Bessie Ellison Elementary is named after Mrs. Bessie Ellison, a former principal and superintendent. The school originally opened its doors to 175 students on November 14, 1954 as part of the Platte Valley R-1 School District. In 1967, the school was annexed to the St.Joseph School District.
Ellison Elementary was recognized in the spring of 2007 as a Missouri "Gold Star" school for high academic performance. In October, 2007, Ellison was nationally recognized as a "Blue Ribbon School of Excellence" by the U.S. Department of Education.