BOOKS USED.-Spelling-Cummings' and Introduction to National. Reading-American First Class Book, National Reader Introduction 10 National Reader and Young Reader. Grammar-Smith's. Geography-Smith's, Olney's and Parley's. Arithmetic-Adams', Smith's, Colburn's First Lessons and Emerson's First Part. All others--Walker's Dictionary, Blake's and Comstock's Philosophy, Watts on the Mind.

SELECTIONS FROM REPORT. Your committee feel happy in being able to say, that as a general thing, the schools in this town are improving. They would also take this occasion to remark, that since the late districting of the town, the schoolhouses have mostly been' thoroughly repaired, and are all now in good condition.

It is with great pleasure that they announce to the inhabitants of this town, that in proportion to the population or valuation of the town, there are but few towns in this vicinity that grant so large a sum of money for the support of schools as this. Yet, in some respects, there is apparently great indifference to the subject of education; and, as it comes legitimately within the province of the committee, to make such suggestions in relation to the Public Schools, as seem to them deserving attention, they would, in this place, suggest the importance of parents' generally attending the examinations of the schools, and also, that they make occasional visits during their continuance.

The practice, which seems to have been increasing for a few years past, of committing the care of the winter schools, in the smaller districts, to female teachers, is one which meets the approbation of your committee; for some females are well qualified and skilled in the art of teaching, and will rank among the first class of inale teachers, and therefore, it is good economy to employ them, for, by so doing, their schools are considerably lengthened. There are, also, in the female character and disposition, an aptness to teach, and a faculty of guining the affections of children, that eminently qualify them for that employment.

As there are among us, several females possessing the legal and necessary qualifications of teachers, we would recommend to your prudential committees in the small districts, to employ them in preference to employing a male teacher, who should chance to go about, from town to town, in search of employment, even though his pockets should be filled with paper recommendations. The late act of the Legislature, requiring, that in every school in this Commonwealth, containing fifty scholars, as an average number, there shall be employed a female assistant or assistants, does not reach any of the schools in this town, except those in districts No. 1 and 11, in each of which it has been the practice for a few years past, to divide the scholars in the winter schools, placing those, under a certain age, under the care of a female teacher, while the older scholars compose a school for a inale teacher. The good effects of this arrangement are too well known to need any comments thereon.

In conclusion, your committee would remark, that they sincerely wish that parents would manifest a more lively interest in visiting the schools, and also that the conviction may become as general as it is true, that the best teachers are always the cheapest in the end, whatever may be the price demanded for their services.



[ocr errors]


S (1) Population, 1,903. Valuation, $375,452 50.

Number of Public Schools, 12. (2) No. of Scholars of all ages in all the Schools—In Summer, 380-In Winter, 525. (3) Average attendance in the Schools—In Summer, 271-In Winter, 381. (4) No. of persons between 4 and 16 years of age in the town, 477.--No. of persons under 4 years of

age who attend School, 37.-No. over 16 years of age who attend School, 81. (5) Aggregate length of the Schools, 72 mths. 21 days.-In Summer, 39-In Winter, 33 21. (6) No. of Teachers in Summer-M. -F. 11.-No. of Teachers in Winter–M. 12-F. 1. (7) Average wages paid per month, including board— To Males, $26 58—To Females, $ 10 12. (8) Average value of board per month-Of Males, $7 94—Of Females, $5 18. (9) Average wages per month, exclusive of board Of Males, $18 62–Of Females, $5 04.

(10) Amount of money raised by taxes for the support of Schools, including only the wages of

Teachers, board and fuel, $1,400. (11) Amount of board and fuel, if any, contributed for Public Schools, $ (12) No. of incorporated Academies, -Aggregate of months kept, -Average No. of

Scholars, .-Aggregate paid for tuition, $ (13) No. of unincorporated Academies, Private Schools, and Schools kept to prolong Common

Schools, 4.-Aggregate of months kept, 17.-Average No. of Scholars, 90.-Aggre

gate paid for tuition, $182 75. (14) Amount of Local Funds, $ --Income from same, $

BOOKS USED.- -Spelling -Franklin Primer, Leonard's Spelling Book, Walker's Dictionary. Reading-Young Reader, Introduction to the National Reader, American First Class Book, Young Ladies' Class Book, Testament. Grammar-Frost's, Ingersoll's, Smith’s. Geography -Peter Parley's, Olney's, Malte-Brun's. Arithmetic-Emerson's, Colburu's First Lessons, Smith's and Adams'. All others-History of the U. S., Blake's Philosophy, Wilkins' Astronomy, Whelpley's Coinpend, Blair's Rhetoric, Watts on the Mind.

