Nestled in the historic town of Roxbury, one of the oldest cities in Massachusetts, the David A. Ellis Elementary School sits a stone's throw away from the epicenter of the city of Boston. Founded by his namesake David A. Ellis (1873 - 1929), a former Boston School Committee chair, our school was built in 1932.
David Ellis graduated from Harvard University in 1894 and from Harvard Law school 1896. In a service naming the school, David Ellis was praised as “one who, as a school official, put the education of the children first.”
The David a Ellis school was opened as a first and second grade building. Later another floor was added to the school and additional classes were housed there. Before the new building opened in 1932, students attended school in the gracious mansion which now is Home to the national Center for Afro-American Artists. The Higginson school, to which most students went after the Ellis had no auditorium, so their many pageants and productions were also held in the David A. Ellis School auditorium. In addition to fostering academic achievement, the school had a rich early history of performing arts, musical productions, pageants and festivals of all kinds.
The David A. Ellis school has a rich history and many illustrious graduates many of whom are still active parts of the Roxbury Community today. Members of the Ellis Alumni Project Committee interviewed many of these graduates years ago. Through this project there is a shared collection of articles and photographs detailing the early history of the school (1932-1939).
In 1987 the David a Ellis School obtained a grant from the Schools/College Collaborative Program of the Massachusetts board of regents. The grant established a partnership with three colleges working in the area: Boston University, Simmons College and Wheelock college.
The David A. Ellis School has been a staple in the Roxbury Community for decades and continues to be a cornerstone in a neighborhood that boasts a rich historical culture and our current scholars now a part of this legacy.