[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


(1) Population, 2,602. Valuation, $458,248 75.

Number of Public Schools, 11. (2) No. of Scholars of all ages in all the Schools—In Summer, 439—In Winter, 533. (3) Average attendance in the Schools—In Summer, 310-In Winter, 410. (4) No. of persons between 4 and 16 years of age in the town, 723.—No. of persons under 4

years of age who attend School, 34.—No. over 16 years of age who attend School, 29. (5) Aggregate length of the Schools, 71 mths. 6 days.-In Summer, 38—In Winter, 33 6. (6) No. of Teachers in Summer-M. -F.9.-No. of Teachers in Winter—M. 7–F. 4. (7) Average wages paid per month, including board—To Males, $24 50—To Females, $13 26. (8) Average value of board per month-of Males, $8 57–Of Females, $6 63. (9) Average wages per month, exclusive of board-Of Males, $15 93—Of Females, $6 33. (10) Amount of money raised by taxes for the support of Schools, including only the wages of

Teachers, board and fuel, $1,200. (11) Amount of board and fuel, if any, contributed for Public Schools, $93 67. (12) No. of incorporated Academies, I.-Aggregate of months kept, 11.-Average number of

Scholars, 86.-Aggregate paid for luition, $1,350. (13) No. of unincorporated Academies, Private Schools, and Schools kept to prolong Common

Schools, 9.-Aggregate of months kept, 263.-Average No. of Scholars, 216.-Aggre

gate paid for tuition, $483 20. (14) Amount of Local Funds, $

.-Income from same, $ Books USED.-

---Spelling-Webster's, Emerson's National, Worcester's Primer. Reading, Child's Guide, Young Reader, Analytical Reader, Putnam's Sequel, Porter's Rhetorical Reader and the Bible, Angell's Union Series No. 2, Political Reader.' Grammar-Smith's. Geography-Olney's, Peter Parley's. Arithmetic-Emerson's 1st Part, Smith's' and Colburn's.

SELECTIONS FROM REPORT. A result of their visits, in the minds of the committee, has been to discover many pleasing indications of improvement in some of the schools, and encouraging tokens of increased interest on the part of parents, in elevating the character of those schools; likewise to discover some prominent obstacles to improvement in others, and some causes of their relative deficiencies, to which they will call your attention in this report.

A result of these visits to the schools thernselves, your committee are gratified to state, has been, in many instances, that the suggestions made at such times have been kindly received, both by the teachers and the pupils, and practically adopted, ultimately resulting in their evident improvement, in the particulars of the suggestions.

* And, in this counection, we would express to all concerned in the employment of teachers, the hope that they will not send before the committee for their approval, during the coming year, any one who does not bring with him satisfactory credentials of his fitness for that employment.

It is the duty of every one, who offers himself for employment as a teacher, to furnish himself with, at least, certificates of his thorough knowledge of the branches to be taught, as well as of his moral character, beforehand; and if the prudential committees would be cautious in bringing such, and only such, before the examining committee, the latter would be saved from two great evils; they would neither be obliged to stretch their consciences, in sanctioning the employment of a man of whose actual fitness they had a doubt, nor would

they be driven to the unpleasant necessity of' refusing to sanction, where an engagement, entire or partial, has been made previous to the examination.

While your committee have been gratified in the evidence of improvement, which has appeared in some of the closing examinations, they have in others been disappointed; and they regret to state, that there are, in their view, still


[ocr errors]


existing, some obstacles to the improvement of schools, which can and should be removed.

1. The first of such, which they would designate, is the dilapidated condition, as well as ill construction, of several of the schoolhouses.

From their own observation, as well as from the testimony of hundreds, which is given in the Abstract of the Massachusetts School Returns, throughout the State, they are prepared to urge it upon your attention in this report, as a matter of the highest importance, to the interests of our Public Schools, that our schoolhouses should be rendered more commodious, convenient, and pleasant to the scholars. That they should be more commodious, is essential to the health, and consequently the mental activity of the scholars. Some of our school-rooms are small, low, and crowded; heated with stoves, and imperfectly ventilated, and an unavoidable consequence is, that the teachers, as well as the scholars, suffer from the effects of the impure and injurious air, are languid, and actually unable to attend profitably to the exercises of the schools.

