« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
uniting rational recreations and amusements with intellectual and physical development, have been successfully devised, and such expedients will yet be greatly varied and profitably multiplied. The introduction of gymnastic exercises has not only contributed to the healthful vigor of students, but added to the attractions of school-life. The comparatively modern plan of interspersing school exercises with vocal music, has inspired an increased love of school among children, and has been influential in awakening an interest on the part of parents. Many other means to diversify school exercises and make them more inviting, have been put in operation with good results. But there is yet a great point to be reached ; an overwhelming indifference to be overcome; an absorbing interest to be created. And have we no right to expect that means and instrumentalities may yet be devised and employed, which shall turn the currents of mind to the school-room, and invest it with influences such as will make it the centre of interest and attraction in every district ?
NOTES ON EDUCATIONAL MATTERS.
During a recent hasty business tour through the central and northern portions of our State, we were enabled to gather a few educational facts and statistics; these, imperfect as they are, we give the readers of the JOURNAL:
BEAVER Dam. This is a thriving young city on the Milwaukee and LaCrosse railroad. Among its public buildings are two school houses of respectable size and appearance-one on the east side and one on the west side of the river. The school edifice on the east side of the river is about 40 by 60 feet; two stories high. The superintendent, Rev. R. Smith, informs us that the average attendance of scholars is about four hundred. Mr. Harvey is the principal of this school. The school house on the west side of the river is a smaller building, and accommodates only about half as many scholars. The Beaver Dam schools are organized under the general laws of the State. Some of the citizens of Beaver Dam entertain the idea that a female seminary, or some literary institution of a higher order, distinct from the district schools, is absolutely necessary to render the educational facilities of the town complete. To our mind, a little more expenditure in enlarging the common school facilities, and elevating the standard of studies pursued, would better promote the true interests of the people.
Ripox.-A very pretty village, and present terminus of the Milwaukee and Horicon railroad, has one small district school house. The inadequacy of common school accommodations here, is apparent. There are three select schools in the place, in which are taught such branches as are usually pursued in district schools. Ripon must awake to immediate action in the matter of providing common school buildings, if it would keep up with
some towns in the State, of less population and wealth. Brockway College is located here, and bids fair to become a prominent institution of learning. Ceresco, adjoining Ripon, and within the limits of the same town, has a very respectable school house in progress, to cost about $2000.
WALTONA.---The county seat of Waushara county is a new and apparently thriving village ; population, fire or six hundred. The whole village is very properly organized into one school district, and a respectable school house has been completed, about 30 by 60 feet in size. Mr. Fry has charge of the advanced department, and is regarded an excellent teacher.
PLO:TR.- The county seat of Portage county, a village of some three or four hundred inhabitants, has ore small district school and one select school. The village is pleasantly loented, and its future appears cucouraging.
STEVENS POINT.--Situate on the Wisconsin river, Portage county, has a population from twelve to fifteen hundred, and only one sinall (listrict school house. The importance of the common school interest is apparently overlooked; at least no suitable provision has yet been made for the education of the rising generation. The magnitude and greatness of some of our western villages, swells to such an importance in the prospective, that the common school seems quite too common and old fashioned ; something more elevated and imposing, corresponding with the magnificence of the great future--on the threshhold of wbich the people imagine they are-is demanded. Hence the subject of erecting academies and seminaries is discussed, before
any suitable provision is made for the common school. During a stay of a few days at Stevens Point, we heard citizens of the place on more than one occasion lamenting the want of an academy. This sounds rather strangs, especially when it is considered that the only district school house in the place cannot comfortably accommodate more than forty scholars. To a stranger at least, there seems to be a great lack of school room in the village.
A fine building has recently been completed for a female seminary. The first term of this institution commenced in April last, under the control of Mrs. Nortulup, late of Rochester, N. Y, Mrs. N., we believe, is also the owner of the building and lot. Present number of students, forty-five. There is also in the village, a small select school, taught in the vestry of the Episcopal church. The village of Stevens Point has an advantageous location, and is doubtless destined to increase largely in wealth and population.
WAUPACCA.-A pleasantly situated village on a branch of the Waupacca river, claiming a population of seven hundred. There are in the village, one small district school, taught by Miss Brown, and one select school, taught by Miss STEELE. The school accommodations in the place are insufficient to meet the wants of the population.
WEYAUWEGA.—This is a pretty village in Waupacca county, claiming & population of one thousand. It has but one district school house, a small dingy looking affair, and altogether out of keeping with the appearance of
the private residences and other buildings in the place. There is also a small select school. The people of Weyanwega are agitating the subject of building a large public school house with all the furnishments of the best modern houses. It is to be hoped that an edifice worthy of the village, will result from this agitation.
OSTIKOSII.-- This flourishing city has great want of public school accommodations. The people appear carnestly intent on having something done, and doubtless will, ere long, provide suitable school room. We were in formed that there are within the limits of the corporation, not less than seven select or private schools; these schools are chiefly made up of a small class of scholars. The demand for so many private schools indicates that the public school interest has not been sufficiently cared for by the people. The want of suitable district school houses of course increases the necessity for private schools. The Oshkosh Union School Building is a respectable structure, two stories high, and well finished. In this building, three teachers are employed, and the number of scholars in attendance is usually greater than can well be accommodated. Mr. Welcu, the principal of the school, is highly esteemed, and regarded as a capable and efficient teacher The friends of education in the city, confidently expect the building of school houses in the different wards of the city, will be undertaken soon. Oshkosh possesses the wealth and ability to place her public schools on a footing equal to any in the State.
