Skip to main content

Full text of "[City documents, 1847-1867]"

See other formats


3 9999 06660 790 2 







City Document. — No. 8. 








THE YEAR 1850. 




City Document — No. 8. 





THE YEAE 1850. 





In School Committee, 
Sept. 12, 1850. 

Ordered, — That Messrs. Alger, DuiiH, Shailer, Foster, Flint and Clapp, be ap- 
pointed the Annual Examining Committee for the Grammar Schools, and Messrs. 
Slafter, Reynolds and Wayland for the Primary and Intermediate Schools. 

Dec. 11, 1850. 
Messrs. Alger, Shailer and Foster, submitted Reports upon the condition of the 
various departments of the Grammar Schools, and Mr. Slafter, the Report upon the 
condition of the Primary and Intermediate Schools, which Reports were severally 
read and accepted. It was, therefore ordered, that twenty-five hundred copies be 
printed and distributed to the citizens, as the Annual Report of the School Com- 
mittee of Roxbury. 

JOSHUA SEAVER, Secretary. 





The annual examination of the Roxbury Grammar 
Schools, in the above mentioned studies, was entrusted to 
the undersigned, who report as follows : The science of 
numbers being one of the most indispensable branches of 
education, is taught to all the pupils. Of course there will 
appear different degrees of proficiency and readiness in dif- 
ferent pupils, divisions, schools. In our examination we 
saw no good reason to think any one of the teachers incom- 
petent or unfaithful. The recitations were generally satis- 
factory to us and creditable to the schools ; and connected 
with the few exceptions to this were such qualifying cir- 
cumstances as justly take away all severity of blame. 

The higher classes have labored under difficulty from 
the defects of the text book hitherto in use among them. 
The new arithmetic, by Messrs. Leach and Swan, just in- 
troduced, by vote of this board, seems to us excellently 
adapted for our Grammar Schools, and we think improved 
results will be evident from it at the next examination. 

We specify one general fault in the mathematical exer- 
cises of nearly every class. The use of four times as many 
words as are necessary either for accuracy or for clearness ; 
this habit of tedious prolixity and numerous repetitions is 
very common, but has been corrected in some instances, 
and may be in all by careful attention and perseverance. 




The Committee to whom the examination in this depart- 
ment was assigned would report, — that the scholars of the 
diiferent schools were submitted for examination only in 
what they had studied the last quarter ; consequently the 
amount was small, and some of the studies of the depart- 
ment had not been pursued. 

Geography was the study that occupied most of our time. 
We found it in every division of all the schools, except the 
first division of the Washington School, which had laid it 
aside for other studies. 

It was our object, not only to notice the relative amount, 
the different divisions of the schools had gone over, the age, 
the condition, &c., which should modify our judgment, but 
to regard especially the character of the knowledge ac- 
quired : considering it a mark of the highest excellence to 
find that it had not been a work of the memory merely in 
connection with the book or map ; but an acquisition of the 
real thing of practical existence. 

That is a poor teacher who does not combine with the 
recitations oral instruction sufficient to keep the mind of the 
scholars awake to conceive and understand the real thing 
which the book or map represents ; who does not impart a 
knowledge that shall enable the scholar to answer readily 
questions of the same import, though they be not in the 
same form and connection, as those in the book. It is not 
to be able to recite a lesson literally, but to know it prcLcti- 
cally, that is preeminently desirable. With this view we 
passed from one division to another through the whole. 
We found considerable diversity, and yet, perhaps, we 
bught to speak well of the whole. We would mention with 
special satisfaction the third and fifth divisions of the Wash- 
ington ; the first of the Central ; the second of the Westerly, 

as manifesting decided excellence in the thoroughness and 
accuracy of their geographical knowledge. 

We found that in all the divisions of the several schools 
writing had been attended to ; and we were pleased with 
the general appearance and neatness of the writing books. 

In the Dudley School the general good appearance of the 
books and the uniformity of the hand in the second and first 
Divisions, showed thorough instruction, and led to the con- 
clusion that girls could not pass through those Divisions 
without acquiring a good penmanship. Specimens of ex- 
cellent writing were shown in the second Division of the 
Central School. Indeed, good attention seems to be paid to 
writing in all the Divisions of all the schools, so that scho- 
lars, remaining in the schools till they have passed through 
the higher Divisions, will generally acquire a good hand, 
and those who remain in the lower Divisions for consider- 
able time, will acquire a tolerable hand. This is as it 
should be ; and we hope the requisite attention to realize it 
will continue to be given. 

Compositions were shown for examination in the second 
and first Divisions of the Washington School, and in all the 
Divisions of the Dudley School except the two lowest. 
There were some excellent specimens in the highest Divi- 
sions of the Dudley School, evincing considerable thought 
and rhetorical skill. We found a systematic method in 
teaching to compose, practiced in the first Division of the 
Washington School, with which we were much pleased ; 
and which led us to conclude that such thorough drilling on 
the elementary principles.of composition might well be more 
extensively practiced in our schools, and introduced into the 
second, and perhaps the third Division of that school, and 
thus afibrd an opportunity for more extended accurate prac- 
tice in the first Division. It requires time, and knowledge 
and skill to exercise scholars profitably in Composition ; but 
it is an exercise of very great utility to scholars, and with 
the right instruction can be made very interesting to them. 
It is to be hoped that still greater attention will be paid to 
it in our Grammar schools. 

We found classes in History in the first Divisions of the 
Washington, Dudley, and Central Schools, which appeared 
familiar with the small portions they had been over. The 
class at the Central School were especially ready in their 

In the first Division of the Washington School, we heard, 
with satisfaction, a class in Physiology and also in Natural 

In conclusion, your Committee would express their con- 
viction of the imperfection of any comparison they may 
make among the scholars, or of any specification of excel- 
lencies or defects, because of their limited data from Avhich 
to judge. The qualifications and the success of different 
teachers in training and educating pupils can be better told 
by the respective local committees, who, by frequent visit- 
ing, are familiar with the character of their schools. 