That they should be more convenient, is, in their view, essential likewise to the good government of the schools, to their most profitable arrangement of classes, recitations, &c., as well as to obviate the nois confusion which is now, to a lamentable extent, a prolific occasion of the waste of time and money.

That they should be more pleasant, better finished and better furnished rooms, appear to your committee to be demanded, by considerations of economy, as well as the comfort and contentedness of the scholar. For it is the result of the experience of teachers, who have made suggestions with reference to the construction of school-rooms, that a room thoroughly finished and pleasantly furnished, will be preserved with care, and a pride of neatness, upon the part of the scholars, when uncomfortable desks and seats, as well as dangling clapboards, and dingy and broken walls, will fall before jackknives, which are always thirsty for the havoc.

2. A second, and a grievous obstacle, to the improvement of some of the schools, which the committee would designate, is the irregular attendance of the scholars.

3. A third evil, to which your committee would make a brief allusion, is the interference of parents, in the government of schools. The tendencies of such interference, are too manifestly injurious to justify our dwelling upon them, in this report. The right of such interference, is a matter, likewise, which will not be questioned, when we remember that in' all our democratic institutions, we cede to our executive officers the right to govern, during the term of office, wbich necessarily implies a confidence in their ability to govern justly; and the remedy for a bad administration, lies in the removal of the officer, and not in resisting his executive acts. If it is necessary that a father should govern his own family, it is likewise necessary that a teacher should govern his own school; hence, parents should be studiously cautious not to weaken, in any way, the authority of the teacher, where such authority is necessary to preserve good regulations in school, and secure diligent and respectful attention to all its necessary exercises.

4. The last point your committee would urge upon your attention, in this report, is the neglect of parents to visit frequently, and encourage, the schools, by acquainting themselves with the progress of the scholars, from time to time, and interesting themselves to do all in their power, to secure the profitable improvement of the privileges allowed their children, a neglect which is absolutely unpardonable, considering the importance of the work entrusted to the teacher.

We conclude with expressing the hope, that the interest hitherto excited in the inprovement of our Public Schools, may not decline, but increase, and through the diligence of those to whom you entrust the important duties of their supervision, and the determination of the citizens to elevate their character, and increase the facilities for the education of their children, the schools may become what they should be, the grateful and pleasant home of the child, and the pride o: this enlightened community.



BELCHERTOWN, . {r) Population, 2,598. Valuation, 8408,075 75.

Number of Public Schools, 17. (2) No. of Scholars of all ages in all the Schools-In Summer, 496—In Winter, 711. (3) Average attendance in the Schools-In Summer, 427—In Winter, 460. (4) No. of persons between 4 and 16 years of age in the town, 799.—No. of persons under 4

years age who attend School, 38.—No. over 16 years of age who attend School, 54. (5) Aggregate length of the Schools, 81 mths.-In Summer, 41 14—In Winter, 39 14. (6) No. of Teachers in Summer-M. -F. 14.-No. of Teachers in Winter-M. 11–F.5. (7) Average wages paid per month, including board—To Males, $22 35—To Females, $12 13. (8) Average value of board per month of Males, $6 28_Of Females, $490. (9) Average wages per monthi, exclusive of board-Of Males, $16 07-Of Females, $7 23. (10) Amount of money raised by taxes for the support of Schools, including only the wages of

Teachers, board and fuel, $1,200. (11) Amount of board and fuel, if any, contributed for Public Schools, $200. (12) No. of incorporated Academies, 1.-Aggregate of months kept, 10.--Average number of

Scholars, 36.-Aggregate paid for tuition, $560. (13) No. of unincorporated Academies, Private Schools, and Schools kept to prolong Common

Schools, 3.-Aggregate of months kept, 6.--Average No. of Scholars, 60.-Aggre

gate paid for tuition, $100. (14) Amount of Local Funds, $ .-Income from samc,

BOOKS USED. -Spelling-B. D. Emerson's and Webster's. Reading Porter's Rhetorical Reader, Intellectual Reader, Child's Guide, Easy Lessons, Bible and Testament. GrammarSmith's Productive. Geography-Olney's, Peter Parley's. Arithmetic-Adams’, Colburn's.