Fond du LAC.--The city of Fond du Lac is divided into two distinct school districts; the city has no special enactments; its schools are organzied under the general law of the State. This condition of things embarrasses the efficiency of school supervision, retards the progress of the schools, and renders their success more difficult. The same remarks will apply to the city of Beaver Dam, and we believe also to others. A city containing the population of Fond du Lac, needs a Board of Education, with proper corporate powers, to manage its school affairs, as much as it needs a Common Council with corporate authority, to look after the general interests of the city. The general law of the State is well adapted to districts of the ordinary size, but where a large population is united in a single district, additional powers are demanded for the management of the school. The want of a law granting the exercise of powers, such as are usually conferred on Boards of Eucation in cities, is felt by the school officers of Fond du Lac.
The school house in district No. 1, is a building 40 by 60 feet, two stories high, and accommodates about three hundred scholars; cost of building, $3000. Mr. GIBson, the Principal of the school, is a graduate of Yale College, and a highly successful teacher. The school house in district No. 2, is about the same size as that in district No. 1. Mr. Brown is the principal of the school in district No. 2. Rev. Mr. EASTMAN holds the office of City Superintendent. The city of Fond du Lac, has also a High School, of which Mr. SHEPHERD is the principal. There are also in the city, some half dozen private schools, composed chiefly of small scholars. The city of Fond du
Lac is rapidly improving, and the intelligence of its population will not suffer its educational interests to be neglected.
In nearly all the cities and villages noticed in the foregoing sketch, there is a want of sufficiont school accommodation. Much has been accomplished worthy of commendation; allowances must be made for the comparative newness of our western towns. It often seems almost impossible for school houses to keep pace with the rapid increase of population. It is observable, however, that in many of our new villages, church edifices increase faster than the people who occupy them. It is no uncommon thing to find four or five meeting houses in a village of one thousand inhabitants, and not one half of the seats in them occupied on the Sabbath. A village which has the ability to furnish such an extra amount of church accommodation, is inexcusable, if it does not provide at least room enough for all the scholars of suitable age within its limits, to attend a common school.
TO TOWN SUPERINTENDENTS AND SCHOOL DISTRICT CLERKS
By the provisions of an Act of the Legislature of the State of Wisconsin approved March 19, 1856, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction is authorized to subscribe for as many copies of the Wisconsin JOURNAL OF Education as there are organized school districts in the State ; also one copy for each town superintendent in the State.
The copies of the Joubnal for the school districts, are required to be sent to the district clerks. The Act makes it the duty of the district clerks to cause each volume of the Journal to be bound and deposited in the district library, subject to the library regulations.
Each town Superintendent receiving a copy of the Journal, should immediately inform us of the whole number of districts and parts of districts in his town, the names of the district clerks, the number of the district to which each clerk belongs, and the post-office address of each clerk. It would also be well for town superintendents to see that district clerks get the Journals which are sent to them from the post-office. A few towa superintendents have sent us lists of the district clerks for the resent year as above specified.
WRITE FOR THE JOURNAL. Every teacher and friend of the Journal should endeavor to contributo something to its pages. We need items of school intelligence of immediate interest - living realities. Long moralizing discourses on school-boy depravity; flowery compositions on sunset splendours; moonlight beauties; dreamy sentimental poetry on absent loved ones; ramblings by the brook
side, or through grassy meadows, are subjects all well enough in their place, but not exactly suited to the columns of our JOURNAL.
What we want, are actual experiences - practical suggestions; improvements in the methods of teaching and maintaining discipline; expedients and plans for increasing an interest in the school-room; suggestions in respect to the order of school exercises; improvements in the construction of school-houses, and methods of ventilation ; physical training of scholars, and progress in school matters in different localities. These, and kindred topics, legitimately come within the range of the JOURNAL, and are eminently calculated to diffuse the kind of information needed. Every teacher has a wide field of observation, and cannot fail, if he makes the endeavor, to note some incident or experience which would be interesting and instructive to others. There is often more incitement to action in the right direction by the statement in a few lines of a simple matter of fact, than in a long-labored essay, however vigorously or beautifully written.
LETTERS FROM CORRESPONDENTS.
DURING the interval since the publication of the last number of the JOURNAL a large number of letters from correspondents have accumulated on our hands. Many of these contain interesting facts of the present condition and prospects of the schools in the localities wliere they were written. We can only, at this time, give a few extracts from these communications, indicating the progress of educational movements in different portions of the State.
CEDARBURG.-A correspondent writes: “This flourishing village is preparing to take her position among the first in the State, in energetic endeavors to promote the cause of common school education. The inhabitants have voted to build, the present season, an elegant two story brick school house 32 by 40 feet. The materials for the building are mostly on the ground; estimated cost, $3000. The present condition of schools in the township is not very flattering. I am informed by the town Superintendent, there is but one American teacher in the town; most of those employed are not well acquainted with the English language, and one, though paid out of the pub. lic school fund, teaches only the German language.”
Sauk City. J. M. W. writes: “Our healthy and flourishing village is rapidly increasing, and although our school house has been enlarged several times during past years, we shall, ere long, be under the necessity of building a new edifice better adapted to our wants. The greatest obstacle in the way of our educational prosperity, is the want of interest and effort on the part of parents."
COTTAGE Grove.—M. S. F. makes the following enquiries and suggestions : 4 What shall be done to increase an interest in our schools among the masses