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City Document — A^o. 6. 



REPORT 



THE EXAMINATION 



OF 



THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS 



IN THE 



THE CITY OF ROXBUEY, 



FOR THE YEAR 1849. 




ROXBURY: 

JOSEPH a. TORREY, CITY PRINTER. 
1 849. 



CITY OF ROXBURY 



IN SCHOOL COMMITTEE, 

November 1, 1848. 

Ordered, That Messrs, Dunn, Slafter, Clapp, Faulkner, 
Reynolds, Alger, Shailer, Morse, and Seaver, constitute the 
Annual Examining Committee. 

JOSHUA SEAVER, Sec'y. 



IN SCHOOL COMMITTEE, ) 

February 7, 1849 \ 

Ordered, That twenty-two hundred and fifty copies of the 
Annual Report of Examining Committee be printed and 
distributed for the use of the inhabitants. 

JOSHUA SEAYER, Sedy. 



EEPOET OP THE SCHOOL COMMITTEE. 



Gentlemen : — The Committee, appointed to make the an- 
nual visitation and examination of the PubHc Schools of this 
city, in accordance with custom, submit the following 

REPOETi 

At a preliminary meeting of your Committee, the usual 
division was made. To Messrs. Shailer, Morse, and Seaver 
were assigned the Primary Schools, while Messrs. Dunn, 
Slafter, Clapp, Faulkner, Reynolds and Alger, constituted the 
Grammar School Committee.* At this meeting after much 
discussion and explanation, as to the most thorough and im- 
partial method to be pursued in the examination of the 
Grammar Schools, it was finally determined to divide the 
several studies taught in these schools, into three divisions 
or departments, viz : Grammatical, embracing Reading 
Grammar and the French and Latin exercises of the Dudley 
school. Mathematical, embracing Arithmetic, Algebra and 
Geometry. Geographical, embracing the remaining studies 
pursued, together with the supervision of the composition 
and Writing exercises. This, considering the number of 
classes to be examined, the time and labor required, was 
deemed as fair and equitable a division as could be made. To 
each of these divisions were assigned two members of the 
Committee. The time of examining each department was 
known to all, in order that the whole Committee might 
attend the examination of each branch, if time and opportunity 
served. It was also determined that the several reports thus 
made, should form a part of the Regular Annual Report. 

*Rev. David Greene was afterwards added to the Primary Scliool Committee. 



Knowing from the experience of the last two years, that the 
examination by printed questions operated unequally upon 
the several schools, it was deemed best to dispense with them ; 
and also, "Comparisons being odious," with the Tabular 
Abstracts, leaving our brethren of the School Committee, and 
our fellow citizens generally, to draw their own inferences, 
and make their own comparisons. In pursuance of this 
plan Messrs. Dunn and Faulkner, were assigned the Gram- 
matical, Messrs. Slafter and Reynolds, the Mathematical, 
and Messrs. Clapp and Alger the Geographical Departments. 
Premising thus much, we proceed with the several Reports. 

GRAMMATICAL DEPARTMENT. 

The Sub-committee, to whom was assigned the Gram- 
matical Department, devoted four or five days in the month 
of January, to the discharge of that duty, in the examination 
of the four Grammar Schools of Roxbury. This department 
comprised the Reading, Spelling, and defining, of every 
class, in each school, together with the Grammar and Pars- 
ing exercises taught in the higher or upper divisions : and 
also the French and Latin classes of the highest division of 
the Dudley School. Without going into a miimte detail of 
the particular merits or demerits, noticed in the recitations of 
each class, or of each division in the several schools — which 
would be tedious and unprofitable, — and subserve no end, 
but the consumption of time and patience, — the Committee 
would say, that they found the common errors, which 
usually abound in all schools, (especially in these exercises,) 
more or less thickly strewn in the path which led them 
through the several schools of the city. These errors were 
(of course) rapid and indistinct enunciation, inattention to, 
or ignorance of, the rules of emphasis, punctuation and the 
like. They began their examination with the lower divi- 
sions of the Washington School, going onward and upward, 
and so on through all the divisions of each school. On com- 
paring notes, we find the recitations of the three upper di- 
visions of the Washington, are a little superior, while the 
remaining or lower divisions, are considerably inferior, to 
corresponding divisions of the Dudley School. In the Dud- 



ley, the fourth and fifth divisions were particularly remark- 
ed for their clear and distinct enunciation, and their general 
correctness in both Reading and Spelling: these divisions 
and their Teachers deserve especial credit. The second, 
third and sixth divisions, were somewhat deficient, falling 
considerably below the standard of the others, in the effi- 
ciency and correctness of their exercises. We think we have 
heard better recitations in the two highest classes of the 
Dudley School than were apparent at this examination ; but 
we are not so ungallant, as to critisize sharply, exercises, 
which although not faultless, were certainly creditable, (to 
say the least,) to the teachers and pupils of those classes. 
The Grammar exercises were good in both the Washington 
and Dudley schools, as good perhaps as could be expected, 
in these (to young minds) dry and uninteresting studies. 

