Kate Duncan Smith DAR School is located in the Appalachian area of Northeast Alabama, high on Gunter Mountain. The school is located in Grant in Marshall County.
The Alabama Society DAR established the school in 1924 and named it in honor of Kate Duncan Smith (Mrs. J. Morgan), who had been the guiding hand for the Alabama Chapters for twenty-one years. In April, 1928, the Alabama Daughters were joined in their noble efforts by the National Society DAR.
Several possible locations were considered but the selection of the present site was determined by its isolation and great need for improved educational opportunities; the interest, enthusiasm and great desire of the mountain people for a school; a highly intelligent native population, many of whom were descendants of Revolutionary ancestors; and the beauty of the site on the edge of Gunter mountain overlooking historic Kennamer Cove.
Kate Duncan Smith is more that just a school for mountain boys and girls. It is woven and ingrained into the hearts of its students and graduates and has become the major force in the development of the local population educationally, economically, socially, physically, and spiritually. The "Gem of Gunter Mountain" stands as a monument to the love and devotion of the DAR. Because of the love and concern of Daughters everywhere, this Gem sparkles more brightly each year.
Kate Duncan Smith DAR School, Inc. (KDS), organized by the Alabama Society Daughters of the American Revolution (ASDAR) in 1924 and joined by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) in 1928, provides a high-quality education for the students of Gunter Mountain. The non-residential school provides academic, patriotic, and social opportunities for children of the largely rural area of Marshall County, Alabama.
The purpose of the school continues with the honored goals to instill in students a sense of patriotism, an understanding of civic responsibility, and an appreciation for the heritage and history of this great nation, while also providing a high-quality academic foundation beginning in Pre-K through 12th grade that will prepare students for life beyond KDS.
Today, more than 1,300 students, almost 60% of whom live at or below the poverty level, have the privilege of attending this DAR School. The school campus has grown from the original four-classroom building to include 240 acres of land and 40 buildings, 11 of which are faculty residences. The KDS campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district and is home to a number of area landmarks.
As a part of the Marshall County School District, the school receives funding and support that is required to facilitate the ongoing academic and facility needs of this institution. School administrators and teaching staff integrate the academic goals of the Alabama State Department of Education and the Marshall County Board of Education. A written cooperative agreement between the Marshall County Board of Education and KDS outlines the expectations of fair and equitable funding and the division of responsibilities pertaining to facilities.
To ensure high quality education opportunities for the students, NSDAR, ASDAR, DAR state societies and chapters, alumni, and local businesses and organizations provide funding for a variety of supplemental educational and social programs, perpetuate the school's mission, and provide funding for the building and maintenance of the facilities and grounds of KDS.
The management and control of KDS DAR School, Inc. is vested in a Board of Trustees. The business management and administrative operations of the school is the responsibility of the Executive Director who is selected and employed by the Board of Trustees.
The mission of Kate Duncan Smith DAR School, Inc. is to provide opportunities for educational and personal growth for students, while emphasizing patriotism, responsible citizenship, and the historical legacy of the school.
We believe the privilege of a sound education is a heritage, which should be enjoyed by all citizens of our country.
We believe the school environment should be disciplined with emphasis on positive attitudes, academic excellence, and patriotism.
We believe the historical legacy of the school should be preserved and promoted.
We believe it is vitally important to maintain the vision of our founders, the Alabama Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, that “children be trained in the knowledge and practice of pure and noble citizenship.”
We believe it is essential to collaborate with the Marshall County Board of Education, the Alabama State Department of Education, the Marshall County Commission, and the citizens of Gunter Mountain to provide quality educational instruction within a safe learning environment.
We believe it is our responsibility to enhance educational opportunities and provide resources for the personal growth and well-being of students.
We believe in preserving the historical buildings on campus.
We believe in maintaining campus facilities while planning for future growth.
We believe fostering relationships with stakeholders is vital to the mission of Kate Duncan Smith DAR School.
We believe, as did our founders, in maintaining the “same spirit of dedication to achievement, patriotic and moral values, and service to community and country… on the campus today as it did in the early years of this unique educational experiment of the Daughters of the American Revolution.”