Bethany Charter School is a K-8 public school chartered by the Silver Falls School District. Our curriculum focuses on natural sciences and technology, enriched with art, physical education and music in a small school atmosphere. We promote academic excellence, fostering respect and a love for learning with strong family and community support.
About Our School
Bethany School is one of Silverton area's community-heritage schools; still serving families of K-8 students in a building whose history stretches back over a century.
Records first mention Bethany holding school in 1854, apparently in four different places: It met in the home of Elias and Lucia Cox, influential and generous settlers, perhaps until the Bethany Christian Church building was built in 1858 on land the Coxes had donated. (The Bethany cemetery remains on the church land, but the beautiful white building, which stood at the east end, was demolished in 1946). The school met in the church building and also, with a teacher named Fones Wilbur, in Thomas Shaw's store building. (Thomas Shaw was in the Gilliam party that discovered Minto Pass).
In 1865, as the Civil War ended, the community met at the church to organise a school district. In 1868 they rented a building from Dr. Hutton; and by 1869, $96.50 of the necessary $100 had been raised and a new school building was completed to the west of the existing one. (Characteristically, Mr. Cox said he'd wait for the rest of the money.) Enrollment was 45; average attendance 18 ½.
In 1886, Mr. Cox (again) donated land, and, in 1890 , 31 years after the first school was built, the initial part of the present building was constructed. It boasted a bell, a woodshed for the woodstove, a teacher's desk on a platform, and a hand dug well with a dipper. Paper was scarce, so slates were used.
Additions over the years, starting in 1910 with a second room on the west, a playshed (added during the Depression), an "auditorium" in 1948, and extensive later additions,transformed the facade to a modern looking exterior.
One early teacher deserves special mention: Peter Burnett. His uncle, Peter H. Burnett, who came to Oregon in 1843, became the first Governor of California!
On June 14, 2004 the Charter application was approved and signed.
Bethany Charter School is a K-8 school with a science and technology focus supported by teachers, staff, parents and the community which encourages each individual student to achieve academic and creative excellence, no matter what their level or ability, in an environment which fosters stimulating instruction and opportunities for students to develop self-worth and a respect for learning.