The French and Latin exercises of the latter school were 
also good, as far as they went, although for our own part, we 
should prefer that the time devoted to them, might be given to 
the more important branches of an English education. The 
order in both schools was perfect. The Committee were much 
pleased with the improvement apparent in the Westerly 
School, since the last annual examination. The Reading 
and Grammar exercises in the upper division, were charac- 
terized by judgment, good taste, and general correctness, in 
all essential particulars ; the greatest fault found, being an 
indistinct and feeble utterance, — a fault which pervaded this 
division, and one which we hope to find speedily remedied. 
The Reading of the first class of the second division of this 
school, was perhaps, without exception, the best heard by 
this Committee during the examination ; and had it not been 
for a few errors in punctuation, would have been faultless. 
In the Central School, we found less energy and promptness 
in the first and second divisions than usual ; the most im- 
provement we thought was visible in the third division, 
where in particular instances, great progress has been made, 
much to the credit of teacher and pupils. 

Within the last month the new building erected for the 
accommodation of this school, has been finished and occu- 
pied. Its previous want of accommodation, its late removal, 
and the presence of a class of winter bo^'-s (hardly tenduig 



6 

to raise its standard) would perhaps fully account for the 
deficiency and want of order found here at this time. We 
trust that, with its present ample means of progress, this 
school will assume a high stand, and fully equal the most 
sanguine wishes of its friends. 

Since our last annual report, (for reasons which are well 
known to this Board,) a change has been made in the music 
teacher employed in our schools. We are happy to say that 
the change made, has proved thus far^highly beneficial ; and 
that Mr. J. E. Gould, the present teacher, has equalled our 
expectations, and fully sustained the high character, with 
which he came recommended to us, from the Boston schools. 
From information obtained of teachers during this examina- 
tion, we find the daily average of time devoted to Reading 
in our schools, to be, say half an hour ; and this occasionally 
subject to curtailment. How can we expect superior Read- 
ing, and a proper knowledge of the Rules of Reading, with 
this small daily amount of time bestowed ? This is a serious 
and important question. We consider Reading, one of the 
most important branches, if not the most important branch 
taught in our schools ; the one Avhich determines in public 
estimation, at least, the character and standing of a school, 
more than any other. That more time should be daily given 
to it, we are convinced ; but where is that time to come from 1 
What other study shall be curtailed, or lopped off? We 
leave this question, to those wiser than ourselves, and to our 
successors to determine. 

THEO. DUNN, 
GEO. FAULKNER. 



REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE 



ON 

GEOGRAPHY, COMPOSITION, &c. 



The Committee to whom was assigned the examination 
of the several Grammar Schools in Geography, Composition, 
<fcc., have attended to their duty and submit the following 

REPORT: 

In our examinations of the respective schools we have 
asked, not whether one school was better than another, but 
Whether, considered individually, they were as good as they 
ought to be ? 

The circumstances connected with the Dudley School, we 
consider quite favorable. We expected to find it in good 
condition, and were in no way disappointed. There ap- 
peared to us no prominent defect, but many marked excel- 
lences. In the recitations, with very few exceptions, the 
pupils were prompt and accurate. The higher branches 
seem to be taught with thoroughness and success. The 
fourth and first divisions appeared particularly well. The 
second division seemed to want freedom, and to depend too 
much upon the text-book. The third division, from pecu- 
liar causes, was more deficient than the others. Still, we 
feel constrained to say, that no school that we have ever 
visited, gave a more uniform impression, or seemed to possess 
a more uniform character. The order throughout was per- 
fect. In a few instances, we thought that progress might 
have been partially sacrificed to accuracy and promptness. 

The Washington School during the past year has made a 
decided advance. The order, and general appearance have 



greatly improved, particularly in the fourth and sixth divis- 
ions. Also the progress in study which this school has made 
was highly satisfactory. In Geography we thought that 
the pupils were more than usually interested. And the 
classes in Physiology and Natural Philosophy, recited both 
very accurately, and understandingly. We were particularly 
pleased with the second and first divisions ; also the Teacher 
of the third division, we deem worthy of particular credit. 
At the last examination this school fell somewhat below its 
former standard. In Geography the pupils seemed to have 
very litttle familiarity with the Maps, and were found de- 
ficient when general questions were put to them. This 
year these defects were not observed, and the school, in 
most respects, fully answered our expectations. 