Those members of the Committee to whom was assigned 
the examination of the Grammar Schools, in Reading, Or- 
thography, and English Grammar, have attended to their 
duty, and beg leave to present the following brief 


It appears to us, at the outset, that no one standard of 
comparison can justly be instituted for the diflerent Gram- 
mar Schools of ttiis city, owing to the different circum- 
stances peculiar to each. 

The Washington School, for instance, a school for Boys 
only, whose average daily attendance is over five hundred, 
and an unusually large proportion of these the children of 

foreign parents in the humblest rank of hfe, — this School 
cannot, with propriety or justice, be compared to schools 
containing less than half the number of pupils, both girls 
and boys, and most of them children of American parents 
in comfortable circumstances. We have, therefore, attempt- 
ed no comparison, but have examined each School upon its 
own merits, without reference to any other. 

The Westerly School. — It will be remembered that, at 
the last quarterly meeting, this School was represented as 
being in a condition entirely unsatisfactory ; in fact, almost 
in a state of disorganization ; but now, we are happy to 
say, the prospect begins to brighten, under the exertions of 
a new Teacher, who took charge of the School at the be- 
ginning of this term. He has already succeeded in produc- 
ing a quiet obedience, attention, and a fair amount of in- 
dustry among his pupils; and, although from the short 
period during which he has held his situation, he is unable 
at present, to show much progress among his scholars, yet, 
from what he has already accomplished, we have great 
hopes for the future. 

The Reading and Spelling, in the second Division, were 
perfectly satisfactory. The same may generally be said of 
the first Division, although the accuracy was not so univer- 
sal, when the age of the pupils is taken into consideration. 
But the First labors under a hindrance to progress, which 
does not affect the Second Division, namely, that at least 
one-fifth of the boys of the First have but just entered the 
school, having come in for the Winter merely, and this 
must always be an injury to this school. 

In Definitions, the pupils of the First Division, both boys 
and girls, were generally prompt and accurate, some of 
them unusually so. The present teacher, when he took 
charge of the school, was informed that the first class had 
been through the English Grammar used by them : but, 
finding that the pupils knew but little about it, he again 
commenced the book, and, under his instruction, the class 
have advanced but thirty or forty pages ; but, as far as they 


have gone, they appear to have been thoroughly instructed, 
and give prompt and understanding answers to the ques- 
tions put to them. 

The Central School — The examination of this school, 
in all its Divisions, was so pleasing and satisfactory, that 
we have but little to say concerning it. The Reading and 
Spelling in the two lower Divisions were excellent. The 
same may be said of these branches in the second Division ; 
and, in addition to these, the pupils exhibited great readi- 
ness and clearness of understanding in Definitions. In 
English Grammar, also, as far as they had advanced, these 
scholars appeared to have been thoroughly instructed, and 
.to have their knowledge at the tongue's end. This Divi- 
sion, when, at the beginning of the present term, it was 
taken charge of by its present teacher, was far below the 
average standard of the school ; therefore much praise is 
due to her for its present satisfactory condition. 

The first Division acquitted themselves, in all points, in 
a manner highly creditable both to themselves and their 
teacher. The Reading, Spelling, and giving Definitions, 
were excellent, and the recitation of Grammar, with the 
Parsing, both of prose and poetry, almost without mistake. 
This school, it will be remembered, is for both boys and girls. 

Washington School. — The general standard of this 
school, in spite of the industry, capability and fidelity of its 
several teachers, is low, owing mainly, we think, to the 
two circumstances already mentioned, namely, the too 
great number of scholars, and the great proportion of these 
of foreign parentage. The four junior Divisions of this 
school may, without injustice, be classed together ; and in 
these the Reading and Spelling are in no respect superior to 
what we hear in the older classes of our Primary schools. 

In the sixth, fifth, fourth, and third Divisions, there was 
a decided improvement both in Reading and Spelling, and 
some knowledge of Definitions was exhibited ; and those 

pupils who had been instructed in Enghsh Grammar ap- 
peared creditably as far as they had advanced. 

The appearance of the second Division as a whole was 

The first class of the first Division appeared well in Read- 
ing, Spelling, Enghsh Grammar, Parsing, Definitions, and 
Rudiments of Elocution. The second class of the first Di- 
vision did not come quite up to our expectations ; in fact, 
the Principal of the school stated to us, that, owing to his 
various duties, he had been unable to hear this class either 
read or spell during the present term. 

Dudley School. — The Divisions of this school, with per- 
'haps one exception, appeared in so healthy and good condi- 
tion, that there is but little room for distinctive praise, and 
none for positive censure. 

The Reading and Spelling in the lower Divisions were 
very good. In the fifth, fourth, and third Divisions the 
Reading, it appeared to us, could scarcely be improved ; the 
Spelling was excellent, and the Definitions ingenious and 

Although there was nothing in the second Division de- 
serving positive censure, yet the general tone of it did not 
appear to be quite equal to that of other portions of this 

The junior half of the first Division exhibited a thorough 
knowledge of Reading and of Spelling, were very accurate 
in Definitions, and analyzed sentences with great aptitude ; 
besides showing a fair amount of knowledge of English 
Grammar and Parsing. Of the older half of the first Divi- 
sion, we can assert that their performances were of the high- 
est class of excellence; the Reading, Spelling, Defining, 
Parsing, and Analyzing being, each and all, excellent. 