[ocr errors]




In our opinion, the summer schools are not sufficiently prized by the community. They are comparatively cheap, and, like too many other things of little cost, are too lightly estimated. Hence, there is little pains taken to secure a regular attendance of the pupils; and an entire desertion of them by many, who might be much profited by a longer attendance.

From the above statements and table, it will be seen that your committee have found much, which is worthy of praise. It is with regret that they add, that in their opinion, the community do not derive all the benefit they have a right to expect, from the liberal appropriation they annually make for the Common Schools. We would respectfully point out what, in our opinion, are some of the causes of this defect. Many of the schoolhouses are less pleasant and comfortable than they ought to be. The stoves either smoke badly, or but imperfectly warm the rooms. There are no means of ventilating them, or keeping out the bright glare of the sun; and thus the children, instead of finding the school-room agreeable, become fretful and uneasy, and suffer from weak

eyes and headaches, if not from more serious and dangerous diseases. A few dollars, expended in stoves, blinds, &c., would remedy the evil, and richly repay the parents, in the increased comfort and health of their children.

We find by the registers, that the average attendance is but three fourths of the whole number of pupils. This is a very serious detriment to improvement. Those pupils who are absent, soon fall behind their classes, become discouraged, and waste the remnant of time they still possess. Nor is the evil confined to the absent. The classes are deranged, and the teacher obliged to spend much valuable time, in restoring order and regularity.

It is neither the business nor the intention of your committee, to discuss the merits or demerits of balls, dancing schools, &c., but our teachers unanimously declare, that their pupils make little or no progress, while devoted to pursuits so foreign to the exercises of the schools. As we cannot, for a moment, weigh mere personal accomplishments and amusing pastimes, against moral and intellectual culture, we seriously put the question to the minds of parents and guardians, whether it is not a duty, to discourage all such exercises or amusements, by their children, during the time of our Common Schools. Another reason, why our Common Schools

are not as useful as formerly, is, the pupils leave them at too early an age. Twenty years since, it was by no means a rare thing to find pupils, even twenty, twenty-five, or more years of age, who had not learned all they thought might be learned, in our Common Schools. Now, we find few in them over sixteen. Do the superior advantages of these times compensate for the four or five years lost ? The improvements in books and methods of instruction, may give the pupil of our time some advantage, but they are no equivalent for the loss of his schooling, at a period when the mind is almost arrived at maturity, and fully conscious of its wants and its responsibilities. Will not parents and guardians look to this evil, and provide a remedy? Will not our young men and young women re

[ocr errors]

member, that unless they sow the seed of moral and intellectual worth, in the spring-time of life, the harvest will be meagre indeed ?

There is too much willingness on the part of both parents and children, to think that a little of a great many things makes a finished education. Hence, pupils are often taken from the Common Schools, before their best powers are developed, and set to learn a little painting, a little philosophy, a smattering of French, and, if perchance they can put together a few lines of poetry, in defiance of all the rules of good English, rhyme or common sense, they are regarded as finished scholars. Their schoolmates, who cannot enjoy this railroad method of being polished into accomplished young gentlemen and ladies, feel disgusted and disheartened with their old school, and leave it, at the very time they are best qualified to acquire that really useful knowledge, which is the only sure foundation of future success and respectability.

When we remember that the Common Schools are the only means of education most of our children will enjoy, it is a matter of surprise, that there is so much indifference in regard to them. A very liberal allowance of money is each year raised for them,—all the requisites for carrying them on, are provided, and then, for all the teacher or pupils are made to feel, they are forgotten, or trusted to chance. Do you employ a carpenter to build you a house, and feel no interest in the progress of the work, or the manner in which it is done? Do you hire a man to labor on your farms and give him no assistance, either by your judgmept or your own hands ? Do you permit him, through ignorance or unfaithfulness, to root up the fruit-bearing grain, while he suffers the soil to be overrun with weeds ? And are the morals and intellects of your children of less importance than your houses or lands?

