not available; therefore a new school was planned. The school provided for the education of students for grades one through eight.
Students and faculty moved into the new four room school in the mid-1930s. The four room school was adequate for a long time due to the Great Depression decreasing the population growth in the area.
In the late 1940s, a fifth room was added to the school. Then, in the 1952-1953 school year, the first indoor restrooms were built as well as two more classrooms, a kitchen, and a cafeteria. Mrs. Evelyn Bell, the eighth grade teacher, was teaching principal at the time.
St. Bethlehem currently is a Title I preK-2 school serving almost 500 students. We are the only preK-2 school in the district, and our students all move to our sister school, Burt Elementary, for 3rd-5th grade. We offer special area classes daily to include art, music, guidance, PE, technology lab, and library. We are proud to provide the foundational literacy and numeracy skills that are needed to be college or career ready. Among many events, we have a thriving motivational Accelerated Reading program, a monthly Family Reading Night, and we do a book giveaway program called "New Books on the Block" in the Lincoln Homes and Raleigh Court neighborhoods
The physical layout of the school has changed over the years. For many years the office was on the Wilma Rudolph side of the building. This beautifully landscaped side is now considered the back of our building. Our offices are located on Old Russellville Pike where we ask our visitors to enter.
We are especially proud of the fact that Wilma Rudolph was born in the St. Bethlehem area, and grew up in Clarksville. Our students go on to Burt Elementary, where she went to high school when it was known as Burt High School. Times were different in the 1940s, and African-American children and white children did not attend school together. Today, we are proud of St. Bethlehem's cultural and ethnic diversity. We learn and grow from one another.
We have a two-hour time block completely dedicated to the integration of foundational literacy skills, reading comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, writing, language, speaking, and listening skills all based on TNReady state standards. We utilize quality complex text to build world knowledge that leads our students to be better readers, writers, and speakers.
We utilize 60-75 minutes of our day dedicated to building mathematicians through math talks, math fluency practice, & TNReady standard acquisition. The state standards drive our instruction, and a deep understanding of math concepts, coupled with strong math fluency, leads our students to success with upper elementary standards.