There are, in Roxbury, 37 Public Schools, containing 
about 65 Instructors and 3,600 Pupils. Under the direct 
and sole government of this Board are 30 Primary, 1 Inter- 
mediate, and 4 Grammar Schools. In addition to these, the 
Eliot School at Jamaica Plain, supported by a private 
fund, under direction of a Board of Trustees, is freely opened 
to those fitted to attend it, and offers them the advantages 
of an English High School. Also, the Latin School, in the 
easterly part of the city, is open to those youth who desire 
to obtain the rudiments of a classical education, or especial- 
ly to prepare for College. By act of Legislature, this school 
was constituted the substitute for a High School in Roxbu- 
ry, so long as it should fulfil the conditions of the fifth sec- 
tion of the twenty-third chapter of the Revised Statutes. 
It is under the joint supervision of the Board of Trustees 
and the Roxbury School Committee. We have visited it 
repeatedly, and report it in admirable condition. Its pres- 
ent Principal is a highly accomplished scholar and a devo- 
ted teacher. Great satisfaction is felt at the general appear- 
ance and exercises of the classes. We think, however, it 
will ere long be expedient, if not a necessity, to establish a 
separate English High School in Roxbury ; and we trust 
the citizens will be ready to support such a proposition 
when it shall be recommended. 

An account of the condition and recitations of the Gram- 
mar schools, in their different studies, will be found in the 
specific Reports of the examining Committees. We have 
only to say, in general terms, that the Washington and 
Dudley schools offer no subject of complaint, but rather of 
congratulation. They appear very well in all respects, 
showing no noticeable change from last year. But the 
Central and Westerly schools have made some marked im- 
provements during that time. There has been a partial 


change of teachers in both of them, and the resuhs are 
already appearing, in better order, more industry, more 
promptitude and accuracy. The Principals of these schools 
have reason to be encouraged, and the Committee confi- 
dently anticipate that the next annual examination will be 
the most satisfactory one yet made. 

We refrain from further remarks, referring those who 
wish information, or discussions of topics, here omitted, to 
the full Report of last year. We assure our fellow-citizens, 
after a pretty good acquaintance with the subject, that they 
have every reason to be satisfied with their public schools, 
even to be proud of them, and to be glad of the privilege of 
sending their children to them. 

Chairman of the Examining- Com/mitiee. 


The Committee for the Annual Examination of the Pri- 
mary Schools respectfully report, that they have examined 
all the Primary Schools of the city, and herewith submit 
the following detailed statements relating to each. 

Mary Brooks, Teacher. 

Miss Brooks has been in Roxbury schools, and in her 
present office three years. She has fifty pupils. Average 
attendance forty. Average age 7 3-4 years. The disci- 
pline is tolerable. Only authorized books are used. The 
Reading is deficient in vigor, but marked by justness of 
emphasis. The Spelling is peculiarly accurate. No know- 
ledge of the power and sound of letters has been imparted. 
The first class in Arithmetic recited well. The outline 
Maps have been used with moderate success. The school- 
room is not a very good one, and sadly needs ventilation. 

N. B. — The Schools were examined, and the Reports prepared, by the fol- 
lowing members of the Committee respectively. 

By the Rev. E. F. Slafter, Nos. 3, 4, 11, 13, 15, 16, 19, 20, 25, 26. 30 

By the Rev. G. Reynolds, Nos. 1, 2, 10, 14, 17, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28. 

By the Rev. Dr. Wayland, Nos. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 18, 24, 29, and the Inter- 
mediate School. 


No. 2.— IN SUMNER STREET, (« sub-primary school.) 

Abby J. Tren, Teacher. 

Miss Tren has taught in Roxbury and in this school 
two years. She has forty-seven pupils. Average attend- 
ance thirty-six. Average age 5 3-4 years. The order in 
this school is good ; the Reading vigorous, but too rapid 
and indistinct ; the Spelling very accurate. Nothing can 
be said in praise either of the external or internal condition 
of the building. It is old, low-studded, unventilated. The 
seats, uncomfortable enough in their best days, are now 
both venerable and dilapidated. 


Louisa Curtis, Teacher. 

Miss Curtis has been in the employment of the Board 
three years, and the same length of time in charge of this 
school. The number of scholars belonging is sixty-one ; 
the average attendance fifty ; and the average age is 7 2-3 
years. While the personal appearance of the scholars was 
good for the class, with few exceptions, clean and tidy in 
their dress, we regret to say, that in order they were very 
deficient. They were freely communicating with each 
other, interrupting each others' studies, and occasionally 
addressing each other, without permissiom, in an audible 
voice. The confusion which this state of things occasioned 
could not but affect unfavorably the excellence of the school 
in every department. The Reading was quite imperfect ; 
characterized by bad articulation, a disregard of punctua- 
tion, manner hurried and slovenly, and generally by a low 
and indistinct voice. The first class seemed to have a good 
knowledge of the vowel sounds. In Arithmetic the answers 
were prompt and accurate. The several States, rivers, 
lakes, and mountains on the outline Map of the United 
States weri? very accurately pointed out. The books used 


are only such as are authorized by the Board. The build- 
ing needs repairs ; the floor of the school-room is worn out. 
It is well heated, but the ventilation is worthless. 


Louisa E. Harris, Teacher. 

Miss Harris has taught in the city of Roxbury ten years, 
during all of which period she has had the charge of this 
school. The whole number of pupils at the present time is 
forty-seven. Average number forty-three. Average age, 
7 1-2 years. The order of the school, and personal appear- 
ance of the scholars were quite good, considering the class 
of families to which they belong. The Reading, in spite of 
foreign accents, was clear and distinct ; the voice well mod- 
ulated and the emphasis properly placed. The Spelling 
was, in general, accurate, but defective in manner, being 
hurried through without a distinct pronunciation of each 
syllable. Words of different endings, . though similar in 
sound, were clearly distinguished, showing the fruits of the 
teacher's diligent labor. They also evinced a good knowl- 
edge of the sounds of the vowels in all their variations. In 
oral Arithmetic there was facility in processes involved in 
the four fundamental rules. The older scholars had a 
thorough knowledge of the general outlines of the Geogra- 
phy of the United States. The books used in the school are 
such as are authorized, excepting in the classes formed be- 
fore the passage of the vote by the Board, excluding Col- 
bum's Arithmetic and Mitchell's small Geography from the 
Primary schools. The school building is new, but we were 
sorry to see that it is not neatly kept, being very much 
soiled both internally and externally. The ventilation is 
extremely bad, exposing the health of both teachers and 
scholars. The heating apparatus is good. 



