Martin Luther King Middle School opened in September 1973 and represented a new concept in education. It was the first middle school for the Omaha Public Schools and it offered 800 students in the north Omaha community access to industrial arts, homemaking, art, and science - subjects not currently available to youngsters this age in a regular elementary building.
The school was built to provide a learning program tailored to the needs of fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students. Not only was it constructed for team teaching, but its design also made it possible for youngsters to experiment in art, music, and science.
Building specifications for Martin Luther King went to the Board of Education in April 1969. The new school would help alleviate crowded conditions that existed at Clifton Hill and Franklin elementary schools. The school was named after Dr. Martin Luther King because it was felt he served as a role model to both black and white youngsters alike.
The original philosophy of the Martin Luther King School was a plan to make the school fit the child, not the child fit the school. The staff set forth the following goals: 1) to obtain an education, considering his/her individual abilities and needs; 2) to learn citizenship and democracy, emphasizing interest and participation in world and community problems; 3) to develop a healthy body; 4) to develop emotionally, morally, and socially so that he/she is increasingly able to cope with life's problems; and 5) to develop cultural and aesthetic appreciation.
The location of the building was not without controversy. Many in the black community felt it would add to segregation, and members came before the Board of Education to heighten awareness of growing concerns. However, crowded conditions in many area schools necessitated that the building be located within the community.
In 1976, when the Omaha Public Schools' Desegregation Plan was implemented, Martin Luther King Middle School reflected a new concept in education &endash; it became one of two ninth grade centers. This plan offered a unique educational method for integrating youngsters at the junior high level in providing special educational programs. The idea was to make the long bus rides students would face a worthwhile experience. The consensus was that more could be done instrumentally with one grade level in the building.
King Middle School was located at 3706 Maple Street on an eleven-acre site. In 1988, Martin Luther King Middle School moved to its new location at 3720 Florence Blvd., which was formerly Horace Mann Middle School. The school was renamed King Science Center and now would house elementary students in one wing and middle school students in the other. In the summer of 2000, the renovation process began with the completion of the project in the summer of 2004 with the final construction cost of $11, 682,099.00. In 2003, technology was added as a magnet theme and the school was renamed King Science and Technology Magnet Center.
Today, the King Science and Technology Magnet Center serves as a district-wide middle school magnet giving all students from across the Omaha area an opportunity to attend. Students in the grades 5-8 study biology, astronomy, chemistry, earth sciences, and physics. Each grade level engages in science lessons in renovated science laboratories. King also has a planetarium, where students explore the solar system and the universe. In addition to the extensive science curriculum, students are involved in an exceptional offering of the core content areas of reading, language arts, mathematics, and social studies. Most of these core curricular areas include a focus on science themes as well. Technology is an essential component to the education at King Science and Technology Magnet. There are four classroom technology labs, multiple learning labs, and a science technology lab. Students utilize a variety of technology-based equipment including palm-pilots, probe ware, graphing calculators, and digital cameras. The annual school-wide science fair showcases students' abilities through projects that are the result of the integration of science and technology.