The Central School on the day of our examination, partly 
perhaps from the recent removal and some consequent new 
arrangements which have been made, appeared less orderly 
than usual. On this account we may not have perceived 
all the merits which this school really possesses, and which 
might have appeared at another time and under other cir- 
cumstances. The third division, when we consider the dis- 
advantages under which it has labored ever since its forma- 
tion, seems to have improved quite as much as could 
reasonably have been anticipated. The recitations and 
discipline of the second division were creditable to both 
teacher and pupils. The first division hardly maintained 
the reputation it has had during the last year, but this is 
partly at least owing to some unfavorable circumstances 
attending it during the winter months. Still, we saw no 
deficiencies there which may not easily be remedied. 

The Westerly School, from the class of pupils who com- 
pose it, and from its location, ought to hold a prominent 
rank among our City Schools. Its method and progress 
have been somewhat interrupted during the last year by a 
change of Teachers. Still, it appeared well in the examina- 
tion, and is in reality a very good school. The second 
division has steadily improved and probably has never been 
in a better condition. The first class in this division we 
think worthy of being particularly named for its excellence. 



9 

This school seems now to be making a gradual but sure 
improvement. 

During the present year an order was passed by the School 
Committee, by which the writing of Compositions has been 
made one of the stated exercises in the Grammar Schools. 
It was the design of the Committee that these compositions 
should be first written out upon a slate or loose paper, then 
corrected, and copied into a book by the pupil, and subse- 
quently corrected by the Teacher. This, it was thought, 
would exhibit the pupil's knowledge of chirography, con- 
struction of sentences, spelling, punctuation, and use of 
capitals. The Washington School seems to have misunder- 
stood the design of the Committee, and therefore we are 
unable to form any judgment respecting the compositions it 
has furnished, except upon a single point. We have com- 
pared, as carefully as we were able, the compositions of the 
first divisions of the several schools, and find them generally 
as good as we could have expected. The improvement is 
very striking since the introduction of the exercise, and this 
is sufiicient to prove the wisdom of the order. The spelling 
in the Dudley School was the best. The best compositions 
were from the Dudley and Westerly Schools, one or two of 
which were of decided excellence ; considerably the best 
writing books we found in the Dudley and Washington 
Schools. The W^esterly and Central Schools have made 
very little, if any progress, in writing during the last year. 
Some well executed specimens of pencil-sketching were 
shown by the first divisions of the Dudley and Westerly 
Schools ; also some maps very accurately and beautifully 
drawn. Those of the Dudley School were deserving of 
special praise. 

Signed, DEXTER CLAPP, 

W. R. ALGER. 



REPORT 

OF THE 

MATHEMATICAL DEPARTMENT. 

ARITHMETIC, ALGEBRA, GEOMETRY. 



The Committee, to whom the duty was assigned of ex- 
amining in the mathematical branches, would call the atten- 
tion to a few general statements before entering upon a 
detailed account of the examination itself. In all the Gram- 
mar Schools of this city there are somewhat more than 1,000 
scholars. Of these, all but seven are studying Arithmetic. 
Twenty-two are studying Algebra, and six are studying 
Geometry. About seven hundred are studying oral Arith- 
metic, and about three hundred are studying written and 
oral Arithmetic combined. The four Grammar Schools, in 
which these scholars are instructed, are so different in many 
respects, that it is believed an accurate and just comparison 
of one with another would be very difficult, if not impossible. 
The school containing the largest number of pupils is com- 
posed entirely of boys. The next in order is composed 
wholly of girls ; a third of boys only ; and the fourth of both 
boys and girls. The gradation of the Divisions in some is 
necessarily more perfect than in others. The ground passed 
over in a given time may be greater or less in different 
schools; and what the relative progress may have been it 
would be impossible for an Examining Committee to ascer- 
tain ; and on this point, it is believed, it would be equally 
difficult for the Teachers themselves to make a definite 
statement, especially in the larger schools ; since the Divis- 
ions are constantly changing by the passing up of pupils 
from a lower to a higher. There are various other points of 



11 

inequality which it seems unnecessary to mention. In the 
present examination it has been our endeavor to refer not to 
a relative, but to an absolute standard of excellence. For 
this purpose we have employed three tests. 

First, to ascertain if the scholar has a thorough knowledge 
of principles. 

Second, if he has ability to express principles in clear and 
loell-defined language. 

Third, if he has facility and accuracy in the apjjUcaiion of 
principles in jiractical examples. 

The first of these tests should be met in order to intelhgent 
education in any science, and especially in the mathematics ; 
the second, in order to communicate linowledge to others ; 
and the third, in order to render it useful to ourselves. 

