BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
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City Document. — iVb. 12.
THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS,
THE CITY OF ROXBURY,
THE YEAE 18al.
NORFOLK COUNTY JOURNAL PRESS
THOMAS PRINCE, CITY PRINTER.
City Document. — No. 12.
TIE PUBLIC SCHOOLS,
THE CITY OF ROXBURY,
THE YEAE 1851.
NORFOLK COUNTY JOURNAL PRESS,
THOMAS PRINCE, CITY PRINTER.
CITY OF ROXBURY.
In School Committee,
July 30th, 1851.
Ordered — ^That Messrs. Peirce, Wayland, and Anderson, be appointed
the Annual Examining Committee for the Grammar Schools, and Messrs.
Shailer, Seaver, Morse, Flint, Foster, and Allen, for the Primary and
December 10th, 1851.
Messrs. Peirce, Wayland, and Anderson, submitted Reports upon the con-
dition of the various departments of the Grammar Schools, and Mr, Shailer,
the Report upon the condition of the Primary and Intermediate Schools,
which Reports were severally read and accepted ; it was therefore —
Ordered — That two thousand copies be printed and distributed to the
citizens, as the Annual Report of the School Committee of the City of
JOSHUA SEAVER, Secretary.
REPORT OF THE SCHOOL COMMITTEE,
The Committee to whom was assigned the examination
of the Grammar Schools, have attended to their duties, and
submit the subjoined report.
TIME OF EXAMINATION.
It is due, both to the teachers and pupils of the schools, that
your Committee should express their convictions in reference
to the unfavorableness of the period selected for the Annual
During the month of August there is almost an entire change
throughout the divisions of the schools. The pupils that
have been, through the year, in the first division, especially
in the Washington School, leave at the close of the Summer
term, and with the commencement of the Fall term, a gen-
eral promotion occurs from the Primary Schools, and through
all the sub-divisions of the Grammar Schools. In addition
to this, children that have been detained from school through
the summer, return again in the fall. The teachers have,
therefore, but about three months to train the pupils in their
several divisions — too short a period to make any very
marked impression upon their progress.
At this time, before the teacher has had sufficient oppor-
tunity fuHy to develope his own system, to correct any bad
habits previously acquired, and before the pupil has become
thorough in his studies, and confident in his knowledge of
the principles involved in his memoriter recitations, the prin-
cipal examination for the year occurs. The teacher is cha-
grined by the want of positiveness in the answers of his class,
and the pupils are greatly agitated from lack of confidence
Your Committee, in their quarterly examinations, during
the summer, heard recitations which, for smoothness and
thoroughness, far surpassed the performances of classes of
the same grade at the late examination. These embarrass-
ments would be obviated could the annual examination
occur at the close of the Spring quarter. To such a change,
your Committee can see no serious objection, and they would,
therefore, recommend that, hereafter, the Aimual Examina-
tion take place at that time.
MANNER OF CONDUCTING THE EXAMINATION.
Your Committee felt it to be very important that they
should have a correct standard by which to measure the at-
tainments and progress of our schools, — neither too high nor
too low. A recitation might not reach the expectation of
the examiner, and yet be fully up to the average of acquire-
ment among children of the same age in other schools.
Your Committee, therefore, devoted several days to visiting
schools of the same grade in Boston, that they might be bet-
ter prepared to form a just judgment of the comparative pro-
ficiency of our own.
In order that the pupils might be generally measured by
the same rule, instead of dividing the work, and visiting the
different divisions individually, the Committee remained to-
gether in the examination of the upper classes in both schools,
and made up their judgment of the proficiency of the schol-
ars, after mutual consultation.
To secure, however, a proper division of labor, it was ar-
ranged that one member of the Committee should give his
special attention to the Reading, Spelling, Grammar, &c.,
another to Mathematics, and the third to Geography, and
History. These several reports will appear in their place.
It is proper to remark here, that teachers experience no
small amount of embarrassment from the different courses
pursued by Examining Committees. One year, the gentle-
men holding this office, require a definite and thorough ac-
' quaintance with the text-books, and even the very Avords of
their authors — the examination, indeed, exhibiting only the
strength and discipline of the child's memory. Another
year, the text-book is laid aside, and the child's acquaintance
with the principles involved in his year's progress is tested.
To secure verbal accuracy, as demanded by the first course,
the teacher sometimes sacrifices the most important province
of youthful training — the discipline of the whole mind, espe-
cially of its reasoning powers.
Your Committee entered the several Divisions of our
schools to discover what the children kneiu about the branches
of science which they had been pursuing, and not what they
recollected to have been printed in their books. They Avished
to see how much the pupils would carry with them from
the school, and of how much practical advantage their
course of study had been to them. The only reference,
therefore, made to text-books, was to learn what had been
the field of study for the term, and oral questions were then
asked, by the Committee, upon the facts or principles involv-
ed in the portion passed over. The classes may not have ex-
hibited as much fluency and ease in their answers, as they
would have shown had the other process been pursued, but
pupils, teachers and committee had a more truthful view of
the actual attainments which had been made, and a clearer
exhibition of the exact character of the pupil's deficiency.
The great object of education, beyond the disciplining and
strengthening of the mental faculties, is to impress indelibly
upon the mind such general truths and principles as will ad-
mit of a constant application when the youth leaves liis
books and commences the active duties of his calling. The
memory of details may fail him, but whatever truths he has
fully comprehended in his own mind, and distinctly under-
stood in all their relations, will remain as his permanent
mental resources — coming to his aid whenever the proper
occasion presents itself
The general appearance of our schools is very gratifying.
In visiting other schools, your Committee found teachers
and classes that, in some one branch of instruction or acqui-
sition, might take rank higher than our own, but taken as a
whole, our schools will not suffer in the comparison, either
as to discipline, scholarship, or vivacity, with others in the
vicinity. We were favorably impressed with the natural-
ness and ease generally exhibited both in reading and recita-
tions. The children appear to be happy, improving, respect-
ful in their bearing towards their teachers, and cheerfully
submissive to the strict, but not harsh, discipline of the school.
