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Full text of "Annual report of the Trustees of the Charlestown Free Schools"

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SCHOOL REPORT. 



The Board of Trustees of the Charlestown Free Schooi^s, 
in compliance with the requisition of a law of this Commonwealth, 
respectfully submit the following as their 

ANNUAL REPORT. 

The appropriations in May last, have enabled the Board to make the 
following additions and improvements to our School Houses daring 
the past year. They have built a two story building, situated at the 
corner of Bunker Hill and Tufts streets, for Primary Schools Nos. 
13 and 17. The work was done by Clark & Varney, by contract, and 
cost $915. The land was purchased of Gilbert Tufts, and cost 
$188 06. Two recitation rooms have been added to the Harvard 
School House. These were built by contract, by Clark & Varney, and 
cost $518. The Primary School Houses, Nos. 9 and 10, have been 
enlarged and refitted, by J. B. & C. Wilson, and cost $566,75. Other 
large repairs have been made to School Houses. All now belonging 
to the town are in good condition, and all the schools are well accom- 
modated excepting Primary Schools, 7 and 8. It is highly desirable 
that these also should be better provided for. 

The scholars in Primary school No. 13, increased to 132, and 
the Board were obliged to provide extra instruction for a portion of the 
children before a permanent school could be established. When the 
new building was completed, this school was divided, forming Primaries 
Nos. 13 and 17. Miss Cyntliia Brockett was appointed teacher of the 
latter. 



The recent division of the town, by the act dated Feb. 25, 1842, 
annexing part of the town to West Cambridge, and the act dated 
March 3, 1842, incorporating the town of Somerville, diminishes the 
number of the schools one Grammar school, two District schools, and 
four Primary schools. The statistics of these at the last Annual 
Report, were as follows. Number of schools 7, teachers 7, salaries 
$2090, number of scholars 294. This division leaves the schools of the 
town at the last examination as follows : schools 21, teachers and 
assistants 38, salaries $11,905, scholars 2215, average attendance 1873. 

The only alteration made in tlie school system during the past year 
has been the appointment of five of the pupils, selected from the first 
classes of the several schools named, to act as assistants in the Gram- 
mar schools ; two in the Winthrop school ; two in the Harvard School ; 
and one in the Bunker Hill school. The compensation is fixed at fifty 
dollars per annum. These schools had an average attendance of about 
sixty four to a teacher — too many to en&iire a proper degree of pro- 
gress. Their duties are performed under the direction of the Princi- 
pals of the schools and are intended to be confined chiefly to the lower 
classes. Thus far their services have proved highly valuable. So 
well, for various reasons, do the Board think of the arrangement, that 
they earnestly recommend its continuance. 

The Books read both in the Primary Schools and Grammar Schools, 
are the same as those last year, with the exception of the introduction 
sof "The Gradual Reader" into the Grammar Schools, 

PRIMARY SCHOOLS. 

The following changes have been made in the Primary Schools 
during the past year : — 

Mrs M. H. W. Dupee resigned the charge of No. 9, and Mrs Eliza- 
beth Eames was appointed to fill the vacancy. Miss Elizabeth B. 
Marshall resigned after the last examination, and Miss Peabody was 
appointed. Miss Sarah C. J. Reynolds was transferred from No. 13 
to the Harvard School, and Miss Susan M. Nichols was appointed. 
Miss Lydia M. Locke resigned the charge of No. 16 and Miss Austin 
was appointed. 

The following table gives the statistics of these Schools at the last 
examinations. 



3 











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SITUATION. 


TEACHERS. 


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1 






IB. Hi]l School House, 


Melvina B. Skilton, 


78 


65 


69 


2 


Main Street, 


Mary Walker, 


75 


60 


62 


3 


Warren School House, 


C. A. Sawyer, 


72 


63 


57 


4 


Elm Street, 


M. P. Stockman, 


63 


55 


59 


5 


Universalist Vestry, 


E. H. Dodge, 


64 


56 


50 


6 


Winthrop Church, 


Eliza B. Adams, 


60 


48 


53 


' 7 


Harvard Street, 


Sarah E. Smith, 


74 


50 


51 


8 


Prescott Street, 


M. E. Chamberlin, 


73 


53 


62 


9 Common Street, 


Elizabeth Eames, 


66 


52 


60 


10 Training Field, 


J. S. Putnam, 


85 


75 


72 


11 Town Hill Street, 


E. B. Marshall, 


67 


45 


60 


12 Boylston Chapel, 


Lydia Keith, 


70 


55 


48 


13 Bunker Hill Street, 


Susan M. Nichols, 


64 


59 


60 


14 


VIoulton's Point, 


Jane N. Burkess, 


53 


50 


49 


15 


Warren School House, 


Ester M. Hay, 


64* 


59 


55 


16 


Elm Street, 


H. M. Austin, 


51' 


47 


50 


17. 