Having laid down these principles for our guidance, we 
proceeded to the work of examination. 

The Washington School. — The two lower Divisions of 
this school are composed of boys from the Intermediate 
School, and though of a greater average age than either of 
the three Divisions immediately above them, had made but 
small progress. But as far as they had gone, they exhibited 
a thoroughness entirely satisfactory to the Committee. In 
the Seventh Division there was a marked deficiency, leading 
us to believe that the standard of admission from the Pri- 
mary Schools is not sufficiently elevated. Many of the 
boys were incompetent in questions involved in the table of 
simple multiplication. The examinations of the remaining 
Divisions, as far up as the middle of the third, comprising 
all of the oral Arithmetic, were exceedingly satisfactory, 
and would nearly meet the standard laid down. The 
written Arithmetic throughout was everything that could be 
desired. Our tests were here entirely met. We believe it 
would be difficult to find a hundred boys, in any school, 
more thoroughly acquainted with the principles of Arith- 
metic. Abstract questions were readily apprehended, defi- 
nitions were given in clear and exact language, and problems 
were solved and explained with the utmost facility. In 
Algebra there was the same excellence; problems were 
wrought with great rapidity, and long and involved formulas 
were stated with precision. 



12 

The Westerly School — In both divisions of this school our 
tests were all met. There were but few failures, and those 
were such, as, in our opinion, no fidelity of instruction could 
prevent. The first class in the upper Division, composed 
mostly of girls, exhibited a familiarity with the most abstruse 
and involved principles in Arithmetic, such as we have 
rarely ever witnessed. So far as an examination is a test, 
this school is well instructed in Arithmetic. 

The Dudley School. — The last three Divisions of this 
school appeared very well, but we think that here as well 
as in the Washington School, a higher standard of admission 
desirable. The remaining four Divisions in oral Arithmetic 
came up fully to the standard of the Committee. Any 
greater excellence would, in our opinion, require an unneces- 
sary expenditure of time. In the Written Arithmetic our 
second test was nowhere met. There was great readiness 
in the solution and analysis of problems, but, in general, an 
inability to explain mathematical principles, when separated 
from a practical example. The theoretical did not seem to 
be so well comprehended as the practical. In Algebra this 
defect did not appear, and the examination was highly satis- 
factory. 

The Central School — The local situation of this school 
has been during the past year exceedingly unfavorable to 
successful study. Its school-rooms have been crowded, and 
uncomfortable in the extreme. The lower Division of this 
school was found deficient to a large extent in elements that 
should have been obtained in the Primary School. In the 
second Division there was a marked want of readiness in 
solving the questions proposed. In the first Division the 
same defect, found in the Dudley School, was strikingly ob- 
vious. The definitions given were loosely and awkwardly 
expressed. Even the best scholars seemed incapable of ex- 
pressing what they seemed to know. They had evidently 
attained to a degree of practical knowledge, but it seemed to 
be deposited in the mind with such irregularity, as not to be 
ready for immediate or accurate use. Written Arithmetic, 
in this and in the Dudley School, is taught too exclusively 



13 

in the manner of teaching the oral Arithmetic, in which 
processes are explained, but the statement of abstract prin- 
ciples is not required. This method, as applied to written 
Arithmetic, is deficient in fixing permanently the science in 
the mind, and in imparting the highest discipline to the in- 
tellectual powers. Principles will remain fixed in the mind, 
when processes are forgotten : and the grasping of abstract 
principles imparts a valuable discipline ; it creates mental 
energy and force : and this, in our opinion, should be an 
object especially aimed at, as pupils advance in their mathe- 
matical studies. The best method undoubtedly combines 
analysis with a comprehension and ability to express the 
abstract principles involved. Were the tests of excellence 
employed in this examination, made the standard in our 
schools and rigidly enforced, it is beheved, it would result in 
an obvious improvement. 

In the process of this examination, our attention was 
directed to the method of teaching Oral Arithmetic in our 
Grammar Schools generally. It appears to be a method 
universally adopted to require the scholar, after the question 
is announced, to repeat and solve it from memory. The 
scholar is not allowed to have the book before him to aid in 
remembering the conditions of the problem : having been 
read by the teacher, the whole is to be carried in the mind 
until the solution is completed. There are two advantages 
which this method is supposed to possess. It is thought to 
secure the attention of the pupil and to strengthen the 
memory. It is obvious that the first of these advantages 
can be as well attained by having the book before him, if 
the scholar is not allowed to know what question he will be 
called upon to solve until it is announced by the teacher. 
The second advantage dwindles into insignificance, when 
we consider the labor and time it costs, and the practical 
worthlessness of what the pupil is taught to remember. At 
this age of the world, when the objects of knowledge are so 
numerous, so interesting and important, it savors of childish 
weakness to seek to improve the memory, by exercising it 
upon mathematical combinations, which can be of no prac- 
tical use. The art of Spelling, Geography and History, open 
wide fields for the exercise and improvement of this faculty 