We were peculiarly struck with the admirable physical
training of the two upper Divisions of the Washington
School. The boys pass through a series of calisthenic exer-
cises with the precision of a military drill, affording them,
at once, a vigorous muscular exercise, arousing the flagging
faculties of the mind, and bringing the whole company of
nearly two hundred into a state of absolute order and quiet-
ness. It is proper here, also, to express the gratification felt
by the Committee in witnessing the public literary exhibi-
tion by the first two Divisions of the Dudley School. The
recitations of the young ladies, the reading of select pieces,
the original compositions and the delightful music, alto-
gether, formed a pleasant episode in the somewhat monoton-
ous labors of examination, and appeared to afford great
pleasure to the parents and invited guests who were
READING, SPELLING, DEFINING, GRAMMAR, NATURAL
PHILOSOPHY, AND WRITING.
Having been directed by the Chairman of the " Examining
Committee for the Grammar Schools," to give my attention
principally to the following branches of study, viz. : Read-
ing, Spelling, Defining, Grammar, Natm'al Philosophy and
Writing, I beg leave to furnish some results of my observa-
tion during the Examination of said schools.
In general, I am happy to bear my testimony to the good
appearance of the schools in these departments.
In Reading, great pains is evidently taken by the teachers
throughout all the Divisions to correct in their pupils wrong
pronunciation — scrupulously adhering to the standard adop-
ted by the Committee — and to fix in their minds the indis-
pensable requisite for a good reader, to enunciate clearly the
elementary sounds of each word. Like success in these ef-
forts, of course, is not attained in all cases ; the result being
modified by the skill of the instructor to impart, and the ca-
pacity of the scholar to acquire the important lesson. Yet
I could not point out, in either the Dudley or Washmgton
school, (I was not present at the examination of the school
in Guild Hall,) a single Division that could be considered
defective in this respect. As to intonation, I camiot speak
with such unqualified approbation. It must, however, be
considered, that a correct understanding of the words is ne-
cessary, in order to give correct intonation in reading, unless
it be learned memoriter from the lips of the teacher, which
would be of triflmg value. Accordingly, in those Divisions
where they do not attend to definition, I passed over, with but
slight notice, the matter of intonation. In my opinion, the
book that is used as a Reader, in those Divisions, is unfit, in
almost every particular, for the place it occupies. In the up-
per Divisions there was, in many instances, a lack of vivacity,
resulting from the pupil's not entering into the spirit of the
piece he or she read, and consequently a tendency to meas-
ured cadence, so disagreeable from its monotony. The female
voice, more naturally than the male, falls into this defect. I,
therefore, -notice with great pleasure the exertion that has
been made by the teachers of the Dudley school, during
the past term, to correct, so far as they have this evil, and to
secure the tasteful reading, which, in several instances, was
presented to the Committee.
In this connection, I cannot omit to mention with commen-
dation the successful drill of some boys in the First Division
of the Washington school in the Exercises of Elocution,
which gave a fair promise of accurate and finished public
speaking. Probably the Reading of these schools will fa-
vorably compare with that of any schools in the Common-
The Spelling and Defining, were good.
Before leaving this Department of study, I would ask per-
mission to make two or three suggestions.
I would suggest, that defining the lesson should accom-
pany its reading, through all the Divisions of our Grammar
schools ; then intonation could be intelligibly taught even
to the youngest readers, and thus would be avoided many
habits that must be unlearned at a later period.
Again, I would recommend, that in the First and Second
Divisions of each of the Grammar schools, there be regular
exercises as often as twice a week in Phonetic spelling. I
look upon this as the surest method of acquiring the distinct
enunciation of the elementary sounds of words, without
which, it is impossible to become an elegant reader.
One thing more : I would suggest that pams be taken by
each Teacher to destroy the traces of foreign accent in any
of the scholars, which often furnish, in after life, the only
ground of an unnecessary and odious distinction. The cause
of the most common peculiarity that we have to contend
against, will be found, upon examination, to consist chiefly of
a tendency to abrupt guttural sounds, which might be obviated
by enforcing the strict observance, by the scholar, of one or
two simple rules, without creating any unpleasant notoriety
respecting the fault.
In Grammar, were I to say the examination was fair,
perhaps I should he according to it all that a candid judg-
ment would allow. The scholars did not appear, in either
school, quite so familiar with parsing, as is desirable. The
rules and definitions of Grammar seemed accurately com-
mitted, but with the application of the same to the structure
of sentences, there appeared not to be that familiarity which
would have enabled them to parse with promptness and
fluency. As, however, when the scholars had been under a
longer training of the teachers, they manilested a corres-
ponding proficiency in Grammar, we must conclude, that
any deficiency in this department, is attributable to the brief
time the classes were under their respective teachers, rather
than to a v\rant of skill and attention on the part of the
teachers. The annual examination, occurring as it does at
the close of the first quarter after promotion, afibrds an un-
fair criterion of the schools, and I would therefore direct es-
pecial attention to the suggestions of the Committee, which
will be found in another part of the report. In the grammat-
ical and logical analyses of sentences, there were, in the first
class of the Dudley school, great promptness and accuracy,
Avith apparent thorough knowledge of the principles on which
the exercise was based. In the Washington school, the im-
maturity of the largest part of the class, prevented the ex-
amination on this subject from being so highly satisfactory.
In Natural Philosophy, the examination of the Dudley
school, on the small portion of the work they had been over,
Avas good, the pupils being able to recite the definitions
and principles, and also to illustrate the examples. In
the Washington School, the Principal, finding his class be-
hind in some of the elementary studies, very wisely omitted
Natural Philosophy for the quarter.
The Writing in both schools cannot be commended too
highly. The books, almost without exception, were kept
cleanly, and the pages showed great care and diligence in
seeking to gain that beautiful accomplishment, an easy and
elegant handwriting. In some cases such proficieixy was
attained as, really, to need no farther impWvement.
In the several departments to which I gave my especial
attention, as in the others, the examination was conducted
with the design of ascertaining not so much what the scholar
had learned as what he knew. Hence, taken away from the
helps of a verbal memory, and cast upon the application of
principles that had been stored in the mind, the scholar was
put to the severest test that could be made to bear upon
him, still the Committee felt that it was the only reliable
way by which to become informed of the true state of the
schools ; and it is matter of joy that they have so well an-
swered the expectation formed of them. Could the teacher
feel confident that his or her pupils would always be rated
by such a standard, and not by mere memoriter recitation,
he or she would then, doubtless, be more successful, even
than at present, in making thorough scholars, and laying a
more abidmg foundation for future intelligence.