Bunker Hill Street, 


Cynthia Brockett, 


68' 


59 


62 



The Board refer to the two preceding" Annual Reports for their views 
at length respecting this department of our school system. Some of the 
Primary Schools are in excellent condition ; others do not come up to 
the standard, which, after mature deliberation, has been fixed. The 
Board expect to see in these so-hools, good articulation, fluent reading, 
a knowledge of the multiplication table and easy recitations in arith- 
metic, a good spirit and good behaviour. It should be the teachers 
constant aim to promote these objects. No better, nor surer guarantee 
can be had for complete success, than in complete self-preparation for 
the duties of the school room and an ardent love for the school. A few 
hours study at home and attention to a short course of lessons from a 
teacher of elocution, would accomplish the former ; as for the latter, if 
ateacher does not possess it, the sooner she gives place to one who 
does, the better will it be for the school in which she is placed. The 
Board only add, in reference to these schools, that the devotion of many 
of our primary school teachers to the duties devolving upon them, has 
been such as to merit the hearty commendations of the Trustees, and 
to deserve the thanks of the Town. 



GRAMMAR SCHOOLS. 

The Grammar Schools, with the exception of the appointment of 
Miss S. C. Reynolds, an assistant in the Harvard School, in the place 
of Miss M. S. Fernald, resigned, and the addition of assistant pupils, 
remain under the same teachers who had charge of them at the date of 
the last Annual Report. The following tables present their statistics 
at the date of the last examination. 



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W 

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W 

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Grammar and Writing Depart- 
ment. 
Benj. F. Tweed, 900 
Thomas S. King, 430 
Elizabeth Pratt, 50 


o 


Q 
PS 
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> 


Grammar Department. 
Paul H. Sweetser, 900 
Mary J. Whiting, 225 
Sarah J. Child, 50 

Writing Department. 
Robert Swan, 600 
Sarah J. Reynolds, 225 
Caroline R. Wiley, 50 


O 
lO 

O 


o 

OS 
W 
H 


Grammar Department. 
Joshua Bates, Jr. 900 
Harriet M. Felton, 225 
Lewis B. Munroe, 50 

Writing Department. 
Samuel Swan, 900 
Caroline M. Sylvester, 225 
John A. Sanborn, 50 


O 

»o 

CO 


O 
O 

X 

PS 


Grammar Department. 
Daniel H. Forbes, 900 
Susan L. Sawyer, 225 
Lucy Blanchard, 225 

Writing Department. 
Joseph T. Swan, 900 
Sarah J. Hay, 225 
Alfred O. Lindsey, 80 


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The state of these schools is highly satisfactory to the Boar^. They 
have no hesitation in saying, that the measures lately adopted to reme- 
dy their defects and to increase their efficiency, have proved very suc- 
cessful. The improvement in the lower classes has been decided, 
while the progress made by the upper classes in the more advanced 
studies has been alike credible to scholars and teachers. Last year 
the Board felt obliged to report unfavorably in relation to the Warren 
School : now this school, in order, proficiency, and a good spirit, will 
not rank behind any of our Grammar Schools. 