REMARK.—The committee cannot vouch for the perfect accuracy of the returns, in regard to the number of scholars in the schools, and the average attendance, as the Registers for 1839–40 were not received until some of the schools had commenced.

SELECTIONS FROM REPORT. * The general aspect of our schools is improving. They are, as a whole, better managed; more care, diligence and competency in teachers, are found, than existed in past years, and more proficiency in the acquisition of knowledge, than has heretofore characterized our schools.

Defects. A want of that order and discipline, in some of our schools, which is indispensable to their highest improvement. Some of this is clearly traceable to the conduct of parents. When a pupil is punished at school for improper conduct, the first edition of the publication, that comes to the parent's notice, is from the pupil, and is too often imperfect

, garbled and untrue; yet it fixes the dislike of the parent upon the teacher, and this is expressed to the pupil, and in his hearing, and fatally bars all further benefit which that teacher can be to that pupil; and often the dislike is expressed to others. An opposition to the teacher follows, and the utility of the school is destroyed. It is too often the case, that the time and money, intended and appropriated for the benefit of a school for months, are almost entirely lost by the ill-judged conduct of parents in this particular,—and it proves, generally, a great mischief to the pu. pil, in his future years, by not only depriving him of the benefits of the school, but justifying himn in an improper course of conduct, which he feels that he can take, with parental approval, in other matters. Strict discipline in school is absolutely necessary to its success. Experience in teachers is all important. Some who undertake to teach, that bear a good examination in the sciences, entirely fail of success for the want of practical knowledge in the management of the school.

Some of our schools are too large ; forty is enough for one teacher; and even a less number would improve more, than a number so large as that. More than forty, we think, onght not to be together in the same room. More than one teacher to the same room is not profitable.

Too little attention is paid to spelling in our schools. This should be made a part of the daily exercise.

We are happy to say, that we believe an improve

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

mert is going on in this respect. Committees, for a few years last past, have been particular in their directions on this point, and we believe this is now, generally, a daily exercise.

lo reading, we find a hurried, indistinct enunciation to be a general fault. This fault is, of course, connected with little observance as to pronunciation and the right pitch of voice. The pupil should be taught to speak audibly, distinctly, and with such moderation, that every word may be heard, and hold its appropriate place in the sentence. The pupil should understand what he reads. To effect this, it may be well that the teacher inquire of the pupil, when a sentence is read, what he has been reading, and the answer should be given with

out reference to the book. This tends to create a desire, in the pupil, to underA stand what he reads, and no pupil will improve much, unless he feels that he is improving

in arithmetic, accuracy is every thing, in both theory and practice. Here, again, there is too much disposition to hurry on in the book ;-the pupil wishes to advance faster in pages than he does in knowledge. We would recominend, that the foundation rules be well learned and understood before the pupil goes to the higher parts of the science. So far as can be, this science should be learned practically. While the rules are in the course of being learned, let them be practically applied.

Grammar. In this science, the aim should be, to learn the philosophy of language. Want of accuracy, in the meaning of words, is a great defect in our schools. Scholars should be taught to define words; it is one of the best exercises for the mind that can be introduced. We believe that teachers are often deficient in this respect.

Geography is a science requiring the exercise of memory. When this is taught by the aid of maps and globes and charts, other faculties are brought to aid the memory, and are a great assistance. We would suggest to the town more attention to the supply of these aids. This science is intimately connected with chronology and history, all of which very much depend on accuracy in the acquisition, and care in retaining the knowledge, we have of either. *

Within the last three years, there has been a great improvement in our schoolhouses. In five of our districts, it is believed, that entire new houses have

been built in that time and others repaired, so that it may be said now, generpally, they are in pretty good repair and convenient. No. 18, however, has no

house; No. 10 needs a new one, and Nos. 3 and 4 need to be new modeled and repaired.

