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History of MPUSD

The first school on the Monterey Peninsula was Colton Hall on Pacific Street in Monterey. The California Constitutional Convention was held at Colton Hall in 1849, six months after the first school had opened. The first school master was Samuel Hopkins Wiley, Chaplin of the Convention. His classes contained forty to fifty students of all ages who spoke only in Spanish.  Revered Wiley is also credited with establishing the first public library in California.

Classes continued at Colton Hall until 1897. Classes were then transferred to the Pacific Street School which was a block away. All grades, including high school, were housed at the Pacific Street School until 1915.  That year, a one-story concrete building called Monterey Grammar School was built on the 700 Pacific Street site. The name was changed to Walter Colton School in 1935. In 1953, this complex was converted to administrative offices.

In the 1920's, the Monterey Union High School District stretched from the Pajaro River near Watsonville to the Big Sur River and included all of the Carmel Valley. In 1934, the high school district had twenty-two elementary school districts within its service area. The Carmel District was formed from a portion of the Monterey High School District in 1941. Gradually through the years, elementary districts were changed, combined, or transferred to adjacent districts.

On April 20, 1965, the people voted to combine the Monterey City School District, the Monterey Union High School District, and the Marina School District. At the time of unification in 1966, only the Marina Elementary Districts remained within the boundaries of the Monterey High School District. On July 1, 1966, the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District began operations.

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