Caroline N. Heath, Teacher. 

Miss Heath has been engaged in teaching ten years, and 
all the while in her present situation. The number of scho- 
lars forty-eight ; average age 6 2-3 years ; average attend- 
ance thirty-seven. Order of the school, good — personal ap- 
pearance, cleanly — behavior, obedient and respectful. The 
Reading was good, though open to the objection of not suffi- 
ciently bringing out the sense. The Spelling very good. 
Arithmetic excellent. The questions in outline Maps, with- 
out exception, answered promptly and accurately. Author- 
ized books alone used. The building in good repair, and 
the school-room well warmed and thoroughly ventilated. 


Caroline F. Atherton, Amanda E. Taft, Teachers. 

The former has been a teacher two and a half years in 
this city, and all the while in this school ; the latter one 
year, and in her present situation. The scholars number 
eighty-two. Their average age is 6 years. Average at- 
tendance seventy. Their appearance clean and tidy — 
behavior orderly. Reading very superior, and showing 
unusual knowledge of the power and sound of letters. 
Spelling excellent. The same may be said of the exam- 
ination in the outline Maps. In Arithmetic, the scholars 
appeared less well than in any of the other studies. Au- 
thorized books alone used in this school. The room is in- 
sufficiently warmed, and the ventilation as defective as can 
well be imagined. 



Sarah E. Colburn, Teacher. 

The teacher of this school was unfortunately confined to 
the room by sickness. But in her absence we could see the 
marks of good instruction and thorough discipline. She has 
had the school one year. Number of scholars only twenty- 
five; average attendance eighteen. Order of the school 
good. Reading and Spelling very satisfactory. Arithme- 
tic good ; in outline Maps excellent. All the books used 
such as -are authorized. The school-house is one of the 
poorest that we have. It is well warmed, but the ventila- 
tion bad. 


Sarah J. Morse, Teacher. 

The order and general appearance of this school was 
good. The Reading and Spelling were satisfactory. More 
attention to the- sound of the vowels and emphasis and in- 
flection is recommended. The exercises in Arithmetic and 
Geography excellent. The ventilation of the school-room 
tolerably good. 


Anna B. Smith, Teacher. 

Miss Smith has held her present oflice six months. The 
number of scholars is quite small, being only twenty-two, 
whose average is 7 years ; their average attendance nine- 
teen. In point of order, personal appearance and behavior, 
this school is equal to any that we have visited. The Read- 
ing was defective in clear enunciation and expression. In 
Spelling there were many failures. The examination in 
Arithmetic, and in the outline Maps, was very good. The 


books used are only such as are authorized. The state of 
the building is good — the means of warming it sufficient — • 
ventilation imperfect. 


S. E. Wentworth, Teacher. 

Miss Wentworth has been teacher in our schools only 
two months. The number of pupils under her charge is 
forty-six ; average attendance thirty-seven. Average age 
6 3-4 years. This school labors under many difficulties. 
The attendance is irregular ; there is a great diffierence in 
the age of the pupils, and many of the scholars are destitute 
of the required books. The appearance of the school was 
peculiar. Some of the pupils perfectly satisfied us, — their 
deportment was good ; they read with fluency and just em- 
phasis, spelt correctly, displayed good knowledge of the 
power and sound of letters, were well acquainted with out- 
line maps, and solved regularly and accurately simple prob- 
lems in Arithmetic. Other pupils, (those irregular in attend- 
ance,) were restless, bad readers and spellers, and ignorant 
of Arithmetic and outline Maps. We have reason to believe 
that the present teacher is faithful, and will, if time is allow- 
ed, improve the school ; but a careful supervision is needed. 
The school-room lacks ventilation. 


Louisa Mitchel, Teacher. 

Miss Mitchel has been in the employment of the city 
twelve years, and the same length of time in charge of this 
school. The whole number of pupils is forty-six ; average 
attendance forty, and average age 7 years. The order of 
the school was extremely good; the scholars were clean 
and tidy in dress and gentle in their manners. The Read- 
ing was easy and generally correct, though a greater perfec- 


tion in articulation would be desirable. The Spelling was 
quite accurate. We were sorry to know that the sounds of 
the letters had not been thoroughly taught. In Arithmetic, 
the pupils exhibited a good knowledge of the four funda- 
mental rules, and the simple forms of fractions ; the ex- 
planations of the examples were, however, incomplete. The 
outline Map of the United States was quite thoroughly un- 
derstood. The Primary Arithmetic and Spelling-book au- 
thorized, had not been introduced, the teacher not having 
been informed of their introduction into the schools. The 
ventilation of the room is very deficient, though it is well 

No. 12.— IN EUSTIS STREET, {a sub-primary school.) 

H. E. BuRRiLL, Teacher. 

Mrs. BuRRiLL has taught only six months in Roxbury. 
She has fifty-nine scholars. Average attendance forty-seven. 
Average age 3 5-10 years. The majority of the pupils 
are of foreign parentage. This being considered, the 
order was good, the Reading respectable. The Spelling 
generally was correct, and the oral exercises were valuable. 
The ventilation of the school-room is poor. 


Henrietta M. Young, Teacher. 

Miss Young has been a teacher in the public schools of 
Roxbury two years, but entered upon her present charge 
only three or four days previous to the examination. The 
number of pupils belonging is forty-nine. Average daily 
attendance forty-six. Average age 7 years. There was a 
quiet and beautiful order in this school, worthy of the high- 
est commendation. The scholars were clean and tidy in 
their dress, mild and gentle in their manners. The Redd- 
ing was in general excellent ; it was fluent, easy, and we '1- 
articulatod. The scholars had not been properly instructed 


in the pbwer and sound of the letters. In Arithmetic they 
exhibited great promptness and accuracy in simple exam- 
ples in Addition and Subtraction, but with the table of Mul- 
tiplication there was very little familiarity. They were un- 
usually deficient in a knowledge of Geographical outlines. 
Colburn's Arithmetic is still used here, as in most oth«r 
schools, though it has ceased to be an authorized book. 
The school-room was in good condition, neat and in good 
drdeir ; it is also well heated, but has no means of ventila- 
tion whatever. It demands immediate attention. 