The exhibition of the highest two divisions of the Dudley
school, at the close of the quarter, although perhaps not
coming exactly within the province of the Committee, still
was so very creditable to all concerned, that a passing re-
cognition of its excellence will be received by the public, as
it will surely be given by us, with feelings of pleasure and
generous pride. The personal appearance of the scholars,
a most important point in a girl's school, was all that the
most scrupulous regard to neatness could demand. The
various exercises, interspersed as they were with very ex-
cellent performances, in both instrumental and vocal music,
reflected honor on the proficiency of the scholars, and the
assiduity and skill of the teachers, and afforded to the nume-
rous parents and other persons gathered on the occasion, the
highest present satisfaction with assurances of future pro-
gress. Perhaps the most noticeable excellencies of the exhi-
bition, if we can fix on any for special mention, Avere the
Writing and the Composition, — which I presume have been
rarely equalled in any common school.
All of which, I beg most respectfully to submit.
THOS. D. ANDERSON,
Memher.of Ex. Committee for Grammar ScJiools.
On the subject of Mathematics, the examination has been
confined entirely to Arithmetic, from the simplest rudiments,
onward to the most difficult problems, that can be solved
without the aid of Algebra, which is not studied during so
early a part of the year. The method adopted for testing the
knowledge of the pupils, and ascertaining how far it was
ready, available, and practical, was to lay aside books entire-
ly, and as far as possible, to come to principles, insisting con-
tinually upon the pupils using their own language in the
answers given, and resorting to their own illustrations ; con-
vinced that examples, taken from the book, with which the
mind is familiar from frequent inspection and repetition, are
apt to be repeated by rote, and in the majority of cases, fail
to bring out the idea which they were originally designed to
enucleate. Nor did we pursue any regular course, as this
would have enabled the successive pupils, to have almost
anticipated the inquiry which was to call forth their know-
ledge and ingenuity. To prevent this, and to place all upon
the same level of advantage, we proceeded at one time,
from the simpler to the more abstruse parts ; at others from
the most difficult, to the easiest. In this way, every ques-
tion came to the mind with such freshness, as to render im-
possible a mere stereotyped reply, and to show, as the pupil
stood before us, what command he had over his attainments,
and whether they were only lodged in the memory, or so
orderly stored in the understanding, as to be readily accessi-
ble, and easily put to use, as the occasion demanded. We
also invented questions that seemed to admit of several an-
swers, and left them to the exercise of their own judgment
to determine the matter. To any one, at all acquainted
with the subject, no argument is necessary to prove that
such a course puts the knowledge of a pupil to a severe test.
as to its extent, accuracy, and availableness. And we are
happy to say, that the result was, in most cases, such as to
gratify the examiners, who do not hesitate to assert, that
classes of the same grade, in any of the Boston schools,
would not, on the whole, have appeared better. We do
not mean to say that there were not decided failures ; nor
that there were not cases of marked deficienc37-, which were
noted at the time ; and are to be accounted for, from causes
that do not derogate from the ability and fidelity of the
teachers, but which do sliggest a very censurable indiffer-
ence on the part of many parents, especially those of foreign
extraction, in carelessly keeping their children away for
slight reasons, instead of enforcing that punctual and regu-
lar attendance, which is necessary to derive the highest ad-
vantage from the schools, whose doors are open to the poor-
est '' without money and without price." This is atopic,
on which much might be said, could we hope to reach the
ears of those, who are thus allowing their children to lose
opportunities of improvement, that can never return. They
keep their children away from school, every now and then,
a day, or a week, sometimes longer, without thinking of the
evil it produces, how it breaks up their habits of study, and
discourages them, at finding themselves always inferior to
their classmates, who are regular in their attendance. The
effect of such absence is particularly unhappy in Mathe-
matics, in which there can be no real advance, while any
thing behind remains unmastered. The parents may say
that they have a right to keep them away, when they
choose. We shall not dispute this. What we are pleading
for, is the real interests of their children, to promote which
we ask them to co-operate with the teachers and the School
The general appearance of the pupils, belonging to both
of the Grammar Schools, in this part of their examination,
was such as, on the whole, to give great pleasure to the
examiners, and to deepen within them the conviction,
that our public schools are accomplishing their high object
with as much success as can reasonably be expected, — that
they are giving a sound common education not only to
American children, but also to those who would otherwise
grow up in utter and dangerous ignorance ; and that they
deserve the continued support, and liberal patronage of this
GEOGRAPHY, HISTORY, AND NATURAL HISTORY.
With a few exceptions, all the classes pursuing these
branches reached about the average standard of proficiency
in their recitations. The Second Division in the Washing-
ton school, perhaps, deserves special reference for its cor-
rectness and promptness in Geography. The First Division
in this School had not entered upon history ; the boys com-
posing it, not appearing to be sufficiently thorough in the
more rudimental studies, the Principal, most judiciously,
concluded to devote all the time to a careful drill upon these.
We hope he will continue this course with the Division. It
is desirable, if it can be attained, that the pupils in the
Grammar Schools, before they leave, should have some ac-
quaintance with Natural Philosophy, Book-keeping, Linear-
drawing, &c., but it is of far greater moment, that they
should be perfect in Reading, Spelling, Defining, Grammar,
Arithmetic, Geography, and General History, — not merely
have a smattering in these branches, but be perfectly at
home in them. In reference to Geography and History,
especially the former, something evidently is lacking either
in the text-book or in the present modes of instruction, or in
both ; for it continually occurs, that pupils who have been
drilling upon Geography for years, in the Primary, and
Grammar Schools, if they have temporally laid it aside for
other studies, or even, are still engaged in its study, break
down upon some of the simplest questions, involving the re-
lation of places to each other. They do not lose their know-
ledge of the Multiplication Table, but this severe acquisition
remains with them as a permanent resource. May we not
learn something from this 7 Cannot the youthful mind be-
come so thoroughly invested with the general outlines of
Geography, as never to lose its grasp upon them — with the
principal features, cities, mountains, rivers, &c., of the vari-
ous countries upon the globe, as ever to have them in the
mind's eye, and to be able to recall, at once, their proper
position on the earth's surface, when the name strikes the
ear or meets the eye? Geography cannot be studied, to any
very great advantage, until the mind of the child is consid-
erably developed — especially its imagination ; for upon the
strength of this faculty will depend, in a great degree, the
correctness of the child's geographical acquisitions. The
imagination is not one of the earliest developed faculties.