14 

of the mind, and until these are exhausted, it would hardly 
be expedient to enter upon any other, which should promise 
to store it with less valuable information. But the great 
objection to this method of instruction is, that it is a positive 
waste of time. Every pupil, whatever be his ability, is 
more or less retarded by it in his progress. The scholar, 
who has not a good verbal memory, is compelled to study 
upon a problem a long time after the solution is familiar. 
This he finds necessary in order to fix its conditions in the 
mind, so that he can recall them, when the question is pro- 
posed to him by his teacher. Those belonging to this class 
of mind are delayed in their progress, because they cannot 
meet this demand upon the memory ; and are, perhaps, re- 
garded as the poorest scholars in the Division, when their 
mathematical power would otherwise place them among the 
first. So, on the other hand, those of a more retentive 
memory, are compelled to proceed at the slow pace of their 
more tardy companions. There is therefore a real loss in 
progress to all. With our present system, from two to three 
years on an average, are spent by scholars, after entering 
our Grammar Schools, in the study of Colburn's First Les- 
sons. From our own experience and the testimony of 
Teachers, it is confidently believed, that one year, at least, 
of this time, is absolutely lost : that, in one half or two 
thirds of the time now expended, the same attainments 
might be made in mathematical knowledge, were the mind 
not burdened and confused by the present method. This 
opinion seems to be sustained by the fact, that so large a 
proportion of the scholars in our schools, are still occupied 
in the study of this primary work. Of the one thousand 
presented for examination, seven hundred, in round num- 
bers, had not gone beyond Colburn's First Lessons. One 
half, at least, of the whole number of scholars, should, in 
our opinion, have completed the First Lessons, and have 
been advancing in the Written Arithmetic. And in addition 
to this loss of time, it is a matter of serious doubt, whether, 
by the present tedious and slow method of study, in which 
the mathematical processes are subordinate to an effort of 
the memory, a distaste, in many cases, is not created for the 
study of Arithmetic in general. If the opinions we have 



15 

stated be correct, the defect we have pointed out is one of 
grave importance, and furnishes a sufficient apology for our 
dwelhng upon the subject thus at length. 

In this report we have endeavored to point out excellencies 
and defects, avoiding anything like fulsome praise on the 
one hand, or personal severity on the other, either to Teach- 
ers or scholars. A report cannot be of any practical value, 
without stating the condition of our schools with boldness 
and discrimination. But, in closing this report, we take this 
opportunity to express our conviction, that our Teachers are 
all discharging their duties with the utmost fidelity and de- 
votion; and we believe it would be difficult to find an 
equal number of persons any where, more worthy of their 
position, or more successful in the discharge of their office. 

Respectfully submitted. 

E. F. SLAFTER, 
G. REYNOLDS. 



16 



By the adoption of the above plan, the Committee beheve 
that they have avoided many of the objections, which have 
heretofore been made concerning the thoroughness and im- 
partiahty of the yearly examination. By appointing a Com- 
mittee to each department, and having each department 
separately examined, they have been enabled to avoid the 
hurry and confusion, incident to our former method, when 
from lack of time, several classes in entirely different studies 
in the same room, and at one and the same time, were under 
examination by as many different members of the Commit- 
tee. We believe the plan adopted, has been generally accep- 
table to our Teachers, and we trust it will commend itself 
to our brethren of this Board. On reviewing our work we 
find the following results : The Dudley School still retains, 
and the Washington has regained, the high standing acquired 
in former years. The Westerly, under a new administration, 
is steadily recovering from the torpor into which it had sunk 
during the past year, and seems now to be surely and steadily 
resuming its former rank. The Central, outwardly regen- 
erated, and occupying the new and beautiful building pro- 
vided for it, by the munificence of our City Government, 
although from the fault of its former crowded and ill-arranged 
condition, and its late removal, somewhat deficient, still 
shows symptoms of energy and character. This school 
with its present advantages and improved accommodation, 
and under a faithful and energetic administration, will, we 
trust, soon attain both internally as outwardly the rank of 
"Model School." We find, also, our Teachers, as a body, 
energetic, faithful, and devoted to the work of promoting 
the growth and progress of the schools under their charge. 
We find the school rooms quiet and orderly, the pupils stu- 
dious and attentive, and a spirit of promptness, cheerfulness 
and activity pervading all departments. In fine, we find 
progress, not deterioration. These are certainly gratifying 
results. We can, therefore, as citizens and as tax-payers, 
continue to take pride and pleasure in our schools ; as citi- 
zens, on account of the high rank assumed by our schools. 