Louisa Newell, Teacher. 

This teacher has been in her present situation three years, 
arid in Roxbury schools six. The school numbers forty- 
nine. Average attendance forty-five and a half Average 
a^e t years. The order is excellent. Authorized books are 
ii^ed. The Reading was distinct and fluent ; the Spelling 
Correct, though little instruction has been given regarding 
tfcfe sKDUnd of letters. The recitations in Arithmetic were not 
superior, but the outline Maps have been used -vrith great 
success. The school-room is not ventilated. 

No. 15.— IN OXFORD STREET, {a sub-primary school.) 

Caroline J. Bills, Teacher. 

Miss Bills has never taught in the public schools of Rox- 
bury until she entered upon the duties of her preseiit charge 
6n the week of the examination. The whole nurtiber of 
pupils is sixty-six. Average daily attendance fifty-three. 
Average age 5 years. We found the school-room in good 
oVder, and the scholars generally neat and cleanly iri their 
dress. They showed that they had been trained to method. 
The Reading and Spelling were both excellent ; very few 
words were misspelled. As this school is in the same build- 


ing with No. 13, the remarks, relating to ventilation, in the 
Report of that school, apply also to this. 

No. 16.— IN CENTRE STREET, (« sub-primary school.) 

Susan Watreman, Teacher. 

Miss Waterman has been in charge of this school only- 
eight weeks, which comprises the whole time she has been 
in the employment of the Board. The number of scholars 
belonging to the school is eighty-two ; the average attend- 
ance fifty-seven ; and average age 5 1-3 years. 

The order in this school was not good, and we do not 
think it possible^ with so large a number of scholars, and so 
young, to have such order as the greatest utility absolutely 
demands. The Reading and Spelling were quite as good 
as we could expect under the circumstances. As this is a 
sub-primary school, no other branches are pursued. The 
school-room needs better ventilation. 

No. ir.— -IN YEOMAN STREET, {a sub-primary school) 

Sarah P. Jennison, Teacher. 

Mrs. Jennison has taught in this school three years, and 
in Roxbury four years. She has seventy pupils. A vera g 
attendance fifty-nine and one-third. Average age 5 2-3 
years. This school is in excellent condition. The deport- 
ment is good. The Reading and Spelling are remarkably 
good, while much profitable oral instruction has been given. 
The school-room is utterly diestitute of means of ventilation, 
otherwise it is in a tolerably good condition. 

No. 18.— NUTE'S CORNER. 

Sophia L. Larkin, Teacher. 

Miss Larkin has been a teacher in this city two years and 
nine months, — all of which time, witli the exception of three 


months, she has been in her present situation. The num- 
ber of scholars is thirty-five, whose average age is 6 years ; 
and their average attendance twenty-five. Nearly the 
whole are Irish, gind belonging to that walk in life which 
renders it very difficult to enjoin habits of cleanliness and 
order. The Reading was better than we expected, from no- 
ticing in the school record the exceeding irregularity of their 
attendance. The Spelling was good. The classes in Arith- 
metic had but just commenced, but appeared well as far as 
they had gone. None of the scholars had studied the out- 
line Maps. Only authorized books were used. The build- 
ing is in good repair, though badly situated. The room is 
well warmed, but, as in so many other cases, poorly ven- 


Sarah E. Gardner, Teacher. 

Miss Gardner has been in the employment of the Boards 
two and a half years, and one and a quarter in charge of 
this school. The number of pupils belonging is fifty-eight ; 
average daily attendance forty-five. Average age 8 years. 
The order was perfect and the children were clean and tidy 
in their dress. The Reading was distinct and intelligent, 
the voice well modulated and agreeable. The Spelling, 
with some individual exceptions, was good. The know- 
ledge of the power of letters was somewhat defective. In 
Arithmetic there were more failures than there ought to be. 
On the outline Maps a very distinct knowledge was exhib- 
ited, so far as our own country is concerned, of the location 
and boundary of the several States, capitals, rivers, moun- 
tains, &c. Authorized books are used. The school-room 
is in good condition, excepting the ventilation, which is im- 
perfect. Though composed mostly of children of foreign 
parentage, this school possesses nearly all the elements of a 
superior primary school. 


No. 20.— IN ORANGE STREET, {a sub-primary school.) 

Mary E. Hodge, Teacher. 

Miss Hodge has been a teacher one and a half years in 
this city, and one year and a quarter in this school. The 
whole number of pupils belonging is eighty-two ; the aver- 
age daily attendance is sixty-eight. The average age 4 4-5 
years. For so large a sub-primary school, the order was 
good, and the personal appearance of the pupils was as good 
as could be expected from the class of families from which 
they came. The exercises in Reading and Spelling showed 
fidelity in the teacher, and a hopeful advancement in the 
pupils. There are scholars enough in this school to employ 
two laborious teachers. The building needs some shght 
repairs and a thorough cleaning. 


L. W. Hewes, Teacher. 

Miss Hewes has taught in Roxbury and in this school 
three years. Number of pupils forty-six ; average attend- 
ance forty. Average age 7 years. This school is in excel- 
lent condition. The discipline is superior. Only author- 
ized books are used. The Spelling is accurate, while there 
is a good knowledge of the power and sound of letters. 
The outline Maps have been used faithfully, and the recita- 
tions in Arithmetic are prompt and correct. The school- 
room is a good one, but is neither well heated nor ventilated. 

No. 22.— IN ELM STREET. 

Elizabeth Daniels, Teacher. 

