Our District History
The Carman-Ainsworth Community Schools dates back to the 1830’s. Early records show that School District #8 was established in 1837. In 1847, this district was renamed the Carman School District in honor of Elijah Carman, a farmer who donated a section of his land for use as a school site. This historic site is at the modern-day corner of Bristol and Fenton Roads. The original Carman School District was only a small fraction of the size of the current Carman-Ainsworth school district. The 1950’s and 1960’s saw several smaller districts – Rankin, Graham, Hoover, Dye, Utley – merge with the formerly tiny Carman district to form the geographical boundaries of the current district. Since July 10, 1961, the outline and size of the district has essentially remained unchanged.
This new district had quadrupled its enrollment overnight in July, 1961. With the exception of the City of Flint, it was the largest school district in the county. The burgeoning school system required new school buildings to accommodate the growing community. In the fall of 1961, a new high school was opened and named after the father-son team, Donnelson and Wayne Ainsworth, who between the two had held a seat on the Carman Board of Education for over 60 years. Ainsworth High School was overcrowded with students the day it opened. District officials immediately began plans to build a second high school in the north end of the district. In 1967, Carman High School opened as the sister high school to Ainsworth. Simultaneously, the Carman School District was divided into two K-12 attendance zones with students in the southern end of the district graduating from Ainsworth and students in the northern end graduating from Carman.
In 1986, the Carman School District officially changed its name to the Carman-Ainsworth Community Schools. This change was motivated by two issues. The first was a desire to reflect the dual K-12 communities that existed in the district. The second reason for the name change was to designate the “community school” approach embraced by the staff and Board. In 1970, the Carman School district experienced its highest historical enrollment with nearly 10,000 K-12 students. Enrollment started to decline in the 1970’s with the decline of the automotive industry. By the mid 1980’s, the student population had dropped to around 5,000 and economic realities necessitated the closure of several school buildings. All three of the middle schools were closed and sold. The district reorganized from two high schools and K-12 attendance zones to one. Ainsworth High School became the sole junior high school and Carman High School became the sole high school.