17 

in comparison with those of Uke character in the State; 
as tax-payers, in finding that they have paid full and 
sufficient interest on their investment. We must remember 
that good schools are the fountains from which flow many 
of the best and purest streams, into that turbid sea, the 
community ; that they are beacons, inviting by their clear 
light, strangers of intelligence and property, to settle with 
us, thereby improving our character and increasing popula- 
tion and wealth. Let us, therefore, by a wise and liberal 
patronage, and by the choice of energetic and faithful Com- 
mittees, endeavor to maintain, and advance the high standing 
of the Public Schools of Roxbury. 

For the Committee, 

THEODORE DUNN, Chairman. 



REPORT 



PRIMARY SCHOOL COMMITTEE. 



The Committee appointed to examine the Primary Schools 
have attended to this duty as well as their circumstances 
would permit, and report as follows : 

Including the Intermediate School, the whole number 
of Primary Schools in the City is 20 

Of Sub-Primary Schools, embracing the less advanced 
classes, where the number of pupils is so large as to 
demand two teachers, the number is 8 

Total, 28 

There are taught by female teachers, including assist- 
ants, 31 

In all these schools there are pupils, 1,490 

Present at examination, 1,176 

Average belonging for the year, 1,514 

Average attendance for the year, 1,223 

Admitted last quarter, 363 

Left last quarter, 277 

Punishments, 1(J7 

Visits of Local Committees, 89 

The Tabular View appended to this report will show how, 
in the judgment of the Examining Committee, the several 
schools stand in the various studies to which they had given 
attention. The marking under each branch indicates not 
the appearance of any particular class, but all the classes of 



20 

that school in that branch ; that is how the school is to be 
estimated as to reading, spelling, arithmetic, geography, or 
deportment. Where the school appeared nearly perfect in 
any one branch, the Committee indicate it by (Ex.) A 
measure of excellence a little below that, but still worthy of 
high commendation they marked as very good, (V. G.) The 
next lower grade, though still decidedly good, they have in- 
dicated by (G.) What was below that they have marked 
with (M.) In some schools, one or two classes appeared 
extremely well in a particular branch, while the standing 
of the school, as a whole, in that branch, was lowered by 
the less favorable appearance of other classes, in the same 
studies. 

Without going into particulars respecting the several 
schools, the Committee would remark that, with three or 
four exceptions, the appearance of the schools at the exami- 
nation evinced a commendable degree of fidelity and success 
on the part of the several teachers, in imparting instruction ; 
and of attention to their studies and correct deportment on 
the part of the pupils. One hindrance to the rapid progress 
of the pupils is the short time which a large portion of them 
remain in any one school, and the consequent frequent 
change of almost the whole body of pupils in a particular 
school. In one school of 60 or 70 pupils more than three 
fourths of the pupils had been in school less than 4 months. 
Others are probably no better, and some, perhaps, worse in 
this respect. In this manner, before the pupils become fairly 
accustomed to the order and studies of the school, or begin 
to feel much interest in them or in the teacher, or the teach- 
er in the pupils, they are removed, and their places supplied 
by others who are to be broken in, make a beginning, and 
then exchange places with others. Some of the schools in 
the western part of the city have suffered in this respect, the 
past year, much more than heretofore, owing to a greater 
amount of foreign population having been recently drawn 
thither. 

The Committee think that the teachers of our Primary 
Schools, generally, give less instruction orally, aside from 
the regular class studies, than is desirable, and perhaps, less 
than they have given in some previous years. By such in- 



21 

struction, mainly, must the curiosity and interest of the 
pupils in these schools be awakened, and their minds incited 
to activity and thoughtfulness, and be made to expand and 
strengthen. In the alphabet, spellings, and other beginning 
lessons of the Primary School, there is very little to interest, 
feed, and invigorate the mind, without an effort of the teach- 
er in this direction. It is therefore very desirable that all 
the teachers of our Primary Schools, should be so familiar 
with the elementary principles of the natural sciences, with 
history, with biography, &c., <fec.j &xj., as to be able to hold 
conversations with their pupils on these subjects daily ; and 
these topics, that is, such of them as the teacher had given 
most instruction upon, should be embraced in the quarterly 
examinations, and the progress in these be taken into ac- 
count in estimating the standing of the schools. "Where 
the schools are large and the classes consequently numerous, 
the teachers, of course, find little time for such oral instruc- 
tion in addition to all the regular class recitations. We 
must not demand more of the teachers than time permits 
them to perform. But probably the schools would be really 
benefitted, if one ordinary recitation should daily give place 
to a conversation on some important topic. This matter 
is commended to the attention of those who may succeed 
us in office, and to the teachers in the Grammar as well as 
the Primary Schools. 