The general principles upon which these schools should be conduct- 
ed^were dwelt upon, so much at length in the two last Annual Re- 
ports, that it seems inexpedient again to go into this subject. The 
opinions there expressed have been fortified by another year's experi- 
ence, and by the sanction of many engaged in the course of education. 
It only remains, as far as possible, to carry them out Our schools may 
be as good as those around us ; but nothing can be gained by holding 
them up as faultless, or making of them so many idols. They will be 
in danger when they come to be regarded as too good for improvement 
or too sacred for innovation. The step already attained should be 
looked upon only as a step towards that which may be attained. This 
is a truer development of mind, a higher moral cultivation, and better 
physical instruction — a more efficient preparation for the duties of life. 
A noble resting place ! but there is no royal road to it. It must be 
reached only through years of struggle with opposing difficulties. But 
increased skill in the profession of teaching, increased interest in the 
cause of education, increased means to promote its usefulness, will in 
good time raise our schools higher and yet higher in standing. The 
past is full of encouragement What reflecting mind can look back 
fifteen years and not see great progress ? It is true, every thing has 
not been accomplished. There is much yet that is of doubtful utility 
in our schools. But this is no reason why they should be subjected to 
the still more doubtful schemes of bold reformers. Let them go on 
surely but steadily, and who shall measure their progress for fifteen 
years to come ? To ensure this progress, let them be kept free from 
blind idolatry and rash scheming, and let the great end be ever in view, 
that of " obtaining a sound mind in a sound body," guided by the helm 
of a pure heart. 

And to attain this end, let it be borne in mind, that qualified teach- 
ers are indispensable. Over-lay schools with well devised plans and 
minute regulations as we may ; let discipline be as strict as that of a 
corps of marines ; let committees have the keen-eyed vigilance of an 
Argus ; let books b6 multiplied without number ; still it is the 
Teacher that makes the school. To be worth any thing, he 
must not be a cast-oflT from other professions, nor a mere tool to be 
worked by others. In many respects he must be a law unto himself. 
He must have a mind original, active, penetrating, studious, and bent 
iipon the task before it. His soul must be in his work ; his intellect 
ever contriving how to awaken reflection in those under his charge. 
Thus will he be able to stamp himself upon his pupils. Such teachers 
are invaluable. They cannot be retained without fair compensation, 
sior qualified without long preparation. This is sometimes overlooked. 



6 



Those who would laugh to scorn the idea that any body can build a 
ship, seem to hold to the opinion that any body, knowing- something of 
reading, writing, and arithmetic, is competent to develope, stimulate, 
and govern two or three hundred minds ! A little reflection and know- 
ledge of schools are only necessary to show bow unsound such an 
opinion is. These will demonstrate that teaching is as much a science 
as ship-building. Bungling school masters are as destructive to mental 
life as bungling ship-builders are to physical life. Of all places, let 
the school-room be the last place where the blind are set to lead the 
blind. 

But a question of an opjx)site character may be asked. Are not our 
schools too good already ? To ask such a question is to answer it. 
How many are ready to reply in the affirmative ? Who will maintain 
before an audience, that the measure of instruction now obtained in our 
schools is unnecessary for the common purposes of life ? That there 
is no need of writing so neatly, knowing so much algebra, reading so 
well, or learning so much philosophy ? Will any recreant American 
hold up his bead to support the old-world toryism that the State is in 
danger from the spread of knowledge ? On this point men do not 
want conviction, but action. The action called for is, ' give our chil- 
dren more intelligence that they may acquit themselves more worthily 
in the conflict of life.' Our common schools are the foundations of 
this intelligence; and here it is that nine-tenths of the people enjoy 
their all of school advantages. What then more important than that 
this foundation should be as broad as possible in order that the super- 
structure may increase in magnitude? No: our common schools can 
never become too good. That education, moral, physical, and intel- 
lectual, is the life of liberty, is a proposition as little reading defence 
as are the first axioms of geometry. It is the legacy of the State to the 
individual. Let it be as complete as possible. Let it be as common 
as the air that we breathe, and our institutions shall stand as firm as the 
granite we tread upon. 

Again it is said, ' the town is a loser ; parents with little money 
but many children flock here to take advantage of our schools.' A 
compliment alike to scholars, teachers, and trustees! Let them thank 
God for it and take courage. And let the citizens rejoice in this evi- 
dence of their efficiency, and that their means are applied to so benev- 
olent a purpose. If the fact of the objection be true, then many 
through life will breathe forth blessings that they found an education- 
avsylum beneath the shade of Bunker-hill. It is well that it is thus. It 
was in its neighborhood that the men of Massachusetts, ill-fed, ill-clad 
ill-housed, unprotected, with Indians for their next door neighbors, and 
liable to feel their scalping knives for their first salutations, established 
the principle, then new to the world, that every child should have an 
education, and that property should pay for it In carrying out this 
noble doctrine, now two centuries old, Charlestown has ever provided 
liberally, though not nwre liberally than justice required ; and if per- 
sons from other places became residents to give their children the ben- 
efit of this liberallity, is this a reason why the town should take a ret- 
rograde step in the cause of education? Will its inhabitants do injus- 
tice to their own children because their advantages are shared, in some 