In some cases, teachers have begun their schools before they were examined as to their qualifications. The duty of the committee and of the teacher is made peremptory, on this point, by the law. The examination and certificate must be had before the school is commenced, and the propriety of this provision of the law must be obvious to every one. We are aware, that, with some among us, a feeling has prevailed that the law, requiring a careful examination of teachers and frequent visitation of schools, and such other labors as are imposed on committees, are of little profit, and require a labor and expense, for which there is no adequate remuneration. But your committee unanimously think otherwise. From actual experience and observation we know, that our schools have much improved under this system. Teachers become better qualified and the standard of education more elevated. This system tends to draw the attention of a class of men to our schools, which, before, was, to a great extent, withdrawn from them, because so little was done in our district schools to any good purpose. In almost every town a class of men was found, who educated their children in select schools. They, of course, would have little to do with Public Schools, and these were often of the number that had accurate views of what schools should be, and withdrew from the district schools because of the inadequacy of teachers, and the low standard of education in them. Withdraw from your Public Schools the character of respectability, and you withdraw from them their vital efficacy. To make your schools what they should be, it is necessary to bring to their aid the wisdom, knowledge, experience, the labors and efforts of the whole people. The wisest and most experienced will find ample room for all their powers in the work.

As to the morals and manners of the scholars, the committee think that these

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


should receive the special attention of the teachers, and bad habits should be corrected, whether it be in language or deportment. We would recommend that prayer be daily offered by the teacher before their schools. Early impressions are abiding, and, if wrong, great effort is necessary for their correction, and even that is often unavailing.


{(1) Population

, 1,158. Valuation, $217,537 50.


in the town,



Public . (2) No. of Scholars of all ages in all the Schools-In Summer, 258—In Winter, 301. (3) Average attendance in the Schools—In Summer, 193—In Winter, 208. (4) No. of persons between 4 and 16 years of


321.—No. of persons under 4 years of age who attend School, 29.--No. over 16 years of age who attend School, 47. (5) Aggregate length of the Schools, 74 mihs. 7 days—In Summer, 43 7—In Winter, 31. (6) No. of Teachers in Summer—M. -F. 11.–No. of Teachers in Winter-M. 9–F. 2. (7) Average wages paid per month, including board—To Males, $1904—To Females, $11 38. (8) Average value of board per month-Of Males, $6 00—Of Females, $6 00. (9) Average wages per month, exclusive of board-of Males, $13 04— Of Females, $5 83. (10) Amount of money raised by taxes for the support of Schools, including only the wages of

Teachers, board and fuel, $1,000 75. (11) Amount of board and fuel, if any, contributed for Public Schools, $500 75. (12) No. of incorporated Academies, -Aggregate of months kept, -Average number of

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

Schools, 1.-Aggregate of months kept, 3.-Average No. of Scholars, 28.-Aggre

gate paid for tuition, $67 50. (14) Amount of Local Funds, $607 00.-Income from same, $36 40.

BOOKS USED.-Spelling-Webster's. Reading-Porter's Rhetorical Reader, National Reader, Introduction to National Reader, Testament, Easy Lessons, Worcester's 2d Book. Grammar-Smith's and Pond's Murray's. Geography Smith's and Olney's Introduction. Arithmetic-Smith's, Colburu's, Adams'. All others-Watts on the Mind, Olmstead's Natural Philosophy, Comstock’s Chemistry, Colburn's Algebra.


[ocr errors]



SELECTIONS FROM REPORT. The school committee,

in comparing the school returns of the past year, with those of the year preceding, find the schools to have been increased in their numbers, and that improvement has been made in the more constant attendance of those, who have been enrolled as members. The course, which the town saw fit, several years since, to pursue, in causing a depository for books to be provided, has, we think, in several respects, resulted in benefit to the town.

* It is the case now, that the reading books recommended more than two years since, for the schools, have been introduced, and with a fair prospect, that they will be continued for years. In the more than forty different classes of readers in the town schools, we recollect but one class, which do not use the books above referred to.

There has been, in a number of the schools, more than usual accuracy in spelling, from the fact, probably, that evening schools, in the districts, have been frequently beld for the special purpose of improvement in this department. Some of the higher branches of education have also been pursued with profit, while the deportment of the schools, generally, has been, we believe, more correct and praiseworthy, than has been the case in seasons that have past. During the past year, we observe, in conclusion, much perplexity bas been experienced from a neglect, by a number of the teachers, to make and return their reports. We, therefore, respectfully suggest to the town, the propriety of making the proper return of these, and the presenting of a certificate


« ForrigeFortsett »