A teacher of one of our Primary Schools, who has prob- 
ably been as extensively and successfully engaged in giving 
various oral instruction to her pupils, as any other, remarked 
to the Committee in relation to this point, that she was daily 
becoming more sensible of her need of more knowledge in 
order to teach her school well ; adding that if she possessed 
all the knowledge to be obtained in a full college course of 
study, she should find constant use for it in her school. All 
our teachers should take an equally enlarged and elevated 
view of their employment, and know as well what use to 
make of their intellectual treasures, among the young disci- 
ples around them. 

The Committee have been much gratified to find simple 
vocal music taught and practised in so many of our Primary 
Schools. To see the pupils even in our Sub-Primary Schools, 



22 

nearly all unite in appropriate hymns, at the opening and 
closing of the schools, and that too without any aid from 
the teacher, even in setting out, shows of what even very 
small children, and they mostly gathered from the humbler 
walks of hfe, are capable, and what a very little imperfect 
instruction can accomplish, in this department, to interest 
and amuse children, and to improve their social and moral 
character. Capacity and inclination to give instruction in 
this department should be kept in view in appointing teach- 
ers in our Primary Schools. Although in most of our Pri- 
mary Schools a good deal of recreation is furnished the 
children by various exercises in the school-room and by re- 
cesses, yet probably more attention should be given to this 
subject. The healthfulnesss and happiness of the children, 
and their interest and progress in their studies, will probably 
be very nearly proportioned to the relaxation and excitement 
which their minds receive in this manner. Perhaps there is 
an effort made in some of our Primary Schools to secure 
perfect ordPT^ in respect to fixedness of position and refraining 
from all noise, which is of little use, except to secure the 
admiration of the visitor, and may be worse than useless in 
the case of young children. This perfect stillness and order 
can be introduced only by a good deal of rigid discipline, 
and must be very irksome and often painful and injurious 
to the children, when continued for an hour or an hour and 
a half; while more freedom, under suitable restraint from 
the teacher, might not hinder the studies of the school, and 
would be much more in consonance with the elasticity and 
buoyancy of spirit which we loA^e to see and cherish in such 
young pupils. 

W hile much has been done during the last year or two by 
our City Government to furnish more ample and more con- 
venient accommodations for our Primary Schools, something 
remains to be done, and calls for appropriations for this pur- 
pose must he made annually, while this rapid increase of 
owx population is going on. The old, uncomfortable seats 
for the children still remain in Nos. 2, 3, 11, 13, 14, 15 and 
16, 17, and 24, and should be removed, and the more suitable 
seats substituted, which have been put into the houses re- 
cently erected. 



23 

The increase of pupils attending the school on the Mill- 
dam and that on Mount Pleasant, does now, or will soon 
require, that the lower rooms of those two school houses 
should be, the former furnished, and the latter finished and 
furnished for the reception of the increasing number of pupils. 
The number of pupils attending Nos. 15, 16, 20, and 24, is 
also too large to be well instructed by one teacher, especially 
when the class of pupils embraced in these schools is con- 
sidered. These schools have had each an average attend- 
ance of more than 50 pupils during the year — a large por- 
tion of them in the alphabet, and requiring from the teacher 
much attention individually. 

To the School connected with the Almshouse, number- 
ed 24, the Committee wish particularly to call attention. 
Here were found 65 pupils varying in age, from 15 or 16, 
down to 3 or 4, girls and boys intermixed, literally packed 
into a room, perhaps 25 by 15 feet, and 7 or 8 feet high, seat- 
ed on uncomfortable, wriggling seats and benches, where were 
going forward writing, cyphering, recitations in the various 
branches, with more or less talking and other disorders, 
which the crowded state of the room, and the restlessness 
and tossings, occasioned by want of breath and extreme 
weariness, must ever render unavoidable. On first entering 
the room and inhaling its atmosphere, it seemed to the Com- 
mittee impossible to spend an hour there for the examina- 
tion. But after having a hole opened at one end of the 
room, and taking a seat near the open door at the other ex- 
tremity, the time was spent without fatal consequences. 
But that either the pupils or teacher can be comfortable or 
interested in their work there, or have any brightness of mind, 
or cheerfulness of spirit in such a place, is quite impossible. 

It is a process, (and not a very slow one either,) of des- 
troying the health and life of both. It is a cruel and dis- 
graceful concern altogether, and ought not to be endured by 
our city government one hour longer than is absolutely 
necessary, to provide a more ample and healthful apartment. 