The child's mind is taken up with facts and phenomena.
Every sense is assaulted with its appropriate solicitations
from the world without, and the latent faculties, aroused by
these continued incitements, begin to expand themselves.
Tiie memory is, perhaps, one of the earliest powers devel-
oped, being continually burdened and therefore strengthened,
by the multitude of facts gathered up by the senses. The
appropriate studies for a young child, therefore, are those
which most address his physical senses, or appeal chiefly to
his memory. These are Reading, Spelling, and the simplest
combinations of figures. The child may learn the defini-
tions of Geography, and, by oral instruction, may have some
general ideas of the earth upon which he lives. This know-
ledge, however, is much more limited than is generally sup-
posed. The child has not sufficient strength of imagination
to project a world before his mind's eye, girdled with arbi-
trary lines in every direction, suspended in space, and mov-
ing upon an imaginary axis. By questioning one of these
little Primary School Geographers, we should soon find the
character of his acquisitions — everything, with him, will be
actual, not imaginary. The axis will be a real cylinder, on
which the earth turns, like a wheel round its axle, Avhile
the equator and tropical circles are actual physical belts, or
elevations, that gird the earth. He may tell you the capi-
tals of the states, but he will break down in the first steps
of his journey, if he attempts to travel from one to another.
His time can be better employed in becoming familiar with
the arts of Reading, Spelling, and combining figures. Upon
these there should be an unremitted drill — the interest of
the child being kept up, by the vivacity and tact of the
teacher in varying the lessons, and in illustrating them by
oral remarks and questions. We do not accomplish any-
thing perfectly in the Primary School, because too much is
attempted ; the mind of the child is burdened, and memory
is not sufficiently strengthened by constant repetition.
But when the child's imagination begins to open, and his
reasoning powers to struggle to grasp the principles of things.
Geography may be profitably introduced. The teacher
must now devote no small amount of attention to this im-
portant study. He must discover, by constant questionings,
Avhether the youth's impressions are correct. He should
move no faster than will consist with his thorough compre-
hension of the ground he has passed over. To make the
study one of the most interesting and enlivening in the whole
list of Common School acquisitions, the teacher must be
perfectly familiar with every branch of the subject — super-
ficial, physical, political and historical. The office of the
text-book should be simply that of a guide to his oral com-
munications, and merely a foundation for the acquisitions
of the pupil. Every fact that serves to hold the attention of
the child upon any portion of the earth's surface, upon any
city, or river, or mountain, will, through the certain action
of a law of his being, impress that locality more permanently
upon his memory. The power of memory is in exact ratio
with the habit of attention. If the child does not luUy un-
derstand his lesson, if his interest is not sufficiently awak-
ened to restrain the ramblings of his thoughts and to make
him a personal spectator of the scenes he describes, his im-
pressions will be altogether indefinite, — he has merely seen
"men as trees walking" — and the whole train will pass
away from his memory almost as soon as it has swept past
his field of vision. By general exercises, often recurring, in
which, without previous preparation, the actual attainments
of the pupils can be tested ; the teacher will discover the
deficiencies of his class, and the scholars will be prompted
to greater diligence. These may be made the most animat-
ing recitations of the school. The whole earth .may be com-
passed, every important city visited, all the prominent histo-
rical associations may be suggested to aid and enliven the
lagging memory, and Geography, instead of being the dull
accumulation of the mere names of countries, cities, rivers,
&c., may be invested with much of the charm of an actual
tour of observation. Of course, this will lay a heavy de-
mand upon the teacher, but the success of the experiment
will amply compensate him for his labor. The exceeding
interest of his class, the confidence which they exhibit in
their answers, and the permanent accessions they have made
to their stock of valuable knowledge, will be an honorable
return for all his extra service.
In reference to outline maps, a suggestion may not be out
of place. Where quite young children are studying Geog-
raphy, or are receiving oral lessons from a teacher, an out-
line map will be of considerable service. And, perhaps, it
may be sometimes used among older scholars safely, or
even with some advantage. But their constant use can
but be injurious. We are aware how tenacious are the
laws of habit and association. If we remember a second
truth from its connection with a primary, the latter must
always be recovered by the memory, before the former can
come within the mind's grasp again. If the lawyer is ac-
customed to have his brief before him, however familiar he
may be with his case, he cannot speak to the point without
it. We have all heard of the clergyman, who had fallen
into the habit of drawing a thread through his fingers while
engaged in his public services, and who never failed to lose
the thread of his discourse, whenever the literal thread un-
happily dropped from his hands. It is this law of our men-
tal being which renders the constant use of the outline
maps perilous. We do not carry them with us when we
go into the world, and if our knowledge of the relation of
places is too closely associated with their suggestions, when
we are beyond their aid, we shall be bewildered. The ob-
ject of a map is to exhibit to the eye the actual relation of
places upon the earth ; and its usefulness depends upon the
daguerreotype counterpart which the imagination receives
upon its surface. We want the mind to hold, not an out-
line map — a surface of blots and lines — but one filled up,
with the appropiate names attached. The susceptible mind
of youth readily opens to receive these pictorial representa-
tions, and, by the constant recurrence of them, they become
permanent impressions. If, however, at every recitation,
the outline map is unrolled, and by a dot here, and a shore-
line there, the memory is aided in its work, it will, at once,
rid itself of the more laborious task of preserving a distinct
and full recollection of the original map, and lean itself
upon the general outlines, continually meeting the eye.