Before our schools will be what they ought to be, every parent must feel an interest in them. Let the teacher be regarded as your fellow-laborer in a great moral work; a work in which you have a hundred times more interest than he has; and impress, upon the minds of your children, that their interest is greatest of all. When you once get a good teacher, cherish him as a treasure, which, if once lost, cannot easily be replaced. There is no one, who ought to rank higher, in the estimation of the community, than an able and faithful teacher. Do not lose the services of such, even should your schools be a week or two shorter.

Another and very serious cause of the low state of our Common Schools, is the incompetence of teachers. It is apparent to all, that the acquirements of pupils will fall, in general, considerably below those of the teacher. What, then, can be expected of a school, whose teacher is hardly qualified for the first class in it? This evil, we are aware, is less easily obviated than some others; but, by the combined efforts of the community at large, and the prudential and examining committees, much can be done. On the part of the community, there must be a deeper interest in the welfare of our schools, and a more strenuous effort to raise their character, for they, after all, are the great source whence we must draw most of our teachers, till the Normal, or other schools, can supply the demand. Then the wages of the faithful and capable teacher must be raised, so that he will be encouraged to devote himself to this employment. Teaching is thought to be an exceedingly easy occupation by those who have never tried it; but those who have experienced its labors, its cares and its responsibilities, feel the injustice of requiring the well qualified teacher to labor, for the short period which he is employed, for a less compensation than the mechanic obtains by the year. On the part of the prudential committee, there is need of the strictest care. No teacher should be engaged, who is not believed to be a thorough and efficient one. Let it be remembered, that a few weeks, well spent, are better than many of idleness and disorder.

lo taking leave of our fellow-citizens, the committee commend our schools to their most vigilant care. On them, rest the highest and most cherished hopes of our social and domestic circles and of our country.





years of


Ş (1) Population, $2,122. Valuation, $461,078 70. {(1)

Number of Public Schools, 9. (2) No. of Scholars of all ages in all the Schools—In Summer, 369—In Winter, 378. (3) Average attendance in the Schools—In Summer, 241-In Winter, 266. (4) No. of persons between 4 and 16 years of age in the town, 494.-No. of persons under 4

age who attend School, 41.-No. over 16 years of age who attend School, 29. (5) Aggregate length of the Schools, 57 mths. 7 days.-In Summer, 30—In Winter, 27 7. (6) No. of Teachers in Summer-M. -F. 11.–No. of Teachers in Winter-M. 6—7.5. (7) Average wages paid per month including board—To Males, $24 89—To Females, $11 18. (8) Average value of board per month-of Males, $7 72–Of Females, $5 51. (9) Average wages per month exclusive of board-Of Males, $17 17-Of Females, $5 67. (10) Amount of money raised by taxes for the support Schools, including only the wages of

Teachers, board and fuel, $1,164 50. (11) Amount of board and fuel, if any, contributed for Public Schools, $ (12) No. of incorporated Academies, 1.-Aggregate of months kept, 12.-Average No. of

Scholars, 120.-Aggregate paid for tuition, $1,819 41. (13) No. of unincorporated Acadmies, Private Schools, and Schools kept to prolong Common

Schools, 5.-Aggregate of months kept, 19.-Average No. of Scholars, 89.-Aggre

gale paid for tuition, $208. (14) Amount of Local Funds, $ .-Income from same, $

BUOKS USED.- -Spelling—Emerson's National, Introduction to do. Reading-Child's Guide, Introduction to National Reader, American First Class Book, New Testainent. Grammar Pond's Murray's. Geography-Peter Parley's,

Olney's with Atlas. Arithmetic-North American First Part, Smith's, Adams'. All others—Sullivan's Political Class Book, Goodrich's History of the U.S., Worcester's Dictionary.





SELECTIONS FROM REPORT. We believe there exists a growing interest in the schools, on the part of parents, and a growing desire on the part of teachers, to meet the increased expectations and demands which are made upon them. We are confident that our district schools have accomplished great good in the town, during the past year; and with regard to the majority of them, we are satisfied that they have been taught in an improved man

We would not omit to notice the great improvement made in the schoolhouse in the centre district, during the last year. The alterations, repairs and additions have made it, substantially, a new building. It has two schoolWe speak particularly of the larger one, when

we say that, in respect to its internal arrangement of seats, desks, &c., it affords a good model to any other district in town, which may be contemplating the repair of its schoolhouse.

