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Almost Yesterday is a glimpse into the rich history of our region. Dr. Frank Nickell takes listeners on a journey to specific moments in time, such as the first radio broadcast on KFVS, the history of Farmington’s Carleton College, and the short-lived safari on a Mississippi River island. A gifted storyteller and local historian, Dr. Nickell’s wit and love for the past are combined with sounds and music that augment his narrative.On Saturday, June 7, 2008, Almost Yesterday received First Place in the "Special Programs" category at the Missouri Broadcasters Association Awards Banquet in Kansas City, Missouri.Almost Yesterday airs every Wednesday at 5:42 and 7:42 a.m. and 5:18 p.m.

Almost Yesterday: Malden School System Expands Service

Providing for Handicapped Children, 1957 - 1958
Southeast Missouri State University

It seems like Almost Yesterday that the Malden, Missouri School System introduced a new era in southeast Missouri education. With the beginning of the 1957-1958 school year, the Malden schools, for the very first time, provided special education classes for handicapped children.

Approved by the state Department of Education, Malden was the first district in the Missouri Bootheel to incorporate special education into the daily schedule. A dedicated classroom and a dedicated program replaced the home bound system initiated in 1950 by Ms. Della Zimmerman, a teacher in the Malden system.

For several years, Ms. Zimmerman, a full-time instructor during the day, took lessons to handicapped students in their homes – after school and in the evenings.

In the early 1950s the Missouri Department of Education recognized the growing need and national trend, but, it took three years before there were sufficient funds to support this new area of instruction.

In addition, like other districts, the Malden schools had limited space and an absence of qualified instructors to meet the needs of special students. But, when a new junior high was constructed, a room was set aside for what was then called, “Special Education,” and the first class of five students was formed. Mrs. Elva Eiceman, a local elementary teacher, acquired specialized training, and became the assigned instructor.

By the fall of 1957 state support for special education was provided for [1] students who were able to attend classes, [2] students who were home bound and unable to attend classes, and [3] those who were in the system with measured progress.

In Malden, Missouri, a closed door was opened for special children.

Frank Nickell is a retired history professor at Southeast Missouri State University.
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