It is a large and important school, — larger and not less 
important to the future welfare of the city, than any other 
one of our Primary Schools. To the nearly 100 children 
gathered there it is peculiarly important, as probably their 



24 

habits are to be formed, and nearly their whole school educa- 
tion is to be obtained there. The unusually small average 
attendance for the year has been occasioned, as the Com- 
mittee was informed, by sickness among the pupils; and 
how much of this has been owing to the state of this school 
room, the attending physician can better judge than the 
Committee. That the pupils have not all been sick, and the 
teacher also^ can be accounted for only on the principle in- 
volved in a remark made by one of the Overseers of the Poor, 
who came in during the examination, " People can become 
acclimated to almost any thing." The building itself is a 
miserable, unsightly shed, situated in a yard, from which the 
light and air are almost excluded by a high and close fence, 
having on the day of the examination, nothing under foot but 
deep mud, and over head clothes lines stretched, and hung full 
of clothes. In such a land as this, where there is space and air 
enough, the city of Roxbury ought surely to furnish, even 
their poor, especially the children of their poor, with suffi- 
cient room and healthful atmosphere to breathe. If we would 
not have these children of the poor, become themselves 
paupers, we must furnish their minds with knowledge, and 
give them a fair chance to have healthful and vigorous 
bodies. To both of these the interests of the city, as well as 
the demands of humanity and Christian principle, imperious- 
ly require us to give attention in the care of this school. 
And to this we are encouraged by the fact, that, considering 
the state of the school room, the examination was highly 
creditable to both teacher and pupils. The Committee was 
surprised at the progress made, and the correctness of the 
recitations. Nothmg seems to be wanting to make this 
school compare favorably with our best Primary schools, 
but an ample and well furnished room, and an assistant 
teacher. The school seems to have no outline or other maps, 
and the books seem to be a collection of all the varieties ever 
used in our city schools. But the Committee recommend 
no alterations or improvements, as there is nothing in the 
material of this school worth preserving, except the teacher 
and the pupils. All the rest should be new at the earliest 
possible day. 

Respecting the intermediate school, the Committee would 



25 

make a remark, as the character and object of that school 
seem to have been misapprehended by a portion of our citi- 
zens. Two or three years ago, our Primary schools were 
found to contain a large portion of boys, who were over 
eight years of age, but were not qualified to be transferred 
to the Grammar schools. On account of their age, and the 
importance of having the few years which they could ex- 
pect to spend in school, conduce most to advance them, in 
knowledge and qualify them, than to transact the ordinary 
business of life, the discipline and instruction, and the 
associations of the Primary schools were deemed not best 
adapted to their wants. For the purpose, therefore, of 
hastening this class of pupils forward as fast as practicable, 
and making the most of a few years of their time, they were 
gathered from the Primary schools, and placed together in 
a course of training, better adapted to their age and wants. 
The results have fully realized all the good to this class of 
pupils which was anticipated. The school has generally 
embraced about one hundred pupils, who, from having been 
very irregular in their attendances, and generally, very little 
interested in their studies, have become among the most 
punctual and constant in their attendance on school, and 
most industrious and successful in their studies, and exem- 
plary in their deportment, of all our city schools. The sym- 
pathy and attachment subsisting between them and their 
excellent teachers, as well as the progress of the former in 
their studies, are most gratifying. Already, within the 14 
months, up to the beginning of this quarter, more than 90 
have been advanced to the Grammar school, where they 
are now successfully and happily prosecuting their studies. 

In the progress of the examination, the Committee have 
observed that nearly all our Primary school houses, are very 
imperfectly ventilated; and the same is known to be no less 
true of our Grammar school houses. In most of them there is 
no other way of admitting fresh and healthful air, but by 
opening the doors and Avindows, whatever may be the state 
of the atmosphere without, however cold or wet, or however 
near the crowded state of the rooms may require the pupils 
to sit to these entering currents. So that it seems almost 
necessary, as our school houses now are, that the health of 



26 

our own and our neighbors' children should be seriously ex- 
posed, either by breathing an atmosphere, out of which 
nearly all the vitality has been withdrawn, and which has 
been charged with noxious gasses by the respiration and the 
exhalations unavoidable in a room filled with pupils ; or else, 
by sitting for considerable periods with currents of cold 
damp air flowing directly upon them. The means furnish- 
ed in our school rooms for the escape of corrupted air are 
scarcely more adequate, or suitable than those for the intro- 
duction of that which is pure 

The attention of the City Council is respectfully invited 
to the subject of providing for the thorough and healthful 
ventilation of all our schools rooms. 

For the Committee, 

DAVID GREENE, Chairman. 



28 



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