Thus, for instance, it occurred in the late examination, that
pupils in the upper divisions would fail in some of the most
simple questions, involving the relation of places upon the
earth, but the moment the outline map was opened, they
would, without hesitation, point out the nameless black
dots, representing the desired localities. A moment's re-
flection upon the law of habit, will convince the teacher
that such a result is naturally to be expected.
Many of the above suggestions in reference to Geography
will apply to History. In this, even more than in Geogra-
phy, the pupil is accustomed to memorize the exact lan-
guage of his author, rather than to recast in his own mind
the recitals of his text book. The pupil, therefore, only
knows of his history what he can repeat verbally, and, as
he has learned it in order, by the law of association, he can
only repeat what he has learned, in course. This habit,
the teacher can, and should, at once correct. By continued
reviews upon disconnected portions of the history passed
over, by encouraging the habit of inquiry among the schol-
ars and the practice of reading the small collateral histories
to be found in the school library, and, above all, by being
himself the living encyclopsedia of history, making even
the hour of recitation an hour of acquisition, quite a full
outline of general history, certainly of the history of his
own country, may be brought within the comprehension of
a grammar school scholar.
The practical importance of both the above studies and
their constant application in every social relation, will be a
sufficient apology for the prominence given them in this re-
These suggestions have been occasioned by no marked
remissness in our own schools, but have been presented in
the hope that a little reflection, in this direction, will enable
our intelligent teachers to present, at another examination,
classes that may be considered models for their success
in mastering these two important branches of knowledge.
The first class of young ladies only, in the Dudley school,
have pursued Natural History : they appeared to have a
clear apprehension of the portion of this science which they
have passed over, and answered very readily the questions
proposed by the Committee.
As a majority of the scholars in our Grammar Schools
close their rudimental training when they have availed
themselves of the opportunities these afford, it is very desir-
able that they should have some knowledge of the simpler
laws of perspective and linear drawing. This will not only
be a grace, but a necessity, in after life. As mechanics or
merchants, the boys will find a continued demand upon all
their skill as draughtsmen, while, in planning the house, and
in marking out the garden, as well as securing to herself a
constant and grateful recreation in after years, the young
lady will have an abundant field for the exercise of all her
attainments in this beautiful art. By general exercises upon
the black-board, copied upon the slate, or blank-book, suffi-
cient instruction might be given to enable the scholar to ac-
quire adequate skill in the use of the pencil for all practical
purposes. More than one good end will be accomplished by
such a discipline ; the eye will be carefully trained, a valu-
able habit of observation will be formed, and the mind will
be accustomed to a closer attention in its investigations of
any object, while the fingers are rendered more flexible to
wield the pen, as well as the pencil.
In some of the neighboring schools, visited by your Com-
mittee, the pupils had covered several of the black-boards
with most admirable exhibitions of their skill in drawing,
showing how successfully their gesthetic faculties had been
cultivated, while their promptness in the severer sciences,
evinced that they had not neglected the more practical qual-
ities of their minds.
Average number of Average daily aiien-
pupils for the year. dance.
Number present a
' Average age.
Washington School, 540 486
Dudley School, 433 360
NEW GRAMMAR SCHOOL.
With commendable public spirit and liberality, the au-
thorities of the city, have, during the past year, secured the
erection of a fine brick edifice in Ward 1, to afford addi-
tional accommodations for boys residing in the easterly part
of the city. A well situated, and pleasant site has been
purchased, affording an ample play ground for the pupils.
The building is two stories in height, and contains six rooms,
twenty-eight feet square, together with a large hall, suita-
ble for singing and general exercises. Each room is de-
signed to seat comfortably, fifty scholars, and the furniture,
embracing all the modern improvements, has be on selected
with reference to the physical laws of the child, and the best
discipline of the school. The whole expense of land, build-
ing and furniture, will be about $-20,000. Altogether, it is
as neat and convenient a school edifice, as any in our vicin-
ity. Another story, which would render its external ap-
pearance much more imposing, can easily be added, when
the rapidly increasing population of that portion of our city
renders it necessary.
The building will be placed in the hands of the School
Committee about the first of January. Should the new dis-
trict commence at the Boston line on Washington street, fol-
low that street to Warren street, and the latter street to the
Dorchester line, embracing the boys of a suitable age resid-
ing east of the line, the Washington school, including Miss
Harris's Division, would be relieved ol two hundred pupils,
with which number the new school would go into operation.
With the accessions from the Primary Schools, coming in
by the first of February, there will remain in the Wash-
ington school, four hundred pupils. The relief afforded by
the new district, will allow an economical change in the
board of instruction in the Washington school, as well as
secure greater facilities for the training and physical comfort
of the lower divisions. But one division will be required
in the lower rooms, and thus two female assistants can be
spared for the new school : and, as the upper divisions will
be smaller, the services of the assistant male teacher, in the
first division, may be dispensed with ; an usher being ap-
pointed to the charge of one of the divisions in the upper
In the new building, a principal and three female assistants
will be adequate to commence the school. During the year,
additional Primary School accommodations may be required,
in that part of the city, and one of the vacant rooms might
be devoted to this purpose, for the present.
The new building since its plan was proposed, has become,
to us, monumental. It bears on its front the honored name
of the first officer of our city, at the commencement of our
present period of public service. Mayor Dearborn, is no
longer with us in person, but the Dearborn School will bear
his memory down to the coming generations, for whom, in
his public services, he lived and labored.
GRADATION IN SALARIES.
The salaries of the female assistants in our Grammar
Schools are comparatively small, and it may Avell be con-
sidered by us, whether, in order to secure the first order of
talent, (and why should we not have it ?) the standard of
remuneration ought not to be raised ?
There is, indeed, always, a great demand for any offered
vacancies, but can we hope to secure the first class of mind,
where we fall behind our sister city nearly one hundred dol-
lars per annum, in a female assistant's remuneration? But
even if no addition be thought advisable, is it not just that
some discrimination should be made between the salary of
an assistant who has retained her place for years, and one
who has just entered upon her duties, upon trial 1 During
the probationary months, the inexperienced and often un-
successful teacher, according to the present system, receives
the same amount of wages, as the most successful and labo-
rious assistant in the school. Could an addition of twenty-
five dollars be made to the salary ot those who have been in
the school for a year, or more, and who have exhibited an
aptitude for the work, rendering them pecuharly vahiable
as teachers, it would be at once an incentive to ambition,
and a well-earned reward of diligence. It would have a
tendency, also, to secure a greater amount of permanency
in the office. Many of our divisions have suffered severely,
during the past year, from the frequency of the changes, in
The teachers on trial might, during this period, be allowed
the same compensation as the teachers in Primary Schools,
and when confirmed in their appointment, receive the pres-
ent salary allotted the Grammar School assistants ; and
after a year's service, should there be a marked improve-
ment and an increased facility in teaching, an additional
twenty-five dollars might be added.