Miss Daniels has taught in Roxbury three years, but in 
this school only two months. She has forty-one pupils ; 
average attendance thirty-nine. Average age 7 years. The 


order is tolerably good. The Reading was excellent, the 
pupils applying emphasis with rare propriety. The Spell- 
ing was accurate, but the introductory lessons concerning 
the sound of letters, though committed, were not Under- 
stood. The outline Maps had been used with fidelity. 
The recitations in Arithmetic were not excellent. The 
school-room is kept very neat, and is an agreeable, and ap- 
parently a well heated, well ventilated apartment. 


Elizabeth F. Thomas, Teacher. 

Miss Thomas has taught in Roxbury and in her present 
school three years. Her school numbers forty-nine. Ave- 
rage qittendance forty-three. Average age 6 1-3 years. — 
The deportment of the pupils was excellent. The Reading 
was throughout clear and emphatic. The lower classes 
spelled from the Reader with great correctness, but the up- 
per classes seemed bewildered by the peculiar classification 
of Swan's Spelling-book. No attention had been given to 
the rules concerning the power and sound of letters. The 
recitations in Arithmetic were not very good, but those upon 
the outline Maps were excellent. The school-room needs 
only ventilation to be a good one. 


Hannah Hall, Teacher. 

Miss Hall has held her present situation two years. 
The number of scholars is sixty-five ; their average age 
8 1-2; average attendance fifty-six. The school, as to or- 
der, personal appearance and behavior of the pupils, will 
bear a favorable comparison with other schools, Avhere the 
children have parents to care for them., and a home to go to. 
The Reading was inferior to what we expected ; it failed 
in animation and clear enunciation ; nor could we perceive 


that there was a proper appreciation of the sense of the 
words uttered. It was too much the monotonous pronunci- 
ation of words. The Spelhng was tolerably good. The 
exercises in Arithmetic and Geography were more satisfac- 
tory. The outline Maps, we found, had not been introduc- 
ed into this school, nor the Arithmetic authorized by the 
School Committee, — both of which deficiencies we hope will 
be supplied. Why this school appeared less well than it did 
the last year, we know not ; but probably its remote situa- 
tion, rendering it impossible for the local committee to main- 
tain a diligent supervision over it, may account, in a great 
degree, for the fact, which we have felt bound to state. 


Susan M. Underwood, Teacher. 

Miss Underwood has been in the employment of the 
Board, as also in charge of this school, for three years. 
The whole number of pupils belonging is fifty-three. Ave- 
rage daily attendance forty-seven and a half. Average age 
7 2-3 years. We regret to say that the order of this school 
was defective. Whispering was general, and audible con- 
versation among the pupils quite frequent. This school 
was formerly in the same room with No. 30 ; and with one 
hundred and thirty small children, it was impossible to es- 
tablish the law of order ; and it does not seem now to be 
free from the bad habits acquired in its former state of con- 
fusion. The energies of the teacher should at present be 
directed, to this defect. Its influence would be seen, as the 
want of it is now, in all the exercises of the school. The 
Reading was not clear, distinct, or particularly intelligent ; 
it was not distinguished by the best elements of the art. 
The Spelling was also quite defective. The scholars evinc- 
ed, however, a very good knowledge of the vowel sounds. 
In Arithmetic the answers were prompt and accurate in the 
simple rules. A good general knowledge was shown of the 
Geography of the United States. Authorized books alone 


were used. The building is in good order internally and 
externally, with the exception of the ventilation, which is 
defective mainly in not being sufficiently extensive. There 
is but one flue for the exit of bad air, while three or four of 
the same size would be necessary to render the air of the 
room salubrious. 

No. 26.— IN SMITH STREET, (« sub-primary school.) 

Anna F. Reed, Teacher. 

Miss Reed has had charge of this school one year, which 
comprises the whole time she has taught in the public 
schools of this city. The whole number of scholars belong- 
ing is eighty ; average attendance sixty-one and two-thirds. 
Average age 5 1-4 years. The order and personal appear- 
ance of the scholars were far from what we should be glad 
to see ; but made up, as they are, of those who evidently 
know nothing of the law of order at home, and with so large 
a number crowded into a single room, and so young as most 
of them are, we do not see how it can be otherwise. To 
maintain proper order, with one half the number, would be a 
task indeed. As this is a sub-primary school, Reading and, 
Spelling are the only branches taught. Very few were able 
to read at all ; a large part were occupied in learning the 
process of forming letters into syllables, and syllables into 
words. The instruction appeared to be skilful, although 
given, as already intimated, in the face of most discourag- 
ing obstacles. Authorized books alone are employed in the 
school. As this school is in the same building with No. 4. 
the remarks make in the Report of that school relating to 
the state of the building, heating and ventilating, apply also 
to this. 

No. 27.— IN SUDBURY STREET, (« sub-primary school.) 

Elizabeth F. Morse^ Teacher. 

Miss Morse has taught in Roxbury and in this school 
one year. She has eighty pupils. Average attendance 


fifty-eight. Average age 5 1-3 years. The material of this 
school is very poor, and the order and recitations were as 
good as could have been expected. The present school- 
room is mifit for use, but a new building is bemg erected. 

No. 28.— IN ELM STREET, (« sub-primary school.) 

H. M. Wentworth, Teacher. 

Miss Wentworth has been in Roxbury schools two years, 
in this school one. She has sixty-four pupils. Average 
attendance fifty-seven and a half Average age 5 3-10 
years. This teacher deserves peculiar commendation. 
The pupils are cheerful, yet orderly. They read with flu- 
ency and spell correctly, while the success which has at- 
tended oral instruction in Natural History reflects great 
credit upon the teacher. The school-room is neat, spacious, 
well heated, well ventilated. 


Hannah A. Adam, Teacher. 