While we offer our favorable opinion, with respect to the good condition of our district schools, we would not be understood to intimate that there are no defects in them, or that there is not room and necessity for very great improvements. The opinion we have expressed, is to be regarded as a relative one ; i. e. we think that the prudential committee men, and the several teachers, with scarcely an exception, have exerted themselves to discharge faithfully their respective duties, according to their ability, and in conformity to the existing standard of Common School excellence. Where defects have existed, or now exist, they have generally been the perpetuation of long-established customs, not the result of neglect or of indifference, on the part of district committee men or teachers.

We would now advert to one evil which exists in all our schools, and which is, we think, a great evil. We speak of the haste on the part of scholars, as they become somewhat advanced in their studies, to press forward, and go over a large field of study. This desire is too often fostered by parents, and not kept within

proper limits by teachers. In arithmetic, for instance, we find it a very general object with scholars, who cipher at all, to “ cipher through." Their attention is bent on getting through the book, at some rate, before the school ends. And this, in multiplied cases, is done; and when they have got

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

through the book, they frequently know but a very little of it accurately. The same thing is repeated the next school season, with about the same result. Short lessons, thoroughly learned and perfectly recited, must be the remedy of this. It would be an incalculable benefit to all concerned, if the rule should be universally adopted, that no scholar should advance any further, or any faster, than he had thoroughly learned, and could well understand.

There is another subject to which we would direct the attention of all who feel a parent's or a patriot's interest in our Common Schools. We mean the character and qualifications of the teachers. We rejoice to be able to say, that, so far as we have learned, each and every teacher in our district schools, during the past year, has been a person of good moral character. Had there been deficiency in this respect, in the case of any teacher, we should consider all other benefits which had been, or could be, derived from his labors, as far overbalanced by the amount of evil he had done. We are now speaking of other qualifications, indispensable to fit one to be a competent teacher of youth. The great and urgent want, felt in Common Schools over all the State, is of better qualified teachers—of persons both male and female, (but especially the latter,) who shall be thoroughly prepared to conduct a school; and able to teach the best things in the best manner. Allow us briefly to call your attention to this matter, as it concerns our own town.

This town raised the sum of twelve hundred dollars, the last year, for the support of schools,,an evidence that its inhabitants are by no means insensible to the importance of these institutions, nor unwilling to make good provision for their support. Now the expenditure of this sum should be carefully watched, for two reasons. 1st. Because it is too large a sum for this, or any town, to lose through any misapplication ; but, for a vastly more important reason, 2d. because it is the fund on which the great body of our children are, each year, depending for the attainment of that knowledge which is absolutely necessary to their respectability and usefulness in life, and still more to their own personal comfort and self-respect. The town, we say, owes it to itself-parents owe it to themselves, and, by a most sacred obligation, to their children, to see that this sum is expended to the best possible purpose. Doing this faithfully, would be of far greater advantage to the schools, than the raising of double the present appropriation. And this may be done, and in a simple manner, viz. create a demand for better qualified teachers. Let the demand exist, and there will assuredly be a supply. The way to create the demand is, to become, ourselves, more sensible of the importance of this subject. Then, as a matter of course, higher and more adequate wages will be offered to teachers; and thus, there will be held out to all young persons, who purpose to become teachers, a powerful inducement to qualify themselves for the stationwhich, in importance, we believe is second to none that can be named.*

The committee do, therefore, earnestly recommend to the several school districts that they offer more liberal wages, and thus secure better teachers. The great object ought to be, we think, not to find who will keep the school for the least money, but who will do it to the greatest advantage to the children. By pursuing this course, the schools would become of diminished length, indeed; but this result would be most richly compensated for, by the iniprovement in the manner of instruction, and also by the increased punctuality and regularity with which children would, doubtless, attend a school which held out such superior attractions.

It is no part of our recommendation, that the teachers of our district schools should be taken from a class different from that which has furnished them hitherto. We do not believe that the result of the course we so warmly recommend, would be to displace the great body of teachers now employed. There is native ability and worth in that body, from which the teachers of our Common Schools are now taken, equal to that of any other; we know not, indeed, to what other quarter we could look with so much confidence. Our object, and desire, is to hold out to these very persons, an inducement to devote more time and effort to qualify themselves suitably, in every way, to discharge

* We should doubtless except the parents'.

« ForrigeFortsett »