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PLANS FOR UNION AND GRADED SCHOOLS.
GRAMMAR SCHOOLS IN BOSTON.
In determining on the size, internal arrangements, and equipmen. of a School-house, regard must be had not only to the number of chil dren to be accommodated, but to their age, studies, and classification, that is, to the
character and aim of the school or schools to be provided for. By a Union, or Graded School, was originally intended a school in which all the scholars of a given territory-usually a village, or other populous municipality-before accommodated in several small houses, were brought into one large building, and there distributed into different rooms, or grades according to attainments, so as to bring a large number of pupils of nearly the same age, and in a few and the same studies, under teachers having special qualifications for each grade--and especially to bring the young
children by themselves under female teachers, and to facilitate the employment of the same class of teachers as assistants in schools designed for the older pupils. In the more populous districts the gradation was and still continues more minute, and by degrees, school-houses are now erected specially for at least three grades—although houses designed mainly for the youngest grade, embrace accommodations for the next highest, and houses designed for the oldest pupils and the highest grade not unfrequently include accommodation for the next lowest.
But in edifices designed for a particular grade, regard must be had in the internal arrangement to the different plan of classifying the school for the purposes of instruction and government—and particularly to this, — whether there shall be on each floor one large room, (or two, capable of being made into one when necessary,) where all the pupils shall be properly seated for study, supervision and general instruction under a principal teacher, with smaller room to which the several classes shall retire for purposes of recitation to assistants selected in reference to their special qualification in instruction; or whether the floor shall be divided into a certain number of rooms, each room to accommodate only as many pupils as can be profitably instructed by one and the same teacher-and each room to constitute a separa school, except that all are to be subject to the supervision, and, to some extent, the occasional visitation and instruction of the Principal teacher of the whole school.
In the Public Schools of Boston, the former plan prevailed generally in all the grammar schools—until the organization of the Quincy school in 1848. Since that date the size of the houses has been determined by the convenience of classifying the pupils into rooms, each capable of providing from fifty to sixty with separate desk and chair, and he school has been organized so as to have a special teacher for each room, all subordinate to the Principal-his room accommodating the same number of pupils, in which he is allowed an assistant, so as admit of his visiting from time to time the other rooms, or classes in the same building. There are many advantages in this arrangement, and under a Principal, disposed and at liberty by having assistants in his own room to make himself felt in government and instruction in each room—the disadvantages of not having all the pupils of the same school under the eye, voice and personal infiuence of the superior master, are in a measure obviated.
PLANS OF THE BOSTON Latin SCHOOL. re introducing plans of the more recently erected school-houses in Boston, I go back to the oldest school in the country, and get a glimpse of one
earliest structures—the oldest of which we have any visible representation,* erected for school purposes in New England—the modest structure in which Ezekiel Cheever was installed "sole master," on the 22d of December, 1670, in the presence of "the Hon. Governor Richard Billingham, Major General John Leverett, and other Magistrates of the Colony, the Elders of the Churches, and Selectmen of the Town of Boston." Here for thirty-five years he continued to sway “the rod of empire" over governors, judges, ministers, magistrates and merchants yet in their teens, and under his administration the first “free schoole," + the always famous Latin School of Boston, became, according to Prince, “the principal classical school of the British Colonies."
* For this vignette of Mr. Cheever's School-house, we are indebted to the Rev. Edward E. Hale.
“Cheever's school-house occupied land on the North side of School street, Dearly opposite the present Horticultural Hall. It was large enough to contain one hundred and fifty papils. At the present time, the east wall of the Stone Chapel stands on the site of the old building, which was removed, after much controversy, to make room for the building of the Chapel, in 1748. The outline of the old building, and some general sketch of its appearance appear on an old map of Boston, dated 1722, of which, a copy is now in possession of Mr. Pulsifer, of Boston. On this map, every building was represented, on the spot it occupied. with some effort at precision. From this map Cheever's school-house is represented in this sketch. King's Chapel is drawn from a view of more pretensions, representing the whole town, from a point above the harbor, in 1744. In that view. unfortunately, Cheever's school-house does not appear. As King's Chapel was materially enlarged in 1710, it has been represented here as being, in Cheever's time, somewhat shorter than in the authority alluded to. la an early print, described by Dr. Greenwood, a crown was represented below its vane, which has, therefore, been placed there in this sketch."
Mr. Gould introduces into his notice of the controversy which attended the removal of the old school house, to make room for an enlargement of the church, the following impromptu epigram written by Joseph Green, Esqr., and sent to Mr. Lovell in the School, when it was announced that the town had agreed to grant permission to the proprietors of King's Chapel to take down the old house.
A fig for your learning: I tell you the Town,
Then learning, I fear, stops the growth of the Church. + For a brief exposition of the early " Free School” of Massachusetts, and of New England generally, and for all that can now be gathered of the personal history of Master Cheever, See American Journal of Education, Vol. XII., p. 529–560.
In 1748, the modest structure which had accommodated the Latin School and the family of Master Cheever, was removed to make room for the enlargement of the Stone Chapel, and a new and larger building erected on the opposite side of the same street, the third floor of which only was used for school purposes until 1816, when the increased number of pupils under Master Gould, called for the use of the second floor, which had been used by the Central Grammar School. For several years prior to Mr. Gould's appointment to the mastership, the Latin School did not keep up with the demands of the wealthy and educated families of the city who had generally got into the way of sending their sons into the country towns, and particularly to the academies at Exeter and Andover, to be prepared for admission to college and their withdrawal thus perhaps contributed largely to keep the school in an unprogressive state-taking from it both the pupils and the parental interest and intelligence, which are the life of every public school. The vigorous administration, personal popularity, and better scholarship of Mr. Gould, with the increasing interest in the improvement of the public schools generally, placed its course of instruction in extent and thoroughness on a level with the best academies of the country towns, and made it the natural head of the public schools of the city. With an improvement in the classical course destined for college, there grew up a demand for a more thorough literary and scientific training for boys who were destined for other pursuits than those of law, theology, and medicine, which found their appropriate preparation in the College—and the English High School was established in 1821, to meet this demand. The establishment of the English High School for boys, very naturally created a desire for similar advantages for the girls, which led to the establishment of the Girls' High School, in 1825, which in its turn gave way to an extension of the studies and a prolonged attendance of the girls in all the Grammar Schools in 1829. The discussion and final recognition of the necessity of special preparation for the art of teaching in connection with the employment of a large number of females as teachers in the Primary and Grammar Schools of the city, led to the establishment of a Normal School for girls, in 1852, which, in a few years, became also a High School for the same class of pupils, and thus the System of Public Schools in Boston, rises from the broad basis of Primary Schools, through its natural expansion of Intermediate and Grammar Schools into the Latin, English, and Girls' High Schools, and a Normal Course in the latter for at least the largest number of teachers—the female teachers of the city.