Miss Adam has been engaged in teaching about one year. 
She has fifty-one scholars, Avhose average age is 6 1-2 years. 
Average attendance forty-three. The order of the school, 
and behavior of the scholars, less good than we expected. 
The Reading failed in animation and a clear expression of 
the sense. Spelling good — Arithmetic moderate — the exam- 
ination upon the outline Maps excellent. No books, but 
those which are authorized, are used in this school. The 
building is in perfect order, and the room well warmed and 
well ventilated. The teacher has ability, in time to make 
great improvements in this school. 


No. 30.— IN YERNON STREET, (a sub-primary school.) 

Georgiana S. Whitney, Teacher. 

Miss Whitney has been in charge of this school two and 
a half years, which comprises the whole time she has been 
in the employment of the Board. The nmnber of scholars 
belonging is seventy-seven ; average attendance sixty-seven. 
Average age 5 1-3 years. The order of the school, consid- 
ering the very large number of pupils, was very good, but 
it cost the teacher too much labor ; it required a considera- 
ble share of the teacher's time to keep the seventy-four chil- 
dren, present on the day of examination, in tolerable order. 
This she could not have done, had she not been possessed 
of an uncommon degree of energy and will. One half the 
number of pupils of their age is as many as one person can 
control and instruct at the same time. The children were 
well clothed, and clean. The Reading was clear and dis- 
tinct, and has as many of the elements of good reading as 
could be properly demanded in this early stage of the art. 
The Spelling was, in general, very accurate ; there was no 
instance of failure in the first class. Authorized books alone 
are employed. The school building is nearly new — is kept 
in good order inside and out, and is properly heated. The 
ventilation is imperfect, and is referred to in the Report of 
Primary School No. 25. 

\st Division. H.Dudley, Teacher. 

Miss Dudley has been engaged in the business of teach- 
ing one year and four months ; during which time she has 
been in her present situation. Number of scholars forty- 
five, whose average age is 9 1-2 years. Average attend- 
ance forty. The order, personal appearance, and behavior 
of the children unexceptionable. The examination in Read- 
ing and Spelling satisfactory — in Arithmetic good — in out- 


line Maps excellent. None but authorized books are used 
in this school. The building is in excellent condition ; the 
room well warmed and tolerably ventilated. 

2c? Division. Nancy L. Tucker, Teacher. 

Miss Tucker has held this office one year, and has taught 
nowhere else. Number of scholars forty-six ; average age 
9 1-2. Average attendance forty-one. This Division is 
kept in the same room as the other, which renders it unne- 
cessary to go into details, as the same remarks are applica- 
ble to both. 



A careful examination of the foregoing reports will reveal 
the fact, that at least 23 of the 31 school-rooms are defective 
in ventilation. The expense of putting them in proper re- 
pair, bears no relation to the evil suffered from their present 
state. In most instances a very small outlay would remedy 
the defect. Whatever view we may take of it, whether we 
regard it as a matter of economy or of humanity, the rem- 
edy should be immediately applied. It is undoubtedly the 
legitimate design of our public schools to educate the child- 
ren of our citizens as thoroughly and extensively as possible, 
under certain limitations, in the fundamental branches of 
education. Economy suggests that the instruments em- 
ployed should be such as will best facilitate the accomplish- 
ment of the work. A school-room crowded with children, 
many of them unneat in their persons, and that beyond the 
control of the teacher, must in a short time, without proper 


ventilation, be filled with a nauseous and poisonous atmo- 
sphere. Moreover, the oxygen of the air is soon consumed 
by respiration, the blood becomes vitiated, and debility and 
disease are the natural and inevitable result. In this inter- 
ruption of his physical functions, the child becomes heavy, 
stupid and indifferent. All his energies are in a degree par- 
alyzed. The memory loses its power of retention, the rea- 
soning faculties become flaccid and inefficient, and the whole 
mind is stultified. If we pass by the injury done to the 
health, it is obvious that the process of education with the 
child must be extremely slow. In some instances hardly 
any advancement is made whatever, and such could be 
pointed out among the primary schools of our own city. 
For a small sum, twenty or thirty dollars each it is believed, 
our school-houses could, in this respect, be put in perfect 
and final repair. The expense of sustaining our primary 
schools cannot be less on an average than four hundred dol- 
lars each per annum. If therefore we desire to secure the 
largest amount of education for a limited sum of money, we 
submit it to the judgment of this Board, if the addition of 
thirty dollars for each, as a permanent investment, or the 
increase of the expenses of each, one dollar and eighty cents 
per annum, in giving to our school buildings such ventila- 
tion as shall secure to the scholars health of body and vigor 
of mind, and, consequently, facility in the acquirement of 
knowledge, Avould not be a sound measure of practical econ- 
omy. If it be viewed in a moral aspect, as a matter of 
humanity, we know of no apology for any delay in this 
necessary work. 


The attention of your Committee was particularly called 
to the class of Schools denominated " Sub-Primary," though 
they are not recognized as such by our "Regulations," and 
have no especial sanction of the Board. The schools thus 
denominated are composed of the youngest scholars eligible 
to the Primary schools. Very few of them can read at all, 
and those who can, are only able to do so by spelling each 


word as they proceed, while a large majority are in the pro- 
cess of learning their letters, and forming them into sylla- 
bles. In the opinion of your Committee, this division of 
Primary schools, on the foregoing principle, is of doubtful 
expediency. A small sub-primary school, we doubt not, 
can be managed very successfully. But a large school of 
this kind meets with obstacles to success, which seem to us 
almost insuperable. To maintain good order in a school of 
sixty or seventy scholars, no more than four or five years 
old, is only possible at the expense of a large portion of the 
teacher's time. The consequence is, that in nearly all in- 
stances of the kind, there is an entire want of this element 
of a good school. We could very well pardon a teacher for 
not exacting even a good degree of order, if the evil termi- 
nated within the walls of her own school. But habits of 
disorder are not easily broken up. Once fixed, they are 
carried into schools of a higher grade ; and their vitiating 
tendency seems never to be lost. In schools where some of 
the pupils are more advanced than others, the attention of 
its younger members is occupied with the recitations of 
those who are older, and they are thus acquiring incident- 
ally much important information. It is a fact, which all 
experienced teachers understand, that very young children 
learn readily, from example, what is imparted to them with 
great difficulty by a teacher. In a sub-primary school the 
influence of example as an instructor is nearly, if not entire- 
ly lost, as at that early stage of education, there is very 
little to attract the ear or excite the interest of the unoccu- 
pied child. But it is important also to observe, that the 
monotony of teaching the alphabet and the reading and 
spelling of a few easy words, week after week and month 
after month, wastes the energies of a teacher and tends to 
disqualify her for the duties of her office. Variety is neces- 
sary to some extent, if not to create, at least to maintain an 
interest in any employment whatever. If our own obser- 
vation be correct, the want of it may be traced in a corres- 
ponding want of spirit and vivacity in some of the teachers 
of our sub-primary schools. The field of th^ir labor is too 