The sinallness of the remuneration at first, may be thought
to be an impediment in the Avay of securing the services of
good teachers, who have had experience in other schools,
but the certain advancement of the salary to a more ade-
quate compensation, would be a satisfactory offset to the
.limited amount received during the months of trial. Cer-
tainly, after a teacher has shown the wisdom of her selec-
tion, by the experiment of years, has become acquainted
with all the demands of her onerous office, and, by earnest
endeavors and constant study, raised herself to the contin-
ually advancing standard of requirement, it seems but an
act of justice, when her services have really become so
much more valuable than at first, or than those of any in-
experienced substitute, that she should receive some pecun-
iary consideration for her toil and some significant expres-
sion of the public appreciation of her efforts.
There is no province of public labor, in v/hich the sex can
acquire greater honor, or perform a higher service for the
race, than in the profession of the teacher. Her gentleness,
kindness, patience, and mental activity, united with a har-
monious development of the moral faculties, render her an
admirable companion, guide, and educator, for the young.
But she must be trained to the work ; must become a
thorough scholar, and a skilful tactician, as well as, an ami-
able and patient disciplinarian. To secure this end, and
direct the attention of the most worthy and able minds to
the profession, an adequate compensation and encourage-
ment must be offered. It should not be considered, as the
female teacher's profession is often looked upon, as the last
shelter of orphanage, or the final retreat from the heavy
pressure of affliction and poverty, but an honorable and open
field for the chastened ambition of any earnest mind, seek-
ing to fill up the measure of an useful and happy life, and
to leave an impression for good upon society.
The subject is worthy the consideration of the Board, and
to them we leave the elaboration of a plan to meet the ob-
ject proposed in this part of our report.
One of the most delicate, and yet important offices of the
teacher, is to bring his school into a state of perfect, but
cheerful, discipline. His discipline is perfect, when he has
secured the voluntary obedience of his pupils, and their
hearty acquiescence in his plans of study, and laws of order.
To attain this, the respect and affection of his pupils, must
be won. By the moral dignity of his character, by his su-
perior information, by his self-control and unvarying faith-
fulness, he must render himself respected by all the mem-
bers of his school. By his interest in their studies, their
persons, and their future well-being; by constant encourage-
ment ; by approbation, where diligence is crowned with suc-
cess, and by expressions of sorrow, rather than anger, when
a failure has resulted from neglect, or when punishment has
been made necessary by a violated rule of conduct, he must
secure for himself a warm place in the susceptible heart of
youth. Just in proportion as these ends are gained, will the
disciplinary labor of the master be lightened. The admin-
istration of corporal punishment may secure the temporary
obedience and the servile fear of the child, but it will not
quicken his mental faculties, nor prevent another breach of
discipline when the eye of the master is not upon him, and
there is a possibiUty of impunity in transgression.
And just here, may be seen the great importance of teach-
ing the morals, and virtues of the Bible, in our schools — to
secure a conscientious and voluntary respect for the right,
and an abhorrence of the wrong, whether the eyes of thous-
ands are gazing, or only the Omniscient Eye is looking down
upon the heart.
It will always be found that those schools are conducted
with the least disciplinary punishment, and exhibit the most
cheerful respect towards their instructors, where the most
attention is paid to the inculcation of good morals, and vir-
tuous habits ; where the moral sense of the scholars is devel-
oped, and educated, and loyalty to the order of the school
is insisted upon, not merely because it must be rendered, but
because it is right.
An intelligent teacher will have no lack of occasions to
secure this moral training. At the opening devotional servi-
ces of the day, in the ordinary reading lessons, in the records
of history, and in nearly every case of the open breach of
the school regulations, an opportunity is presented for the
rallying of the moral faculties of the pupils, and for making
a fresh impression upon their minds, of the nobleness of
right-doing, and the sin and results, of the opposite course.
There are those, however, upon whom every other argu-
ment fails ; it may be through indulgence or severity at
home, or through weakness of moral sensibility, or perverse
indolence, or wilfulness of mind, the order of the school is
continually broken, all appeals to the higher motives prove
unavailing : certainly, now, the period has come for the ad-
ministration of Solomon's discipline, and it may not be
safely withheld. This never can, of course, be pleasant to
the child : it is intended that physical pain should be in-
duced, that the child may feel a restraining fear of repeating
the act of wrong doing.
The general rule in our schools for the administration of
corporal punishment is, that it shall be executed by a rattan
or rule upon the palm of the hand, and that the head, and any
part of the body where permanent mjury may be received,
shall never be approached. It is also miderstood, that cor-
poral punishment is not to be resorted to, until other means
of influencing the pupils have failed, and then is to be ad-
ministered in such a way as to operate on the moral sensi-
bilities of the pupil in the strongest manner. All brutal
punishments, such as pulling the hair, or twisting the ears,
are strictly forbidden. There may have one or two instances
occurred where young teachers, losing their self-control,
when irritated by the perverseness and obstmacy of the
child, have punished the offender upon the head : this how-
ever, has always been understood to be contrary to the rule
of the school, the often expressed opinion of the Committee,
and to the explicit directions of the principals. Probably,
in every case, no one has felt more grief at the occurrence,
than the teacher, and ample acknowledgment has been made
when the momentary exasperation has worn away. In one
case, during the past year, an assistant was peremptorily
removed for her neglect of this established law of school
The statistics of corporal punishment in the Dudley
school, last year, show, that while its discipline is commen-
dable for its perfectness, it is not secured by the slavish fear
of punishment, but by the moral restraints which have been
thrown around the pupil. The corporal punishments for
the year have only averaged to one and six-tenths per
teacher, for three months. Nine tenths of all the punish-
ments occurred in three of the lower divisions, where fre-
quent changes in instructors have greatly disturbed the
discipline of the rooms. In the first and second divisions of
the school no corporal punishments occurred during the year.