clegree by others ? Would not this be supremely selfish ? Ought it not 
to be rather matter of pride and congratulation that so many can enjoy 
such golden opportunities to prepare for a life of honor and usefulness ? 
Besides ; is a just school policy unwise in a pecuniary light ? What 
more efficient barrier can be raised against pauperism and crime ? 
What surer guarantee is there for the permanent prosperity of a town? 
How can the large expenses of private schools be otherwise avoided ?* 
The Board might easily enlarge on this topic, but it is deemed unneces- 
sary. No more fallacious reasoning can be offered for diminishing the 
efficiency of our schools. 

With these remarks, the Board surrender their responsible charge 
into the hands of the town. In performing its duties, they have not 
considered education as a boon granted by the favored to the unfortu- 
nate, but as the solemn obligation society owes to the individual — as 
aright the individual can demand of society. Had they studied econ- 
omy at the expense of progress, they would have done injustice to their 
view of the importance of their duties and also to the public expecta- 
tion. The means placed so amply at their disposal have been used with 
a careful regard to the permanent interests of the town. The bills it 
is true, have been large ; the Board present as vouchers the condition 
of our School Houses and Schools. As for the future, the recent divi- 
sion of the town, and the good condition of all our school rooms, lessen 
materially the amount required to maintain them on their present foot- 
ing. To meet the public wants our Public Schools must be good. 
Their prosperity throughout the whole land, must rejoice tbe heart of 



*The following Table, compiled form the Abstract of the Massachusetts School 
Returns for I84O741, show the large amount paid i:i some towns for private tui- 
tion. It will be also noticed, that compared with other towns, Charlestown edu- 
cates the largest proportion of children in the public schools. 







No. chil- 






Amount 


Raised by 






dren be- 


In Public 


In Private 


paid tor 


Tax for 


TOWNS. 


Populaiioii. 


tween 4 and 


Schools. 


Schools. 


private tu- 


Wages and 






16 years. 






ition. 


Fuel 


Boston, 


93,470 


18,081 


11,858 


3,567 


103,111 


97,563 


Salem, 


15,083 


3,857 


1,762 


1,426 


17,000 


11,735 


New Bedford, 


12,087 


2,731 


1,470 


596 


r. 5,221 


12,600 


Nantucket, 


9,051 


1.931 


1,105 


500 


6,200 


7,500 


Lynn, 


9,375 


2,520 


1,750 


481 


2,466 


5 090 


Springfield, 


10,985 


2,456 


1,589 


190 


3,823 


7,811 


Roxbury, 


9,069 


1,900 


1,287 


400 


10,500 


7,000 


Cambridge, 


8,409 


2,032 


1,665 


392 


4,721 


7,309 


Newburyport, 


7,161 


1,832 


992 


475 


6,335 


4,451 


Marblehead, 


5,575 


1,623 


829 


452 


3,232 


3,500 


Gloucester, 


6,363 


1,874 


1,087 


482 


3,569 


4,I3f3 


Dorchester, 


4,675 


1,089 


944 


1»5 


1,745 


5,200 



There has been no cencus taken of the children since the division of the town. 
Therefore add 294, the number left, to 2215, now in the Schools, making for 
last year, total, 2509 scholars. Number of children returned between 4 and 16 
years of age, 2716.— The number of scjiolars in private schools is not over 100. 
The amount paid for tuition is, compared with that paid in other towns, very 
small: probably not exceeding 1000 dollars per annum. 



8 

the philanthropist, the patriot and the Christian. They occupy ^the 
fairest niche in our political temple. They foster a healthy public 
spirit. They nurture the great doctrine of Human Brotherhood. Let 
them decline, and this glory of the Fathers will become the shame of 
the children. Let them multiply in number and increase in vigor, and 
daily will our country renew its youth. On their basis, rises popular 
intelligence ; and popular intelligence is the deep under-current that 
is to to bear along the ark of constitutional freedom, and show to other 
nations, that here the friends of humanity have solved the great problem 
of uniting Liberty with Law. 

By order of the Board of Trustees. 

RICHARD FROTHINGHAxM, Jr., President 

Frederick, Robinson, Secretary. 

Charhstown^ A-pril 19, 1842. 



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