narrow, they have not that variety which is the natural 
ahment of the human mind, and especially of such minds 
as possess the hest combination of superior qualities. 
While, therefore, there are many obstacles to success in this 
arrangement of our Primary schools, we know not that 
there is any single advantage secured by it. We would 
suggest therefore, whether it would not be well for the local 
Committees, in several instances, to combine the primary 
and sub-primary schools, when they are both in the same 
building, at least for a sufficient time to test the two me- 


It were impossible to pass through the schools of our city 
without observing a very marked difference in the ability, 
or rather adaptedness, of the several teachers for the func- 
tions of their office. This- arises mainly from a difference 
in talent, temperament and previous education. The art of 
teaching is eminently a "gift." It requires a combination 
of qualities, which not all, or even many minds possess. A 
large number of persons offer themselves as teachers, who 
are no better qualified for the duties of their office, than a 
rope-maker to embroider lace. They have a livelihood to 
obtain, and some unfortunate impulse has directed them into 
this particular channel to accomplish their purpose. Hence 
the very obvious disparity in the real qualifications of the 
teachers in our public schools. As experience alone can de- 
velope the good qualities of a teacher, it oftentimes becomes 
a difficult matter to select from the multitude of applicants. 
And yet on the character of the teacher depends mainly the 
character of the school. All other instrumentalities may be 
of the highest order, and yet a failure in this will vitiate the 
whole. It will be seen at once that too much care cannot 
be exercised in appointing proper persons to this eminently 
responsible office. Ih all the larger and more important 
Primary Schools, and especially the larger Sub-Primary 
Schools, if they are continued as such, (for in our judgment 
.they require greater .^skill both in government and instruc- 


tion,) no person should be appointed who has not had a 
large and successful experience in the art of teaching. Le^ 
practical experience in the schools be always a necessar^ 
qualification, and the difficulties we so often encountei 
would disappear. Teachers of experience and skill are 
always to be found. It may require some effort on the part 
of the School Committee, and perhaps a little delay, but he 
will be richly rewarded in the consciousness of having estab- 
lished a superior school. There are a number of small 
schools in the city that might perhaps be entrusted to per- 
sons of less experience; and when a reputation has been 
earned in one of these, let the teacher be invited to a more 
important and lucrative post. 

By an examination of the foregoing reports, it will be seen 
that the principle of advancement has not been practiced to 
any considerable extent. Nearly all the primary teachers 
in the city have, from the beginning, been in the same 
schools in which they are now engaged. We would sug- 
gest to the Board, whether it would not be a salutary en- 
couragement, to advance the teachers of the smaller to the 
larger schools whenever a suitable person can be found. 

During the past year the Chairman of the Board has met 
the primary teachers at the City Hall on one occasion, for 
the purpose of addressing them on subjects of general inter- 
est to them as teachers. Were such appointments more 
frequent, a great advantage, in our judgment, would be de- 
rived to our schools. Advantage might also be derived by 
an occasional visit to other schools. Teachers need to re- 
fresh themselves at times, by witnessing their art in other 
hands. It serves to burnish up their armor, to quicken their 
energies, to excite their enterprize, and especially to direct 
their attention to matters trifling in themselves, but of fund- 
amental importance in the right conduct of a school. We 
would suggest that half a day each term, for that purpose, 
would be time well appropriated. The visit, in this case, 
should be made to some school of approved excellence, and 
with the knowledge and approbation of the Local Commit- 




In passing through the various schools, we were happy 
to find that none but authorized hooks are employed, with 
the exception, in a few cases, of those last introduced hy the 
Board, which will he supplied with the opening of the next 
term. This uniformity will, it is believed, have a salutary 
efiect. The books employed are well adapted to the age of 
the scholars, and the extent of primary instruction is now 
pretty well defined. An important step has thus been taken 
towards making the books used in the Primary, altogether 
distinct from those employed in the Grammar schools, so 
strongly recommended by the Examining Committees of 
last year. On entering the Grammar schools, a new class 
of books in all departments, we believe, is now put into the 
hands of the pupils ; thus giving a freshness to all their ex- 
ercises, as they enter upon higher forms of study. 


Many of the school-rooms were found deficient in cleanli- 
ness. This was sometimes observed where the personal 
appearanceof the scholars was good. An impression seems 
to have gained currency, that the school-rooms are only to 
be thoroughly cleansed once in the year. The result is, 
that for a large portion of the time they are unfit for occu- 
pation. As order is said to be Heaven's first law, so we 
believe it equally true, that cleanliness is the first law in 
civilization. If the duty devolves upon the Local Commit- 
tees or the teachers to see that their school-rooms are clean, 
we would suggest that the period of renovation be determin- 
ed by the necessity of the case, rather than the return of a 
certain number oi rnonths or years. 


We have endeavored, in this Report, to give an accurate 
statement of the present condition of our Primary schools. 


and especially in those particulars in which improvement 
seems necessary or desirable. If any of our suggestions 
shall prove of service to the newly-elected Board of School 
Committee, soon to take our place, our aim will be fully 

Respectfully submitted, 


Chairman of Ex. Committee.