In the Washington school we have failed to obtain the
statistics of corporal punishment, required by the regulations
of the school committee. The principal and a few of the
assistants have preserved the required record ; their reports
exhibit but few corporal punishments and the majority of
these were slight, the only exceptions appearing to have
been instances of incorrigible truancy.
The Committee would feel more confidence in the public
assurances they are expected to give, if the regulation of
the Board were complied with, and each teacher recorded
every case of corporal punishment, with the name of the
party, the kind and degree of punishment, and the cause of
It is proper, however, to remark, that the only complaints
in reference to punishments in this school, during the year,
were in the case of the teacher removed by the Committee,
and the accidental severity of another, who has since left,
in which instance, a satisfactory apology was made to the
But for minor faults, for voluntary tardiness, for indo-
lence, whispering, and failing in lesson, some other devices
must be suggested to preserve the tone of the school, and to
arouse the lagging faculties of the mind. It has been ob-
jected to some of these, that they are demeaning, and serve
to break down the self-respect of the child. Now, no pun-
ishment can be ennobling. It certainly can be no honor to
a child to render itself worthy of a reprimand. The very
object of the punishment is to cause a wholesome blush of
shame to suffuse the cheek, that its recurrence may be suffi-
ciently dreaded to restrain from the commission again of the
misdemeanor. The change of position in the class or in
the form, standing erect, the limiting of the recess, tarrying
after school, or sitting upon the teacher's platform — these
are nearly if not all the punishments administered in our
schools. If these were not somewhat humbling, of what
would they avail ? And if corporal punishment should be
the very last resort, what more appropriate intermediate
penalties can be devised 1
It occurs perhaps in all our families that, at times, the
discipline of the school jostles a little our domestic economy.
In detaining the child after school, some considerable incon-
venience arises in reference to the regular hours for the fam-
ily meals ; or, just at the unfortunate moment when he is
detained, the child's services or presence may be wanted at
home. All this is inconvenient, but is not the end to be
gained, worthy of all the personal sacrifices it calls for ? It
is not for the child's injury but for his permanent good, that
he thus disciplined ; and it is not on his account alone, but
for the benefit of others — his classmates — who would be
embarrassed by his negligence and waywardness, that he is
detained to make up for the time he has squandered in idle-
ness. It can be from no personal unkindness to the pupil,
on the part of the master, for oppressed and wearied as he
is with the labors of the day, he must suffer himself, the
very punishment he admmisters to the scholar — he must re-
main to hear the recitation that the pupil tarries to prepare.
How can the tone of the school be preserved, and each
individual scholar receive all the benefits he should derive
from schools supported at so great a public expense, unless
the teachers have the power of securing, in some way, the
punctual attendance of the scholar, and his studiousness
during the limited daily period allotted to his tasks 7
There are, however, domestic contingencies that demand
the delay or the absence of the child from school. The pa-
rent, of course, must decide upon the imperativeness of
these calls. It is to be supposed that he will feel the im-
portance of the constant and punctual attendance of his child,
and will allow no ordinary occasion to interrupt the regular
discharge of his school duties. A written request from a
parent, therefore, for the early dismission of his 'child, or a
written excuse for tardiness must always be respected by
the teacher, and save the child from any disciplinary action,
save that which necessarily occurs from his loss of time and
study. These requests and excuses must be written^ or too
great a temptation would be thrown in the path of the weak,
and too favorable an occasion be offered to the wicked, to de-
ceive the teacher and avoid the studies of the school-room.
The written certificate is the only safe-guard of the master,
it is best for the pupil, and it makes but a slight demand
upon the parent.
The relation of the teacher to the pupil, during the period
that the child is within the precincts of the school, is parental.
He takes the place, and for the time being, assumes the vol- ,
untarily conceded rights of the parent, subject to the same
moral and legal restraints. For all the well-defined pur-
poses of the school, he is to have the entire control, and
should secure the perfect obedience of the child. With the
studies, and order of the school, the individual parent has
no right to interfere : these are established by a legal Com-
mittee and the master himself has no power to change them.
If the discipline of the school, in the case of his child, seems
to be cruel, it is, then, both his duty and his right to demand
of the constituted authority, the Committee of the school, a
thorough examination of the alleged punishment; and it
scarcely appears possible that a body of gentlemen, the most,
if not all, of whom, are parents, and who have no personal
relations to the teachers, — whose published rules besides, ex-
pressly inhibit all barbarous or even perilous corporal inflic-
tions, would sustain a master in an act of passion, or in any
undue assumption of authority.
Should they, from any principle of false sympathy, at-
tempt thus to shield a real offender, the law offers redress to
the sufferer, and the ballot-box, to an outraged community.
Could parents for a moment, consider how much the pub-
lic good demands a systematic and thorough discipline in
our schools — schools composed of every variety of social and
moral character — and how manifestly the progress of their
own children depends upon it, they would cheerfully submit
to the occasional domestic inconveniences, and not be too
eager to receive the, perhaps unintentionally, but naturally,
exaggerated accounts of grievances, which the chagrined
child may bear home, in the heat, perhaps, of his unsubdued
We are confident, taken as a whole, that as few occasions
for irritation, on the part of parents, occur in our school, as
ought reasonably to be expected.
B. K. PEIRCE.
Roxbury^ December 10, 1851.
PEIMAEY SCHOOL COMMITTEE.
The Committee appointed to examine the Primary Schools,
respectfully report, that,
The whole number of Primary Schools now in the city,
Of these, one is called the Intermediate School, consisting
of an average number of one himdred boys, in two Divi-
sions of fifty each, who are too old to be in the Primary
Schools, and too backward to enter the Grammar School.
And eleven are denominated Sub-Primary Schools.
The Committee have embodied the result of their Exam-
ination as to their estimate of the character of the different
schools and their relative standing in the Tabular Abstract,
which is subjoined.
The schools stand numbered in the Table as they did be-
fore the schools of West Roxbury were separated from them.
