1950s pic of Mark Twain Elementary school bus and students

School History

The history of Mark Twain Elementary School building originally built in 1956.

School History

1950s picture of bus and students at Mark Twain Elementary

On October 24, 1955, the Bettendorf School District purchased 7.029 acres of land, the future site of Mark Twain Elementary School, for $10,500. The new school building, located at 1620 Lincoln Road, opened its doors in the fall of 1956. The original school was a one story, brick, concrete, and steel structure built at a cost of $175,000. Seven rooms housed 206 students in kindergarten through 6th grade, with six classroom teachers, three special class teachers, and principal Marvin McMorran.

1950s picture of exterior of Mark Twain Elementary

The first addition was constructed in 1958 and added a two-story section with eight additional classrooms and an all-purpose room. The enrollment of the school increased to 315 students. Another addition to the building was completed in 1966, consisting of another two-story addition with eight classrooms and 481 students.

1958 picture of Mark Twain with two story addition on north side of building

In the summer of 1998, extensive renovation of the facility expanded the library and made way for a new technology center. An elevator was also added, making the school handicapped accessible. During the summer of 1999, tons of earth were moved to clear the way for a larger parking lot and turn-a-round area at the Lincoln Road entrance. Air conditioning was installed in the media center, tech center, guidance office, and food service preparation area, and classrooms and hallways were carpeted.

Wall-mounted cafeteria tables in the gym were removed in the summer of 2003, and the gym stage was renovated to provide storage for new lunchroom tables. Security for the building was improved with the addition of a fence around the upper playground and the installation of outdoor security cameras.

During the summer of 2004, a 3.5 million dollar renovation added air-conditioning to all classrooms and remodeled the entire upper floor of the building. A new heating and cooling system was installed, in place of the original boilers. Exterior doors at the main entrance were replaced, as was the railing on the staircase. The office area was reconfigured to allow visual monitoring of those entering the building and to provide more efficient office space. Each classroom received a new entry and door system, white board, tack-board wall, and cabinetry. Some classroom carpet was replaced, and all transom window panels were replaced with cement block. The restrooms on the upper level were completely remodeled, with new tile floors and walls, new stalls, and self-flushing fixtures and automatic sinks. A new staff restroom was created in the upper grade wing, the entry-ways were recarpeted with replaceable carpet tiles, and drop ceilings were added in the hallways (both upper and lower). The counselor’s office was relocated to a more central location, and a small conference room designated for use by auxiliary personnel was also created. New playground equipment was installed on the upper playground.

Renovation continued during the summer of 2005, when all lower level classrooms and restrooms were remodeled. Exterior doors at the lower level entrance and both interior and exterior doors of the gym were replaced. Additional cabinetry was added in the staff room, and the lower level entryway was carpeted with removable carpet tiles.

In the spring of 2008, interactive electronic whiteboards were installed in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classrooms through a Scott County Regional Authority grant. Additional electronic whiteboards were installed in 2nd grade classrooms in the summer of 2010.


In 1961, Mark Twain was the first elementary school in Bettendorf school system to have a central library. The Mark Twain PTA approved the purchase of lumber for shelves and made a librarian desk out of donated plywood. Used book dividers were also donated. Mothers volunteered their service, as there was no librarian.

In 2007, thanks to a Bettendorf Schools Foundation Grant and an SCRA grant, the library was redecorated and the first instructional interactive whiteboard for students in the district was installed.

Mark Twain was the first elementary school in the Bettendorf to receive NCA (North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement) accreditation in 1993. The NCA commended the school for its efforts in providing its students a quality program of education.

In October of 2007, Mark Twain Elementary welcomed the district’s first therapy dog, when Nip was introduced to the students at an assembly. Nip was a certified therapy dog and is a graduate of CARES, Inc., in Concordia, Kansas. The yellow Labrador lived with Mrs. Glancy, the school secretary, while working at Mark Twain, and attended guidance classes with the school guidance counselor, Mrs. Douglas. Mrs. Glancy & Nip retired from Mark Twain in 2014. Mark Twain hired Tinker, a golden retriever, to fill the certified therapy dog position in March 2016. Tinker lives with Mark Twain Counselor Shannon Harmon.