The Committee were not able to be together in the exam-
ination of all the Schools, but from consultation endeavored
as near as possible to obtain the same standard of estima-
tion from which they would mark the character of the sev-
eral departments of the different schools.
To represent those departments in the schools which were
very highly satisfactory, they use the mark Ex. (excellent.)
For those very satisfactory, V. G., (very good.) For those
satisfactory, G., (good.) For those imsatisfactory, M., (mod-
erate.) For those not to be tolerated, D., (deficient.)
Their estimate is founded mostly on the Annual Examm-
ation, but has also some reference to the character of the
schools as observed through the year. They are aware,
after all their care to do justice and represent the schools
fairly as to relative standing, of their liability, in some cases,
It sometimes happens that the deportment or the exercises
at an exammation, give quite too favorable impression of the
real character, or it may be the reverse, as we feel confident
was the case with some, for instance, in Spelling. If the
marks had accorded strictly with the character of the efforts
at the examination, they would have been marked D., in-
stead of G., but circumstances and previous observation
upon their character in that respect, led us to make the
higher mark, as the one fitly representing the standing.
A practiced observer can generally judge what is acciden-
tal and what is the real condition, and it is hoped that our
Table which gives the sum of our report, is in a high degree
It will be observed that School, No. 24, at the Aims-House,
is not fully carried out in the Table. It is because of its un-
settled state, having recently changed from one place to
another. We have confidence in the Teacher, and have no
doubt, that, if circumstances were favorable, the school
would, as it has heretofore, stand comparatively well.
There are some things which the Committee regard as of
great importance which do not appear in the Table. Among
these, Oral Instruction is prominent. This has great value
in our Primary Schools, The Committee were especially
pleased with Schools, Nos. 14, 17, 23 and 31, in this respect.
The teachers had evidently taken pams to impart valuable
and varied information by a system of Oral instruction which
awakened the interest of their pupils and gave to their school
exercises an increased charm.
Others have more or less attended to it, and we would
especially commend it as admirably adapted to break the
monotony of the daily task for the teachers, and to stimulate
the intellectual activity and interest of the pupils and keep
them from wearying from an endless round with the books
merely. We are aware that it requires some thought and
invention on the part of the teacher to carry on and vary
such exercises, but her own interest and the profit of the
school are so much in it that we strongly commend it.
The Committee were highly gratified with the singmg of
the scholars in several of the schools. Nos. 19, 21, and 22,
may be named among those which excel in singing. The
genial influence upon the children, of a few minutes spent
in singing every day, in addition to the propriety of com-
mencing early to cultivate the musical powers, makes surg-
ing in our Primary schools desirable.
A word upon Spellmg. Spelling is, perhaps, the import-
ant thing in our Primary schools. Other things can be
easier gained in our higher schools. But the child must
learn to spell, or, it is probable he will never become a good
speller. In our language, although it is subject to some
rules, spelling is very much a thing of the memory, and the
child, at his starting with education, must give particular
attention to it, and continue this prominent attention, until
he knows how to spell the words which we use. Two or
three of our Primary school teachers are not perfect spellers,
as is evident from their Quarterly returns, but this, perhaps,
does not prevent their being thorough teachers of spelling ;
and it is the special desire of the Committee, that all should
be thorough in this branch of instruction. In our examina-
tions, the fault of not pronomicmg every syllable as it was
spelled, to the last syllable, and then the whole word, Avas
noticed, in many of the schools. They feel it duty to exact
this, and cannot call that good spelling, which, merely calls
the letters of the word, and does not pronounce each of its
The Committee noticed considerable diversity in the
schools, m their attention to the little things which give the
finishing grace to good order, — such as having their hats and
over-garments each carefully hung in their owner's place, —
the appearance and arrangement of the books in the rack
— a regular system and careful stillness in going from their
seats to the position for recitation, with their hands and books
in their appropriate position, and all in uniformity. It is not
so much stiff stillness, as easy and ready obedience to the
wholesome rules of the teacher, which she rigidly and abso-
lutely requires, that constitutes good order.
The amount of tardiness and absence of the scholars,
enters, also, as an element of the order of the school. A
teacher of thorough interest in her work, and who secures
an affectionate obedience, will reduce very much the tardi-
ness and absence of her scholars.
The Committee, in their observations, were made quite
sensible of the laborious task of many of our Primary school
teachers, especially of the teachers in the Intermediate school,
which is crowded with boys of different ages and habits,
and has not good conveniences for making a school of two
divisions so large, agreeable. The teachers are worthy of
commendation, for their industry and success, and we should
be glad to see the opportunity of improving the conveniences
of their room, in order that they might have every facility
for accomplishing their task, which they already do so well.
It is, indeed, with pleasure that we take a general survey
of our Primary schools, believing that they compare favora-
bly with our schools in former years, and with any other
schools of their class.
The Committee might well speak a word of reproof to
themselves and their associates, for not having given that
frequent attention to the schools during the year which is
desirable, both for the encouragement of the teachers and
the improvement of the schools.
If this were the place, a reference might be made to the
improvement needed in some of our school-houses, and the
necessity of having one or more houses built immediately
for the accommodation of our children. But this will be
presented more effectively at some other time and urged
upon the attention of the City Government.
J. S. SHAILER,
H. G. MORSE, , ^
J. S. FLINT, \Commmee.
C. F. FOSTER,
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Mary E. Dudley.
Nancy L. Tucker.
Anna F. Reed.
Caroline N. Heath.
Henrietta M. Young.
Sarah E. Gardner.
Lucretia W. Hewes.
M. E. Daniels.
Elizabeth F. Thomas.
Susan M. Underwood.
Harriet S. Farnnm.
Abby J. Tren.
Harriet E. Bnrrill.
Cornelia J. Bills.
L. M. Wood.
Sarah T. Jennison.
Mary E. Hodge.
Mary A. VValdock.
Annie M. Wentworth.
Ann M. Horn.
Margaret A. Mathews.
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Errata. — On page 25, thirteenth hne from the bottom, for
"averaged to one," &c., read "averaged one," &c. Page 27, fourth
line from the top, for " he thus disciphned," read " he in thus," &c.